My New Favorite Sourdough

I love baking all kinds of bread, but a basic sourdough loaf is an essential staple at our house. Good with everything from blue cheese to blueberry jam, and quite possibly even better unadorned, we always feel something is missing if there isn’t a loaf resting on the cutting board, ready for a quick snack or a hearty sandwich.

I first tried this recipe, adapted from the Vermont Sourdough in Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes, about a month ago. I loved it then, and have made it several more times since, to make sure the first time wasn’t just beginner’s luck. Nope; this one is a real winner. It’s a plain, honest, not-too-sour sourdough with a touch of pumpernickel for depth of flavor. With a thin, crisp crust and soft but substantial crumb, this is now my go-to bread for everyday good eating, anytime, with anything.

norwich-sourdough-wild-yeastThe original recipe calls for 125% hydration starter. I adjusted it to work with mine at 100%, and made a few other tweaks as well. I am calling it Norwich Sourdough, in honor of the home town of Hamelman’s King Arthur Flour bakery. And this charming Vermont town, as it happens, was my home, too, for five memorable years.

Norwich Sourdough
(adapted from Vermont Sourdough in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman)

Yield: 2 kg (four or five small, or two large, loaves)


  • Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
  • First fermentation: 2.5 hours
  • Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
  • Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
  • Bake: 35 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F



  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute.
  2. Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
  5. Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 400g – 500g pieces. I usually make four 400g loaves and refrigerate the rest to use for pizza dough later. Preshape the dough pieces into light balls.
  7. Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Shape into batards and place seam-side-up in a floured couche or linen-lined bannetons.
  9. Batards in couche

  10. Slip the couche or bannetons into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  12. Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment. Slash each one with two overlapping cuts that are almost parallel to the long axis of the batard.


  13. Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. For 400g loaves, bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry. Larger loaves will need to be baked longer.
  14. Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until the loaves are completely cool, if you can manage it!

Norwich Sourdough batards

CommentsLeave a comment

    • SFSourdoughnut says

      For Step 1 under method, with the mixer running on about 1-2, I put in the water and then the starter and mixed those together to for a very thin slurry. I then added the flour, with the mixer still on low, and scraped the sides of the bowl until all the flour became incorporated. I let the dough rest (autolyze) for the 30 minutes.
      I then turned the mixer back on the incorporate the salt, mixing for only about 20-30 seconds on low.
      I then turned up the mixer to 6-7 (mine goes to 14), until the dough was being slightly flung off the hook so that it couldn’t stay on the hook where it had climbed up. I then mixed the dough for 4 minutes this way. This seemed to work perfectly.
      Hope that helps.

  1. gerrie says

    hi! I just love this recipe! However, I am not able to achieve a nice crust, as it’s always too soft, and is crusty once out of oven, and perhaps an hour more. After that, it’s just soft. May I have some advice? thanks in advance!

    Love the crumb!

    p.s writing from Malaysia where humidity levels are really high!

  2. Torvum says

    I’m a bit confused. I’m new to bread making, and in all your recipes that call for a starter, you never specify what kind of flour the starter should be made of.

    Is that because it’s assumed that all starters are white flour starters?

  3. says


    I made this recently and gave a loaf to a friend. Well the yesterday evening they stopped by and we shared a bottle of wine together while the children were out playing.

    The wife said “oh by the way” and then told me how wonderful that loaf of sourdough was. She had grabbed a store bought the same day. And in side by side taste tests the Norwich Sourdough was much better. In fact her kids requested the Norwich not knowing that it was homemade.

    An amazing recipe thanks for sharing it.


  4. Christian S says

    Hi Susan,

    I live in Bogota, Colombia, at 2800 meters above sea level, and i had my doubts about the recipe… Well, it turned out awesome; maybe a little denser than your pics, but that can be due to the lower percentage of O2 in the Air, causing the bacteria to work slower. Also, there are VERy few flours to be bought here, and in wheat only all-purpose and baker’s flour. Rye is OK to be found. The importance of using fresh baker’s flour is crucial to a good bread; if I use all-purpose, it’ll become a brick. Your blog is just super! Congrats!

