A natural leaven bread

natural leavened bread


A few months back the delightful Miss Daisy Bennett gave me some of her starter she’d made, it’s been hibernating (okay I forgot about it) in the bottom of the fridge, and after a few days of feeding it warm water and Shipton mill flour it’s woken and is bubbly and bready smelling…..

I made a sourdough loaf with it at the start of last week and although I’m unable to cope with eating bread at the moment I still bake all our bread at home for the Arpette.  It looked okay and he said it tasted very nice, however I did think was a lot of fannying around.  I used a recipe from Dan Lepard’s The Natural Loaf  and over the years I’ve made so many of his breads, they are always delicious and don’t seem to last 5 minutes with salty butter and homemade jam!  In Dan Lepard’s recipe you keep going back to the bread every so often to turn and gently kneed…..normally this wouldn’t be a problem but right now I’m up to my eyes in pieces to be embroidered and ironed and stitched for the Christmas fair in Holt next weekend, and I wanted to make some bread that I could just leave alone to do it’s thing.

I’ve half combined the Dan Lepard recipe with my regular bread recipe to make my own version of sourdough.  It had a slightly better crumb but it wasn’t as holey inside as proper sourdough.  The taster (the Arpette) said it was just as nice though and had it for sandwiches along with roast peppers (we’d bought some cheap wrinkled ones off the market and roasted them while we had a casserole in the oven…) and goats cheese.


Oaty Sourdough Bread

250 g natural starter

200 g bread flour (I always use Shipton Mill bread flour)

a couple desert spoons of sugar (normally I use honey but had forgotten to buy any)

300ml (275 g) tepid water

100 g big porridge oats

Put the starter,flour and sugar into a big bowl.  Add the water and the porridge oats.  Gently stir together and cover with a clean tea towel.  Leave for one hour.


The dough will be lovely and bubbly.

Add a further 300 g of flour, a glug of sunflower oil and a teaspoon of crushed sea salt.

Mix and kneed for a few minutes until the bread just feels right.  Add an extra 25 g of flour to dust the dough and work surface while you are kneeding it if need be.


Put into a clean bowl which has been lightly oiled.  Roll the dough in the oil and cover with the tea towel.  Leave until the dough has doubled in size (about 3 hours in an airing cupboard)

Gently knock back.  Place a large square of muslin in a proving bowl, liberally dust with flour, place in the dough and cover (or you can just put the dough into a bread tin)  Allow to prove again for about 30 minutes.

Turn on your oven to gas 7, allow to get hot.  Place a baking sheet into the oven to get hot.  When the oven is ready, remove the baking sheet, place on a sheet of baking parchment, turn out the dough, slash the top with a sharp knife, and pop in to the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes at gas 7 and then for about 30 – 40 minutes at gas 6.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating.

It’s not quite authentic sourdough, but the Arpette said it had a really good taste and the crumb was more like a regular loaf (I think that is the oats).


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