How to make sourdough bread

I have to admit I’ve had the occasional gripe about buying a loaf of sourdough from a fancy bakery and not getting much change out of a $10 note.  But I’m not going to complain anymore after learning how much work goes into making a sourdough loaf at a bread making class at Brasserie Bread for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.


The hardest part about making sourdough is that you need to make a starter.  We cheated at the Brasserie Bread class as we were able to use the bakery’s starter which has been nurtured over an 18 year period.  With constant feeding and attention, looking after a sourdough starter sounds almost as hard as looking after a child.  I’ve included the instructions below for making your own sourdough starter but this is the part of the recipe that I haven’t tested.  Besides the starter, the other main requirement is some serious muscle power. I really had to throw the dough down on the bench to get it pliant enough.  But although it was labour and muscle intensive to make my own sourdough, it was all worth it when I saw the dough rise and got to tuck into some freshly baked bread.

380gms unbleached organic plain flour with a high protein count (Brasserie Bread uses Kialla flour at 12.5%)
200gms sourdough starter
205 gms cold water
10 gms sea salt
2 gms sea salt

All the ingredients for the sourdough ready to go

1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the starter, water, malt and salt mix in the bowl using one hand and holding the bowl with the other hand.

2.  Once it is holding together turn out onto the bench.  Using one hand scoop the dough together and then throw it down on the bench.  Repeat for about 10 minutes to develop the gluten.

3.  The dough has been worked enough when you can get a small piece of it and stretch it between your hands so that it holds together thinly like a window.

4.  Once the dough is elastic enough place it in an oiled bowl, covered in cling wrap for 20 minutes at room temperature.

5.  Remove the dough from the bowl and fold by by bringing the four opposite corners of the dough into the centre.

6.  Return to the bowl and cover with cling wrap and allow the dough to activate for 2 hours at room temperature.

7.  Shape the dough by gently patting it and allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

8.  Leave the dough out for about 8 hours, covered with a slightly damp tea towel.

9.  Preheat the oven to 220c and put a small metal tray in the oven.

10.  Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet, dust it lightly with flour and cut two slashes in the top.

11.  Place it in the oven and quickly fill the empty tray with cold water, this will create steam.  Close the door immediately so no steam escapes.  The steam will help develop the crust.

12.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.

The dough sitting at room temperature for an hour

Gourmet Chick was a guest of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival at the Brasserie Bread Cooking Course. 

Details: Brasserie Bread, Artisian Bread Making At Home, South Melbourne.
Damage. Pricey. The course costs $160 but you get a lot of bread to take away.



  1. The bread in that top photo looks wonderful! Did you make all of it in your class?? What a great way to learn about making sour dough too, far more fun (and possibly productive) than trial and error at home.

  2. My problem is that I always think about making the bread on the day that I want to eat it! Need to dedicate some time to prep

  3. Kari – That was what they had pre-prepared earlier! But we did make about four different types

    Paul – I am like that with ice-cream, and then I have to go and freeze the ice-cream maker part!

  4. it will smell wonderful and taste even better.

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