  5. says

    Hello Susan,
    First I read your answers over the years. I’m an apprentice in baking bread. But, with your good recipes and tips I’m amble to bake nice bread. Still I have a question; how do you get such a beautiful grayish color on the Norwich sourdough?

  6. says

    Connie, the crumb color comes from 1) using unbleached flour, 2) using coarsely ground whole rye flour, and 3) avoiding overmixing, which breaks down pigments (and these also contribute flavor, so you really don’t want to break them down!).

  7. Neta says

    Hey Susan,
    I stumbled across your site while looking for a recipe for my white elephant bread- crispy crust and big holes in the crumb.
    I’ve made two attempts of your recipe over the weekend and the one that just came out of the oven is my holy grail- thanks so much!! this site is amazing (:
    Have a great week!

  8. Sandra says

    Hello, just stumbled upon your fab website and thought you may like to know a sourdough starter trick I learned in Spain many years ago which was to put two or three UNWASHED grapes into the starter at the beginning and remove next day and the yeast on them would be enough to get it all going quickly.

  9. erez says

    Great bread! After several times doing it I found that the ftemperature during fermentation and the fact that the is ripe have a major affect on the results. At low temperuture I either extend the time or using the lamp of my stove to get higher temperature.

  10. Minnie says

    Hi Susan,

    I have a standard simple oven. How can I create steam in it for this bread. I wish to make it but don’t know how to give it the steam you’ve mentioned. Would be ever greatful for your help! Many thanks!!

  11. says

    I read Jeffrey Hamelman’s book last year, and remember trying out the proportions of this recipe. I think my starter (I grew it in September) wasn’t at full strength, and I had a lot of trouble. I’m trying your version today, and hopeful that I have good luck. I don’t know if it’s the weather lately, but my breads haven’t been as good as I’ve wanted, and as they have been in the past. Who better to turn to than you to get me back on track?! Thank you for your wealth of information!

  12. Erez says

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve done this bread many times. I get great results almost every time. But I must say that everytime the taste is different. Few weeks ago I did this recepie again and got a taste that I cannot replicate…
    I truly believe that the two main factors are Time and Temperature. I am interesting to understand whether you and the others are having the same experience…

  13. Donny says

    I really enjoy this site and find it very helpful. I was wondering why you couldn’t do the bulk rise overnight in the refrigerator after the second turn, take it out in the morning, let it come to room temp for about an hour, then proceed with the initial shaping, bench rest,etc, rather than holding the shaped loaves in baskets overnight in the fridg? I find that when I do this I have trouble with the linen towel sticking to the loaf, then deflating it when I try to remove it no matter how well the baskets are floured.

  14. Marc says

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve been using your sourdough recipe for months, and I absolutely love it! Have you had any success with adding any dried fruit or nuts to the dough? I’ve tried a couple of times, but I can’t seem to get the loaves to rise much during proofing or baking. Should the dough be kneaded longer to develop more gluten (to support the add-ins)?

  15. yehuda says

    Hi I came accros your recipe on tfl. I couldn,t wait to try it. I,m still pretty new to bread baking especially sourdough. I just put up the dough this morning. I thought i had it all scheduled out right but of course things came up. The dough ended up rising for five hours at room temp before i could get home to quickly get it in the fridge to at least retard. I hope that won,t mess it up. I,m going to go shape now and bake tomorrow morning. I’ll let you know how it comes out!

  16. says

    I’ve been making your Norwich sourdough bread for over a year now. It’s my standard recipe for the household making it twice a week. To change things up, I substitute wheat or white flour instead of the rye. It always comes out great. Last week I substituted Bob’s Read Mill No. 1 Duram Wheat Semolina Flour. This substitute gives the closest to a traditional San Francisco sourdough that I’ve been able to achieve. It’s chewier and gives a slight nutty taste.
    Los Altos Hills CA

    • caroline jacobs says

      hi roman; thanks for tip re semolina. i’ll try using it. my first loaf didn’t rise much but i still loved it. the texture was light and loose.
      i’ve got one ffermenting right now. my starter may not be strong enuf tho. i cut the recipe in half and i’m going to put the loaves into loaf pans.

