Just Sourdough Bread


When I say ‘Just’ Sourdough Bread in this context, I mean it as a compliment. There is something hugely satisfying about baking something with a simple list of ingredients that has such depth of flavour, a fabulous crunchy crust with a chewy middle and is wonderfully wholesome to boot. No fancy ingredients or fillings required, ‘Just’ Sourdough…


I have wanted to make bread like this for a very long time now. I think the whole sourdough starter process put me off historically but now I have a healthy, active starter I can call my own, sourdough bread (and other bakes) can be regular bakes in my kitchen henceforth. Check out my A Sourdough Starter post to get your starter going. Both the starter and this (quantity adapted) recipe come from favourite bread baker Paul Hollywood. I found them straightforward and love the baked outcome.

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You will need to factor in timings and be a little patient when making this bread but you will be heavily rewarded. Do not be alarmed with the slowness of the rise – I was little concerned that the dough was never going to grow – but have a little faith, it will. If you have a baking/pizza stone, now is the time to use it. You will have baked the best loaf you have ever made.

Only decision, how will you serve it…?

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Just Sourdough Bread

1 loaf


  • 375g strong white bread flour, extra for dusting
  • 250g sourdough starter (see 'A Sourdough Starter' post)
  • 8g salt
  • 200-230ml tepid water
  • Olive oil for kneading


  1. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, sourdough starter and salt. Add the water and mix on a low speed until a soft dough comes together.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will initially be quite wet but keep kneading until the dough is soft and smooth.
  3. Oil a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for a minimum of 5 hours, or until doubled in size.
  4. Prepare the banneton, or proving basket, (you could also use a large bowl) by lining with a cloth, tea towel or muslin and heavily flour.
  5. Tip the risen dough onto the oiled work surface again and briefly knead further. Form into a smooth ball and place into the floured cloth. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 10-13 hours. (I left it overnight)
  6. Approximately 40 minutes ahead of baking, place a baking stone in the oven, if using, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, or Gas Mark 6. Otherwise, line a baking tray with parchment.
  7. Invert the risen dough on the baking stone, or the prepared tray. With a lame, or sharp knife, make cuts into the top of the loaf.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the bread is a rich golden colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Source: Quantities adapted from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’ 


  1. I love your loaf Joanne! There are few things that bring such satisfaction in the baking process as making bread from your own starter. I learnt from two famous French pastry chefs, who live and work in BA , owners of a well known “boulangerie” of the city. They introduced me to the concept of natural fermantation and all of what you experimented happened to me as well! Patience and practice are the two things required in this process and you are right, a lot of faith, too!

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thank you Viviana! So glad you appreciate it. How lovely to have learnt from two expert French chefs!! I’m envious. It really is a whole new ‘ball game’ isn’t it, and I am happy to be patient about making loaves like this.

  2. I adore making bread at home but have yet to try sourdough … I think it’s the starter that puts me off a bit! But I really just need to do it – this looks fantastic!

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thanks Ashley! I, too, was daunted by the starter but once you get going, it really is straightforward. Just a little feed here and there! Go on…!

  3. I’m glad you explained the “just” part because I was totally thinking it’s anything but “just”! I can’t think of how much sourdough bread I’ve enjoyed but never thought I’d be able to make my own. What a feat this is! Must feel so good to make this happen. Your loaf looks amazing with that crackly top!

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      This is so satisfying to bake Monica. I feel now I have taken for granted the effort that goes into shop-bought sourdough. Seriously, this homemade version tastes so good too. Have a great weekend!

  4. Oh I love sourdough! This looks like a beautiful loaf. Making breads and dough at home is so much fun – rather cathartic!

  5. Great post Jo! My sourdough bread making has taken a back seat I’m afraid. I think I’ll get my starter going again this weekend. Love your crackly top!

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