Cuisine Fiend

rosemary and seed cheat’s sourdough


Rosemary cheat's sourdough

This is based on my cheat’s sourdough recipe and proves to be such a versatile loaf. I’ve decided to add seeds – you can’t whack seedy bread – and rosemary for flavour. There’s no reason though why you couldn’t improvise and add whatever herb – and seeds – you like.

The recipe is genius. I found it in a special bread issue of Good Food magazine and although they don’t always deliver there, this one is tops. Easy too, you set up your starter with minimum fuss and effort about 24 hours before you want to make the bread – Friday morning at mine, I always, always bake my bread on Saturdays: ready for Saturday lunch, still fresh for a Sunday breakfast. It ferments happily without any feeding, gets mixed with more flour, water and yeast and hey presto! Sourdough – almost. The taste beats no knead. The texture is fantastic every time. If you have a clay cloche or a cast iron casserole – a no brainer and will come out crusty as anything and nice and chewy inside.

rosemary and seed cheat’s sourdough

Tags: bread, easy


  • For the starter:
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 100g dark rye flour
  • 10g fresh or 3g (1tsp) fast action yeast
  • 250g cold water
  • For the final dough:
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 10g fresh or 3g (1tsp) fast action yeast
  • 200g cold water
  • 2tbsp rosemary, chopped very fine
  • 2tbsp millet grain
  • 2tbsp sunflower seeds


Mix all the ingredients for the starter thoroughly in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in ambient temperature for 24 hours.

The next day add the remaining ingredients to the starter, mix well, then knead on a floured surface or in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and bounces off the sides of the bowl or stops sticking to your hands. Cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.

Proving cheat's sourdough

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and fold onto itself from four sides to shape it into a round. Place it seam side up in a well-floured proving basket or a bowl lined with cloth and floured generously.

Folding sourdough

Put the proving basket in a plastic bag inflated a bit so it doesn’t touch the dough (just blow into it and tie the end!) and leave for about 40 minutes. Preheat a baking stone, a clay cloche or a heavy baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 220C/425F/gas 7.

When ready to bake, tip the loaf onto the cloche bottom, stone or tray (it might be prudent to remove it from the oven for this stage), slash a rectangle shape on the top with a very sharp knife, put it back in the oven and spray the inside of the oven generously with water. Bake for 30 minutes until golden, crusty and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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