  17. Goatenheim says

    This was my first attempt at a true sourdough bread, and it came out wonderful. Thanks to your insight, from well explained recipes to the shaping videos, I tamed the wild yeast.

    What a service you provide to the world with your knowledge. I’m forever indebted to you.

  18. douggiefox says


    I’ve been making this on sourdough on a regular basis and the results have been mostly fabulous.

    On the odd occasion I get really sticky dough and the results are a little disappointing. The first thing I can think of is that I haven’t mixed the dough long enough and the second thought is sometimes when it’s really warm and humid the dough proves really quickly and it almost too sticky to shape. I’m wondering if I should fold one more time when it’s like this? Any thoughts? Best DF

  19. says

    just made this today – amazing!!! I love that it doesn’t require hours upon hours and days upon days to make. Granted, it’s not a very sour flavor this way, but for a “quick” 100% sourdough it’s great! Next time I do want to try retarding in the fridge overnight to develop the flavor more. Thanks for posting this great bread recipe!

  20. Kay says

    I tried this one over weekend. And this one is a keeper!! Amazing flavor!! The bread has very mild creamy sour taste, which is how I prefer any sourdough bread.
    Thanks, Susan!

  21. Clare says

    I am aspiring to make my own starter and bake this bread. Day four pm my levain had risen 2 inches. Day 5 am no change, maybe a scant few bubbles? I fed and have placed back in the warm space but when should I give up on it, scrap and start again? Thanks, Clare

  22. Mimi says

    I made this on the weekend, I found the loaves proved beautifully however the consistency of the dough was quite loose, therefore I didn’t get a huge amount of rise when baking ( I don’t use bannetons). After baking, the bread just crisps up beautifully and the taste is amazing. I had beautiful holes throughout the bread! This recipe is a winner, I just need to practice more! If anyone has ideas or suggestions, it would be appreciated

  23. T says

    I finally was able to get back on track with my poor, 2-month neglected sourdough starter and made your norwich sourdough. I was so happy with the results and that I was able to still shape a batard after not baking anything for a few months.

    I don’t have that much experience with bread baking as it is, but this has given me the confidence to try my hand at a lot more!

    Here’s a link to my flickr page so you can see the results:

    Tonight, I’m making another batch but I’m going to increase the hydration by 5% and see what happens. Cheers!

  24. says

    Everyone is lovin the Norwitch….Thanks!
    Its my first edible sourdough leaf!

    I would like the dough to rise a bit more during proofing.
    The crumb is a bit dense…
    Any thoughts?

  25. says

    Mimi, for a less slack dough, you may need to add less water, or develop the gluten more by mixing it longer. Also, if the loaves failed to spring much in the oven, the loaves may have been overproofed.

    T, lovely loaves!

    David, dense crumb can mean you need more water in the dough, less or more mixing, and/or longer or shorter proofing. I.e., it could be just about anything! I’m planning to write a post about dense crumb soon.

  26. Mimi says

    Thanks Susan. I just baked another two loaves, one sprang up amazingly in the oven, the other when I slashed it ( still practicing the technique) didn’t rise as much but still beautiful. I may try the less water & see what happens. Don’t think I am over proving as after the rest/retard they go to the fridge overnight & baked in the hot oven the next day. Will try less water & see what happens!

  27. Masha says

    Hi there. I think my starter is ready to go and I am anxious to bake some sourdough, however, I have neither a couche nor a banneton nor any other type of shaping device other than a solitary crappy old nonstick loaf pan. I do have an enameled cast iron dutch oven. Can I proof and bake it in that? Or is there another trick?

  28. Andrea says

    I made this bread today and it turned out wonderfully. I got loaves with a thick, crunchy, golden crust and moist, slightly sour interior. I think this is one of the best breads I’ve ever baked! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Anne says

    Susan, your blog is a joy! I spent yesterday baking Finnish Rye, 47% Rye, Miche with Wholewheat starter and am finishing off two Norwich loaves. After a little practice, and taking my courage in both hands with the Finnish Rye (to paraphrase, “it’s dough, but not as we know it”), I am confident to recommend your site to anyone new to sourdough baking. Particularly the Norwich- what a little star! My humble thanks.

