New to sourdough

Sarniagirl's picture

I've always enjoyed making bread, but I've never attempted sourdough before. My starter is now on day 8, and I'm very happy to report it's coming along nicely, smells fruity and lots of bubbles. I had trouble finding organic white flour,so substituted wholemeal. Any recommendations for a nice easy loaf to start with? TIA.


rossnroller 2009 November 3

Normal 0 One of my favourites is the Norwich Sourdough adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough recipe. I have made this one multiple times now. It's fairly straightforward, and I have always found it reliable and tasty...actually, better than that. It's amongst the best I've baked. Here is a link to the recipe.

There are many great recipes from people on this forum,'s well worth spending some time perusing the Recipes section.


Sarniagirl's picture
Sarniagirl 2009 November 5

Thanks Ross,

I'm going to try this recipe on the weekend. (Starter still bubbling away, looking good.)

Just a few more questions:

1. I've used wholemeal flour and rye in my starter, will it still work if I use white bread flour and rye flour in the bread?

2. Usually yeasted bread recipes give instruction to 'prove until double in size' - does this apply to sourdoughs, just how much can they be expected to rise?

3. I don't have much specialist equipment as yet, can I use baking trays or will the dough be too soft?


Thank you!

rossnroller 2009 November 6

Hi Sarniagirl. I'm no expert, but I'll respond to your queries as best I can, specifically in relation to the Norwich Sourdough.

1. As long as your starter is nice and active and 100% hydration, I would think it should be fine. No doubt there will be some difference between your end result and mine, since I use a 30% rye/70% white flour starter for this recipe...but as long as you get a nice rise and a tasy loaf, viva la difference! (Actually, every starter is different, so no two loaves are ever going to be quite the same - one of the fascinating aspects to sourdough IMO).

2. Not necessarily double - I wouldn't get hung up on the exact extent of the increase. You will notice some rise though. Just follow the recipe to the letter first time, and you should end up with a nice bread.

3. I've found that sourdough is very forgiving. Many home bakers improvise with the equipment they already have. I do think a pizza stone or tile is a very good and relatively inexpensive investment, though. I was baking pizzas before I got into sourdough, so already had a stone. I use it all the time, both for bread and pizza, and I think you'll find it most worthwhile to purchase one. I've never used a baking sheet, but I can't see why it wouldn't suffice. Don't forget though, unlike with, say, biscuits, you put the baking sheet in the oven from the time you begin heating up to your baking temperature so it's hot when you put the bread on it.

Good luck, and look forward to reading about and seeing your results!

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