Homemade Easy Sourdough Bread (with starter)

If 2020 taught us anything is that with a bit of determination and time – something that I definitely had during these past few months –, anyone can make sourdough bread at home. It took me a few attempts to nail it, but I can finally say I’m happy with it.

Clearly, I refused to get out of first-lockdown mode, when everyone was happily (happily?) baking their ways through another week and sourdough bread was all over Instagram (including our own). In our defense, we made it clear on our About page too:

This is not a lockdown blog.

That being said, lockdown clearly inspired half of Instagram to try their hands at baking banana bread and sourdough, us included.

Literally the first three lines. Anyway, I’ll jump on the recipe now – scroll down for a chat about sourdough starter (ours is named Dylan).

I’d advise to make sourdough bread to pair with hummus, Tuscan crostini, any sort of charcuterie, or with a bunch of cherry tomatoes.

loaf of sourdough bread on wood cutting board

Homemade Easy Sourdough Bread

A classic sourdough bread for the adventurous. This one requires a starter, but you could also make it with instant yeast instead.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Proving time 8 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 9 hrs 45 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people


  • Bowl
  • Dutch Oven / Casserole


  • 600 gr strong flour (flour 0)
  • 10 gr table salt
  • 300 gr lukewarm water
  • 120 gr sourdough starter, fed


  • Make sure your starter is properly fed. I usually take it out the night before around 8pm, feed it, and leave it on the counter all night. I start with the bread process the next day around 8.30am
  • In a big bowl, add the flour and the salt and mix together. Add the lukewarm water, half at the time, while mixing. Don't worry too much if it doesn't look as a loaf yet, but make sure that almost all the flour is well incorporated before moving to the next step.
  • Add the sourdough starter and mix with your hands. I'd advise to turn the bowl around while you knead the dough and fold it onto itself from all sides. Keep kneading for 2 minutes. Once it's smooth, shape in a ball shape and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise for the next 4 to 12 hours. (This depends on how cold your house is. I usually let the dough rest inside the oven turned off with only the light on for approximately 9 hours).
  • When it's ready, lightly flour a clean surface and drop the dough on it. Shape it as a rectangle, stretching it a bit (this is easier if you do it with wet hands). Then start folding it on itself, from one side to the other. Start by picking the right side of the rectangle, and fold it in. Then the left, and fold it in. Do the same for the bottom and top. Make sure your hands are wet at all times.
  • Once you completed the folding, start by circling the dough around to round up the edges. Imagine delicately holding the dough from both sides, and move it in circular motions on itself. This should smooth the dough.
  • Place it on an oven mat or baking paper and let it rest a second time for 30 to 45 minutes. This is called second rise. In the meantime, start heating the oven at 240°C / 465°F with the casserole or dutch oven inside.
  • Once the second rise is done and the oven is hot, take the casserole or dutch oven out and drop the baking paper or mat inside, being extra careful to not burn yourself. Cover and place back in the oven for 30 minutes. After that, take the lid off and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Make sure to let it rest for at least 45 minutes before trying to cut it and eat it. It's still gonna be warm, don't you worry.
Keyword Sourdough

Not another lockdown sourdough bread!

And yet. Funnily enough, this was a heading I picked before a third lockdown was announced in the UK. I can understand that loads of people with no interest in carbs might feel a bit tired of seeing homemade sourdough bread everywhere, but what can I say? I do love my carbs and I’m not ashamed. If you don’t love bread, something is wrong with you.

Growing up in Italy, bread is something that rarely misses on a table. Perhaps one of the adjustments I had to go through after moving to the UK was the fact that here restaurants don’t automatically bring bread to your table – even worse you pay for it and pay quite a lot of money.

While I refuse to pay £4 for two slices of bread, I did spend a lot of money during my years here to satiate my bread hunger, spending as much as £4.50 for a 300g loaf of sourdough bread that would last me for less than a week, if that. So I learnt to be a good ant about it so I always brought it home, sliced it right away and freeze that to have it ready to toast when needed.

Sometimes I still buy it when I don’t have a whole day to make sourdough bread myself, and I can list some of my London favourites:

  • Gail’s Bakery – absolutely great, you can find it both at their own bakeries and Waitrose. They have a bunch of different types but my go-to has always been the San Francisco Sourdough.
  • Blackbird Bakery – a South London chain, I can vouch for both their breads and cakes (and coffee too for that matter). Although they don’t have a list of the types of bread they have, you can get an idea from this page. I always go for the white sourdough, and it never disappoints.
  • Bread Ahead – masters of bread and sourdough, I would also advise to follow them on Instagram for their lives. In the meantime you can buy pretty much any type of carb around on their website.
  • Sainsbury’s – no, I’m not kidding. Their Taste the Difference is actually quite good. Both the San Francisco one and the Kalamata Olive one are my preferred ones, especially when I can’t justify spending £5 for a fancy loaf.
white sourdough bread sliced on cutting board

Sourdough Bread and Sourdough Starter chats

Meet our sourdough starter: Dylan. Dylan was born in July 2020, after 2 poor attempts that didn’t go very well (some might say it was the same in my family, as I’m the third and youngest child and I happen to be born in July).

Before making our own sourdough starter, I made bread with instant yeast and you know what? While I do prefer sourdough as it gives it a nice kick, instant-yeast bread is very good too. If someone tries to tell you differently, they’re probably just snobs.

We followed a variety of recipes, but our favourite one was the one on Feasting At Home – she also kindly listed a few issues that are very common at the beginning. What I will say, based on our own experience, is that if you see that your starter is not doing anything just keep going. It took us I think 10 to 12 days to see our starter grow properly as it should between feedings. Once it did though, it became quite strong, to the point that I managed to get away without feeding it for 3 weeks and it came back to life very quickly.

Now, I would not advise you to do the same and wait for the third week to feed your sourdough starter. However, just know that although people say that you have to religiously feed your sourdough starter once a week at the latest, your starter (especially when it gets a bit older, stronger, and wiser) will very likely survive if you forget once or twice, as long as you keep it in the fridge.

A rule of thumb is to look for the hooch on top: the bottom – the creamy part – will start to develop a liquid, grey patina on top. That’s your starter screaming that its hungry and it’s time for you to feed it. Don’t panic the first time you see it (I certainly did) as it’s a completely normal process. If it starts developing a very unpleasant and acre smell or pink/orange strains, that’s no good and you might need to throw it away and start from scratch.