  30. BobS says

    Hi Susan,

    When you say mix for 3-4 minutes, do you mean in a KitchenAid-style mixer or a commercial one?



  31. BobS says

    Thanks Susan. I don’t go by the clock. Just curious, as it takes me longer (maybe 7 minutes) to get to moderate development.


  32. Stacey says

    I *loved* your suggestion to save some of the dough for pizza. We tried it last night and it made a wonderful crust! Can’t wait to do it again!

  33. says

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  34. Brent Zundel says

    Thank you. I’m just pulling my loaves out of the oven, my first bread from captured yeast. Your directions were excellently clear.

  35. Mallika says

    Hi! I am new to bread making but exited to learn nice and new recipes, and I have a big, bread-loving Russian family to please so I am very happy to have found your site! I am sure they will love those breads! I just have a couple questions, I just don’t understand what a 100 per cent humidity sourdough mean. Could you explain in cups of water and flour?? Also I have a rye flour starter on hand, could I use it for your recipes? can I feed my starter with a different amount of water and flour to make it more stiff or liquid? The last thing is that I do not have a baking stone, can I bake bread on a simple oven tray and get a proper result?
    Thanks for your help! bye!

  36. Marie says

    Hi Susan, I’ve been making your “New Favorite Recipe” and wonder if I can leave my proofing bread refrigerated for more than 16 hours? My goal is to achieve a more sour bread, but I don’t know if this would be over proofing. Would it cause the dough to rise more? I would like that but you have said that over proofing causes the bread to have a more dense crumb – not what I want. How does over rising cause a denser crumb instead of an airier crumb? Then again, is over proofing the same as over rising? Just some of the bug-a-boos I am trying to work out. Thanks so much for your site – I’m loving it.

  37. Marie says

    Susan, I am also wondering about the mixing whether to use the dough hook or just the mixing attachment. I currently use both – the mixer first and then the kneading paddle when mixing in the salt. I also read Bob’s post about possibly mixing longer than 3 – 4 minutes, which I believe I need to do next time for better gluten development. Should this dough meet the “stretch the dough in front of a light” to test for perfect gluten development? Sorry for all the questions, I am quite new to sourdough bread making. So many thanks.

  38. says

    Mallika, 100%-hydration means the starter contains equal parts of flour and water by weight. If you use a starter with more or less water you will need to adjust the amount of water in the final dough to compensate for that. If you use a rye starter you may wish to use only white flour in the final dough, unless you are experienced with rye breads.

    Marie, leaving the loaves in the refrigerator for longer results in a more sour bread. At low refrigerator temperatures, acid production by bacteria continues, while yeast fermentation slows way down. If they are left too long, the high acid content will start to break down the gluten and eventually the loaves will be a gloppy mess. Try 16 hours and see if the sourness is to your taste.

    I use only the dough hook when I use my stand mixer.

  39. Glen says

    Susan, I have read on your other post about maintaining yeast where you try to always keep 100g of starter. The Norwich recipe calls for 360g starter. I assume you started with an amount from your master starter, fed it till it matured to 360g?

  40. david says


    I absolutely love your recipe and the pictures are amazing!!! I’ve tried to follow it step by step but I have one question so far…

    I reached the point where I turned the 400g bits into balls and then shaped them. You said I could leave it out for just over an hour and then put in the fridge overnight. I’ve done this and I still have about 8 hours to go in the fridge but I noticed that the dough has risen LIKE CRAZY!!! i put the shaped dough in a suitable shaped container that fits its shape and covered with a cloth and then sealed it with a plastic bag, but the dough has burst out of the cloth and is almost expanding the entire plastic bag.

    should this rise be happening? Or have I dont something wrong? If its risen so much, could I just take it out now (after about 10 hours in the fridge) and put it straight in the oven?

    Im just a bit afraid Ive done something wrong because your images of the shaped bread look sturdy and hard, whereas mine is still quite wet and floppy…?

