Writer and baker Vanessa Kimbell shares her delicious sourdough loaf recipe with us.

Get your Great British Bake Off on and try baking your own with this easy step-by-step bread making guide.


You will need

  • Clean tea towel
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 500g Round cane banneton
  • A lame to score the dough

For the sourdough leaven

  • 2tbsp Sourdough Starter
  • 75g Organic strong white stoneground flour
  • 75g Cold filtered tap water

For the loaf

  • 325g Filtered tap water
  • 400g Organic strong white stoneground flour
  • 100g Organic Wholemeal strong flour
  • 12g Fine sea salt
  • Semolina for dusting the cloche


  • STEP 1

    Make the sourdough leaven the night before you bake. Mix together the starter, flour filtered water, cover and leave for 8 hours until lively and bubbly.

  • STEP 2

    Early next morning, whisk the sourdough leaven with the water in a large mixing bowl.

  • STEP 3

    Add the flours and salt mix until the ingredients come together in a large ball. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave to prove in a cool environment for 2 hours.

  • STEP 4

    Lift and fold the dough over itself and then do a quarter turn of the bowl, repeat 3 times. Do this 4 times over the next 2 hours.

    Dust a banneton with flour.

  • STEP 5

    Shape the dough lightly into a ball.

  • STEP 6

    Place seam side up in the banneton. Dust the top with flour, then cover with a damp tea towel. (If you are new to bread-making, you can grease a 900g/2lb bread tin, pop the dough in seam side down and let the dough rise in it and just bake following the timings below.)

  • STEP 7

    Leave your dough to prove for about an hour until the dough has risen by roughly 75 per cent. Do not wait for the dough to double as it will be over-proved.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.

  • STEP 8

    Dust your cloche with a fine layer of semolina, turn the dough out in the cloche and score the top so the bread splits along the lines of the slash. Put on the lid and bake for 50 minutes.

  • STEP 9

    Turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes until the crust is dark brown. Leave to cool before slicing. If you want a soft crust, wrap the bread in a clean tea towel whilst still warm. Once cool, store in a linen or cotton bread bag, or wrapped in a clean tea towel. The flavour improves if left for a day.

Writer and baker Vanessa Kimbell is the author of Food for Thought: Changing the World One Bite at a Time (Kyle Cathie, £19.99). She teaches sourdough courses at the Sourdough School in Northamptonshire.