As might be hinted by this post’s title, this is a bit of a long term commitment. So if you have trouble having the patience to wait for cake to come out of the oven, or jelly to set, this might not be the one for you. However, if sourdough’s your thing, do it do it doit! Home made sourdough is way stronger than supermarket sourdough and more delicious, and if you keep a bit of the starter back you can keep making it over and over again forever!

Yes, so that starter business. Basically instead of yeast you have to ferment flour for about 5 days to make a natural starter that will raise the bread for you. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, it’s as simple as putting some water and flour in a bowl, mixing it together, and waiting for several days. The slowest bit for me was finding a shop that stocked rye flour, I tried all the obvious shops, before stumbling across it in Morrisons of all places, looking for something totally different. (wild rice, since you ask, and they didn’t have it)

Starter (from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef)
500 g rye flour

Day One: Mix the two ingredients together to form a doughy mixture. Put outside for an hour, then bring inside to a warm place. Cover.

Day Two: Look at it, worry about whether it’s actually going to do anything, then leave it alone

Day Three: stir in bit more flour

Day Four: leave it (it should look a bit weird and smell even weirder by this point)

Day Five: You should have a grey mixture that smells a bit like yeast and a bit like beer and looks frankly unappetising. Fear not! All will come right shortly.


Sourdough (Jamie’s, as before)

1kg Strong bread flour (white or brown, it matters not)

Mix in the flour then add water until you have a recognisable dough. Knead for five minutes (it’s advisable to actually time this, because what can feel like 5 minutes kneading is often only 2). Shape into a bread shape, place into a floured teatowel (and make sure it’s properly floured or it’ll stick) and wait for 14 hours.

After all this waiting, I was extremely excited and worried about the bread. It’s a bit like having a baby, I imagine. 14 hours later, the bread should have grown a considerable amount. Bake for 40 minutes at gas mark five/190 degrees C. Take out. Look at it in wonder. Dance around the kitchen with joy. Eat.

One of the best things about this bread was how much it looked like the picture in Jamie’s own book