  41. Lisa says

    Susan I so enjoy this recipe! The dough is a delight to work with, the proofing time for the shaped loaves is so flexible and the end result is delicious – however – for some reason I cannot manage to get ‘ears’ on my loaves? Do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong? Any suggestions, ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for a wonderful recipe and website!

  42. MoonshineSG says

    I tried your recipe twice. Both times I failed. First time I made a mistake (added the salt right at the beginning) so let’s ignore that.
    In both occasions, the bread raised nicely but when I flipped from the bannetons on the board and score it, it deflated itself and then hasn’t got any oven spring. I ended up with a bunch of bricks…
    I used KA bread flour and organic pumpernickel… My starter is relatively young (about 2 weeks old) but is very active and I’ve successfully baked with it.

    Any idea what might cause the problem ? I really like the way the bread looks… and I’d like to give it one more try…

  43. says

    David, do your loaves seem overproofed (see below) when you bake them? If so, you may want to leave them out for less time before putting them in the fridge. Also, check your dough temperature. If it’s high, the loaves will take more time to cool down in the fridge. See this post on how to control dough temperature (which should be around 76F for this bread): . Once they’re in the fridge, you can leave them there for 2 – 12 hours or longer, taking them out to bake (straight from the refrigerator) when you’re ready.

    Lisa, good ears depend on a few factors: sufficient gluten development, tight loaf shaping, and watching your to make sure that the loaves are not over proofed so you get some “oven spring.” Also, make sure you hold your blade at a shallow angle to the bread surface, so your cut makes a “flap” of dough.

    MoonshineSG, it sounds like your loaves are overproofing! Proofing time should be judged by dough readiness, not absolute time. Temperature (of the dough and the room), flour composition, hydration, and other factors can affect proofing time. The dough is proofed and ready to bake when a fingertip pressed lightly into the dough springs back slowly.

  44. Jennifer says

    Just wanted to thank you so much for the recipe and the information you continue to provide to folks following your blog. I am most especially appreciative of the video you provide on folding the dough for this sourdough. I have a million cookbooks, and many are dedicated to bread, but the video made all the difference in my sourdough baking.

    I’ve probably made this bread 15 or 20 times in the past six months; in fact, I find myself looking for excuses to make it because it’s so darn good I want to share it with people. I’ve tried adding jalapenos and shredded cheddar when I shape my batards and am quite successful with getting a scrumptious jalapeno cheddar sourdough from this recipe. My husband (who claims he doesn’t like sourdough) has been on me to bake for him since I took some time off from baking this summer. He came home the other day with two jars of jalapenos and told me he knew I could put them to good use.

    And my 6-year-old is seeing bread-baking as a part of our family routine, so that’s another thing I want to say thank you for. This recipe has made it so easy!

  45. Bill in UK says

    Came to this after several attempts with the Tartine recipe which works well but is very demanding on time (4 hours withs folds ever half an hour). Your method has many similarities but is less “extreme” and in my experince much more reliable. I have had great sucess with it and am now using a slightly adapted method with more water (60 gms added with the salt), and turning 3/4 times to make up for the extra water. I follow your timngs for overnight fermentation and bake it dark like Chris Robertson at Tartine does and the crust ends up really crisp and almost shatters when you cut it. I guess I am some way between your method and his.

    My contribution to the extensive discussion/teach in on starters and feeding schedules etc in this chain is that I use half white bread flour and half rye. I keep it in the fridge between bakes and, provided it has only been there a week or less, I just take a spoonful out and use it directly to make you 360 gms of levain. Works every time.

    Great blog

  46. david says

    Hello and thanks for a wonderful recipe!!

