SOURDOUGH STARTER IN SIX EASY STEPS

by Cafe St Honoré


We bake and serve fresh sourdough every day at Cafe. Mornings always begin with bread-making – as we believe no good meal is complete without a proper sourdough!

It’s easy to start making sourdough at home with these 6 easy steps from Neil.

“Whenever you make a sourdough loaf, try to use your sense of touch. It is a science, but it’s always a good idea to employ your senses and intuition. It may take a while to get the dough started, but your starter will never die, it will just lie dormant in the fridge if you’re not using it. Otherwise, feed it every day with equal quantities of water and flour. Great if you have the time, but as sourdough lasts so well, you may only need to bake a loaf once or twice a week.”

Keep scrolling for our sourdough recipe.

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STEP ONE

Add 200g strong, white organic flour and 200ml warm tap water to a bowl.

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STEP TWO

Combine into a thick paste using a wooden spoon. Don’t use any antibacterial chemicals to clean any of your utensils as this kills the good bacteria you need to make a natural yeast.

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STEP THREE

Pour the mix into a plastic, ceramic or glass container and leave to ferment for 2 days in a warm, or room-temperature, place. Cover with a lid or cling film, and give it a stir every day. It’s important that the starter isn’t in contact with anything metal.

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STEP FOUR

After 2 days fermenting, feed the starter by adding 100g strong, white organic flour and 100ml of warm tap water. Mix and replace the lid and leave again for a further 2 days. Repeat this method after another 2 days.

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STEP FIVE

The starter is ready to use (see recipe below). If using again the next day, leave it on the countertop. If not, place in the fridge where it will lay dormant until you start to feed it again.

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STEP SIX

The finished loaf, made with nothing but flour, water and salt. I use Mungoswells flour, Isle of Skye sea salt and good old tap water. Invest in a proving basket to achieve a lovely shape.

NEIL’S SOURDOUGH RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

500g organic, strong white flour, grown and milled in Scotland ideally

285ml warm, tap water (you may need more water, a wetter dough is better than a dryer dough)

135g starter 

15g good sea salt, I like Isle of Skye

Semolina for dusting

METHOD

Add all the ingredients to a mixer and beat on a slow, low speed. The longer the better. 

If the dough is looking a bit dry, add more warm water. The texture of the dough is dependent on the temperature and moisture in the air, and I would always suggest making a slightly wetter dough than normal. I have very rarely failed with a sloppy, wet dough!

Once all the ingredients are incorporated, place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl or tub with enough room for it to double in size. Cover with a lid. Leave for around 3 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The next morning, let it reach room temperature before shaping gently into a ball.

Once shaped, place the dough into a semolina-dusted banneton or proving basket. If it’s a wet dough be careful and not to over-prove at this stage. Keep it somewhere cosy but not too hot for an hour or two and it’ll prove beautifully. 

Heat the oven to 200°C and turn the loaves out onto a tray, tucking them in underneath just before they go in the oven. 

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C and continue to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling wire.