Sourdough BreadI always wanted a sourdough starter and my dream came through when I was invited to diner at the Great British Chefs HQ. What a lovely and fun evening!

One of the delightful guests, Tom Hunt, a Eco-Chef, blogger, restauranteur @TomsFeast and food waste activist was giving away, Cleo, the sourdough starter, and I quickly snapped up this very sought after concoction. Since then I’ve been baking away in secret so I didn’t have to share with anyone. However, after lots of feeds Cleo, the sourdough starter, got quite big so I had to shared it with friends.

The sourdough starter came with instructions:
Cleo, the sourdough starter, will need to be looked after for a few days before you share with three friends and transform the rest into a delicious sourdough loaf!
She’s supposed to sit on your kitchen table for three days, don’t put her in the fridge or she will fall asleep! Cleo loves good organic bread flour and even better wholemeal, but regular flour will do. I used wholemeal, as I had plenty of it at home.


Day 1: Take Cleo and add one heaped dessert spoon of flour, I used wholemeal, and little water at a time stirring well to make a thick batter.

Day 2: Add two heaped dessert spoon of flour and enough water to make a tick batter.

Day 3: As soon as you wake up in the morning, add five heaped dessert spoons of flour and enough water to make a thick batter. When you get home in the evening, Cleo should be bubbly. Take three pots of jam jars and put two desert spoons of Cleo in each, to give to your friends tomorrow, with a copy of this recipe.

Making the Loaf:

Sourdough1) Measure 650g of warm water. Add the rest of Cleo to the water with 1 level teaspoon of dried yeast and 4 level teaspoons of salt. Stir to dissolve. If Cleo is very bubbly and about twice the size you can try using no yeast at all… Just remember to increase the final rest to 3 hours instead of one.

2) Add 1kg of organic bread flour and mix till fully combined. Knead Cleo for 10 minutes. Add the flour slowly and make sure it’s not too dry.

3) Leave Cleo to rest for 1.5 hours

4) Cleo should have grown. Shape it by folding the outside to the middle rotating a quarter and repeating four or five times. Now flip it so the smooth side is up and put her onto a large baking tray, sprinkle with flour and cover it with a damp tea towel.

5) Cleo now needs a final rest for 1.5 hours before she’s ready to bake. After one hour resting pre-heat the oven to its highest temperature.

Sourdough Sliced6) Score the top of Cleo with a bread knife three times across the top so that the loaf growns in the oven as much as possible. Put her straight into the oven on the middle shelf after 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 160C. Bake it for another 40 minutes.

7) Remove and let is cool on a rack.

Thanks to Tom for the lovely Cleo and my friend Angel, the hand model.


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Hot & Chilli

Hot & Chilli is a food blog run by Rosana McPhee

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