    I’m a bit confused on what I’m doing wrong in the end. Everything looks fine to me until it comes to shaping the bread. I shape them just like you, but the difference is that when they are ready to bake after 2.5 hours, my shape has been almost completely lost by the doubling/rise…

    When I look at your final picture you seem to have a sturdy hard shape thats easy to slice at the top, and in the incision I can see that the inside is very wet and soft. IN MY DOUGH it seems to be soft and sticky all around…

    Is it because I don’t cover the outside of my dough with a lot of flour when I’m done shaping? Or is it maybe because I seal it with a plastic bag while its resting for 2.5 hours? should I be letting in some air so that its outside hardent a bit the way it looks like in your 2nd to last image?

    many thanks :)


  47. Nick says

    Hello there,
    I have been trying to get this to work for a while. It always tastes great! But my trouble is that the dough won’t hold it’s shape after it leaves the shaping container. I use the stainless mixer bowl buttered and floured. Also tried ONLY butter or ONLY flour and when I dump the dough it’s hard to get it out (very sticky) and just flattens. I end up having to reshape it into a Boule right before baking. It still tastes good and the texture is fine, but I’d like to have it keep shape after it’s proofing time.


    by the way I follow the steps above. I usually use Wheat Montana wheat flour in place of the Rye, but I also tried Rye flour.

  48. Lous says

    Just put some sunflower oil at the inside of the bowl and swirl the dough around so there is a little bit of oil everywhere around the dough. Then give it a rest. It works for me.

  49. Jen says


    Thank you for posting this lovely recipe, and thank you for providing such detailed instructions. I recently jumped on the sourdough bandwagon and have been churning out bricks up until I tried this. Great, pillowy, open crumb and wonderfully crisp crust. Love it!

    May the bread gods always smile upon you!

  50. Alex says

    This is an amazing recipe! I used King Arthur’s bread flour and organic rye flour and it came out the best bread I ever made! Thanks for sharing it!

  51. babloo says



  52. Julie says

    I’m proofing this in linen lined baskets as I type this. I’m not sure I got the shaping tight though….I just now read a comment about the dough not keeping it’s shape after removal from the baskets. Hmmmm. Well, only time (two hours to be precise) will tell. I think that was the problem in the garlic cheese loaf I made two nights ago. I will most definitely pay more attention to shaping a tighter boule or battan next time. I just hope I haven’t ruined these. My family liked the flattened garlic cheese loaf despite it being flat like a focaccia, so I guess they won’t fire me if these flatten out as well LOL

  53. Julie says

    Well, I’m happy to report that the loaves most definitely didn’t collapse when I removed them from the linen lined baskets! Hooray! I used a mixture of semolina flour and cornmeal to dust the linen and boy did it make for a spectacular tasty and crispy crust! Now I know how much choosing the right flour for dusting the linen can affect the outcome of the bread. Yum! Even my very skeptical daughter who hates everything (a real modern day ‘Mikey’) said the bread was “soooooo yuummmmy!”. Success! Thanks again Susan for helping my bread baking reach new heights! (and on a side note…my goodness, the recent … Ehem … comments are, well, colorful. I’m sorry they’ve messed with your site like this.)

  54. Rebecca says

    sorry this is a noob question, do bear with me, I have grown my starter and am starting my second refreshment later tonight. With regards to the second refreshment I add more flour and water to make 360g? then leave it to mature before adding to the final mix?
    The reason im asking is hamelmans vermont sourdough takes two tbsp of mature starter and then mixes with flour n water to create the levain. So sorry a little confused..I understand yours is a variation but would like to be sure and not stuff up the bread.

  55. Sue says

    Hi, i’m a novice to the sourdough world but am a fast learner and really want to make this aforementioned yummy loaf (My New favourite Sourdough). To save my confusion not least given the myriad of comments on this page could you please point me to the link that also shows ‘how to’ make the starter you used with this recipe so that I too can make this exact bread from start to finish for myself? :)

  56. says

    Hi Susan,
    I just baked two loaves and two more is in the oven baking. I don’t have the proper tool to slash so I just a sharp paring knife. On of the bread looked like an Incredible Hulk muscle bulge! hahaha. Otherwise the bread tasted so good. You are right we couldn’t resist- didn’t wait for it to cool. :) Thanks for the how-to. :)

  57. Chris says

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve used my northern CA starter multiple times, mostly with unsuccessful results. I made two loaves over the weekend using your proportions (cut in half) and folding/proofing times. The flavor was great and the rise was impressive! My wife and I had to keep watching the show through the oven window. I didn’t get the dark crust color you show in your pics and added 5 minutes baking time. I think that means my oven needs cleaning. :D

    Thanks! Looking forward to the second batch.

