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Sourdough from Flour to Loaf

Establishing your starter will take 4-7 days.

  • Decide which flour you will use—either rye, wholemeal, white or a specialty non-wheat flour like spelt. Your flour should be high grade high protein strong flour. Avoid breadmix.
  • Use filtered or bottled water
  • Use glass or china/ceramic containers, avoid plastic. A 1.5litre glass preserving jar (mason jar) is ideal.
  • This process is only for establishing your starter. The starter likes a warm environment 28⁰ - 32⁰C

Start your culture with 150g flour and 150g warm filtered water (28°C). Stir and leave for 24 hours. Next day, keep one cup of starter and discard the rest. Add 150g flour and 150g warm filtered water. Continue to discard all but one cup and keep feeding every day until the starter is showing signs of activity. Bubbles should be visible and the mixture should rise in the jar over a period of hours. Place an elastic band around your jar at the level your starter is at so you can see how far it rises in the jar.

The float test can be applied. Take a spoonful of just fed (refreshed) starter and dribble it into a cup of water. If it floats your starter should be ready to use. If it sinks then its not ready so continue to feed.

Step 2—12 hours prior to making your dough

  • Make the 1st ferment (sponge) enough for four loaves.
  • If you only want to make two loaves then halve the mixture
  • Take two cups of starter from your jar and transfer to a large bowl. Feed with 450g of flour (the same flour used before) and 450ml of warm filtered water. Stir briskly, cover and leave for 12 hours.

Step 3 Make your bread.

Choose to make your bread with either flour, the same as before or a different flour or a breadmix.

One Loaf using bread flour

  • Choose wheat, rye, spelt or Khorasan
  • One cup of culture (approximately 200g) from the 1st ferment (sponge in the bowl)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 500g of chosen flour
  • 20ml oil
  • 7g of diastatic malt (optional)
  • 125±ml water

Mix culture, salt, oil and water in large bowl. Add flour and mix with a spoon until a dough forms. Rest for 30 minutes. Remove to a floured bench and knead for about 7 minutes. Set aside for one hour. Place your bowl in a large supermarket carry bag or kitchen tidy bag. Next Remove dough onto floured bench.

Gently shape into a loaf and place in a bread tin or banneton and allow to rise - this can take upwards of seven hours. Place bowl in kitchen tidy bag again.

Bread tin: When the loaf is fully risen bake in a hot oven 230°C

For 10 minutes, reduce heat to 200°C for 30 minutes.

Banneton: gently invert the basket over a flat baking sheet, remove the basket. Bake in hot oven 230°C for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 200°C for 30 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.

One loaf using breadmix of choice

  • One cup of culture (approximately 200g from the 1st ferment in the bowl.
  • No salt
  • 500g of chosen breadmix
  • 20ml oil
  • 7g diastatic malt (optional)

Mix culture, oil and water in large bowl. Add breadmix and mix with a spoon until a dough forms. Rest for 30 minutes.

Remove to a floured bench and knead for about 7(seven) minutes. Set aside for one hour.

Follow shaping and baking information above.

Step 4 Perpetuate (keep alive) your starter.

Keep one cup of starter from your bowl, return to your clean jar and feed with 150g flour and 150ml warm filtered water. Stir vigorously. Allow to rest on bench for one hour and then return to the fridge.

Refigerate until required following steps 2, 3 and 4.

There is no one single method for outstanding sourdoughs.
Some bakers use one rise, others two and still others three.
Some bakers use a “no knead’ method and others use stretch and fold techniques.

The method described on this page is uncomplicated and works well however it is not the only way.

The links below are to videos which we have selected from the plethora available as they provide an excellent presentation of creating a sourdough from start to baked loaf.

Set your sights high and be patient. There is some work and time in getting your culture started, but once it is going there is no looking back. Remember that your loaves are only as good as the ingredients and flours you use.

Sourdough culture

Diastatic Malt

Diastatic Malt is the “secret” ingredient used in Sourdough baking by many artisan bakers in Europe, US and Australia.

It promotes better fermentation, stronger rise, good texture and a golden/brown crust with improved oven spring. It is added to the final dough and not to the culture.

It is a completely natural product made from sprouted barley or wheat which is dried and milled finely. It contains sugar breaking active enzymes (mainly amylase) which assist during an extended ferment. Non Diastatic Malt does not have these enzymes.

Diastatic Malt is extremely powerful and care should be taken in respect to the amounts used. Too much will detract from the loaf with the doughs becoming sticky.

As it is difficult for the home baker to apply in the fine tolerances required, (applied at the rate of 0.1% of flour weight) we have blended the diastatic malt to be used at the rate of 15 grams of Diastatic Malt per kilo of flour.

The product is available in 100 gram container and also 300 gram.

Sourdough starter
sourdough rolls