  58. Gina says

    This recipe is 7 years old, is this still your favorite sourdough? Just curious.

    It’s mine now! I made a half recipe yesterday – I halved it mostly because other recipes I’ve tried lately have been disastrous – and now I’m sorry I didn’t make the whole batch.

    What a great all-purpose recipe and what great sour flavour! More so maybe because my starter is made with rye flour?

    I also appreciated the fact that it’s not too wet, yet I still got beautiful holes, and this in fact of not having refreshed my starter. (I will next time.)

    To get it done start to finish in one day was also a nice surprise.

    I made a couple of small boules — great as is or toasted — and two ficelles for sandwiches. Next time I’m making baguettes!

    Thank you!

  59. ElliotH says

    This bread is so good I am stuck and don’t want to bake any other. Been making it for several months it is always perfect

  60. heather says

    hi susan!

    thank you so, so much for providing such beautifully-written recipes. linear, concise, detailed. embedded LINKS, for heaven’s sake, to terms and techniques the baking neophytes among us may not know. you and your blog are heaven-sent.

    a question for you: i’ve had (mostly) lovely success with my first-ever wild yeast sourdough via your norwich formula. using lava rock steam i baked two of the loaves off day-of, and cold-proofed the other two for about fourteen hours (certainly not over sixteen hours proof). the retarded loaves proofed to a significantly larger size than the day-of loaves; i temped them on the counter for the hour or so of pre-heating (during which they didn’t seem to expand any further) scored and loaded. as far as i could tell my scoring, steaming and loading techniques were all the same as for the day-ofs. while they baked up nicely and- internally, at least- are even better than the day-of loaves (i prefer a tangier, chewier loaf with a more shattery crust, and these were both), they really weren’t as pretty. with my day-of loaves i got ears (ears!!! first time ever!) and a really nice even expansion with big open scores, but with my retarded loaves the scores didn’t open as wide or as deep, and the loaves themselves spread a touch more horizontally than vertically. they were a beautiful deep golden brown, but the scores were far flatter and the oven spring significantly reduced.

    i was originally thinking over-proofed, but the crumb says no. open and even.

    any thoughts?

  61. Karmyn says

    I’ve been building my starter for 2 weeks. I have a gallon jug in the fridge full of it! Made a half recipe of the Norwich today – half of that I made a little boule with, and the other half we used for homemade pizza! My son is waiting by the oven right now for the bread to come out..
    Love your blog, it’s been very helpful!

  62. Alice says


    Please can you tell me your method- without a mixer? If I am kneading the dough by hand?

    Also what do you mean by 100% hydration for the starter?

    Thank you!

  63. Connie says

    I tried this recipe today and divided it into thirds – in one of them, I folded in some freshly chopped rosemary and kalamata olives. What wonderful bread! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  65. says

    Such a fantastic recipe. Very little work and amazing results every time. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since!

    Next step is to start experimenting with it:D Thanks!!

  66. Maya says

    This is the second time I am making those loaves, we love them the most ! Thank you!
    I am working with 140% hidration and my starter is whole wheat, it works tasty.
    Thank you again!

  67. Thomasina says

    What a fantastic experience! Followed your directions to make my starter, and used it yesterday on this recipe. My loaves turned out great! I am just getting started with bread, although I have been making it for twenty years. Just never really thought about what I do … So many things I do unconsciously you have explained. I am learning a ton as well. Thanks for the inspirational site.

  68. Liz says

    Looking up for a new daily bread recepe I found this one. What a great bread, what a taste and smell and what a color. Thanks!

  69. Ed says

    The picture of your bread is exactly what I want!
    I was raised on rye-with-caraway and it surely was a sourdough, but now just a wonderful and literally very distant memory. I’m firmly convinced that it’s all about gluten, and you can’t find gluten in a rice field.
    Whereas there’s lots of good ‘european-style’ bread in the capitol region, later migrating to the interior of nowhere has its price – if you want anything resembling real bread you fast learn to bake some. It’s not so easy in the Philippines where there is no such thing as rye flour, all the bakery wholesalers here just give me a confused look when I ask. Ditto there’s no gluten extender. You can only buy “first class” (cake) flour or “third class” which latter is what barely passes for hard-wheat flour with only a marginally higher gluten content, the closest you can find for bread so that’s what I buy by the sack.

    My kids are (of course) weaned to the asian staple – rice, but since I started baking my variant of french bread they’re constantly pestering me for bread. I want something better though within the limitations of what I can get to bake with, so time to try sourdough. The first thing I need is “starter”, so how to create a starter here? I asked my wife to bring me some rice straight from the field in the mountains, extracted a handful of grains and threw them into an open jar with a spoon of sugar, some flour and water in the proper proportions. Two weeks later after semi-proper care and feeding it wasn’t doing much of anything, so I switched to morning and night feedings. Meanwhile I was thinking … “what here is naturally fermenting?” – the answer was right in my glass – “tuba!” (local fermented coconut ‘wine’). Starter #2 was just tuba and flour, and within 2 days it was insanely active and smelled great – enough to make my wife wrinkle her nose and roll her eyes at me.
    Meanwhile, starter #1 was actually doing something. I quickly started using both for baking and after a month just combined the two – now I have what could be termed “wild rice and tuba sourdough starter”, and it does yield passable sourdough bread.

    Since I’m unable to get the flour and gluten I really need, I’ve realized that scientific measurements don’t mean a thing here. I just save all my “discarded” feeding-time starter in a large bowl in the fridge. Two days before baking time it comes out to warm, wake up, be fed, and the next day becomes the base for my sponge. Given an ambient household temperate in the low 30′s celsius with constant high humidity, oh yes, that’s *sponge*! The third day is baking day; add about the right amount of extra flour, water to achieve proper hydration, salt, often a Tbsp of olive oil, plus a cup of my recently-fed stock starter. Mix, cover, wait until it proofs up nicely, then proceed with everyone else’s instructions.

    The result isn’t yet quite as good as the pics here and I doubt ever can be without the right high-gluten flours, but it’s still the best bread that can be found short of several days travelling including plane flights. My kitchen is a day closer than any airport and tomorrow is baking day again. :)

  70. Paula says

    I made my first sourdough starter and my first loaf of bread was made this morning. The crust was brown and crusty the taste of the bread was good but it was a little sticky. I am not sure if it just needed more time in the oven. Do you have any suggestions?

  71. Mariam says

    Hi Susan,
    I always have some issues when baking this bread. This time, the loaves spread out completely while proofing. Then after reshaping and proofing for a while I put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning they didn’t seem proofed enough. I baked them off and the bottom of one of the loaves cracked open (this happens often with some other breads), and the breads just seem incredible heavy, although they got a pretty good oven spring. These problems occur often with me and I was wondering if you could please let me know what I may be doing wrong? Thank you!

  72. Valerie says

    Is it okay to leave it in the fridge for longer than 16 hours?

    Even though my sourdough starter is very active, lately when I bake the bread after it has been retarded in the fridge for 2 hours, it isn’t rising like it used to. The results are very dense & heavy. Any suggestions?

  73. Laura says

    Such a beautiful recipe, thank you! I found it easy enough to use ice cubes and a spray bottle to get that bit of steam at the beginning. The end product was golden brown, crispy adams chewy, just perfect! :)

  74. kimberly says

    Hi Susan!

    That top photo of your Norwich Sourdough looks so good, I am tempted to bite the computer screen, ha ha.
    Seriously, I am attempting to make the bread this morning. I feed my starter every morning. 1/4 cup of starter/ 1/4water / 1/4 flour. I usually discard any left over starter.
    Today, I took my 1/4 of starter out and used the rest, 110g starter, to make the 360g of white starter for the recipe. (110g starter + 125g water +125g white flour)
    I am new when it comes to making bread with a starter. Did I put to much starter in?
    Thanks for your time! I love your site!

  75. says

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  76. Sandy says

    Thanks for the info on steaming inside the oven. It has solved the puzzle about getting the bread to rise. I started making bread when I could not find unsalted breads and I never do use salt at all in either my yeast or sourdough breads. I do add seeds to taste. Thank you for the steaming tips.


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