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How to make sourdough bread

From perfecting the starter to baking your dream loaf, here’s how to make sourdough like a pro.

Sourdough starter in a jar with a rubber band

Line the pan 

To stop the base and sides from burning, and to give the Basque cheesecake its distinctive shape, line the pan with two layers of baking paper. Pleat the paper to fit.

1/2 tsp of the starter dropped into a glass of cold water

Make it smooth

To avoid any lumps, bring the cream cheese to room temperature before you start. This makes it easier to beat and also helps the sugar dissolve.

Rest the dough in a glass bowl

Add the flour

For a soft, creamy texture, add the flour to the mixture last and beat it gently on low speed. Overbeating the mixture will make the cheesecake tough.

Two hands shaping the dough into a tight, neat ball

Check the wobble

For a smooth and silky centre, don't overcook the cheesecake. Take it out of the oven when the centre is still soft and wobbly – it will firm up as it cools.

Add the dough into dusted rice flour in a muslin-lined bowl

Overnight proof

This overnight proof is done in the fridge. The chilled environment allows the dough to rise more slowly than if it were in a warm place. The slower rising time helps the dough develop more acidity and gives it the distinct ‘sour’ taste. Before chilling, line a bowl with muslin or a clean tea towel and dust it with rice flour, then add the dough. This keeps the dough from sticking to the bowl and makes it easier to turn out – you don’t want to lose the tight ball of dough that you worked so hard to achieve!

Cooling off for 30 minutes before cutting the loaf

Cool before slicing

We know you won’t want to wait to tuck into your freshly baked bread, but make sure you let the loaf cool for at least 30 minutes before you cut into it. This helps the bread retain its shape while you slice it – otherwise, the insides of the bread can become mushy. Sourdough freezes well too, so if you’ve made more than you’ll eat, cut the loaf in half and wrap with baking paper and foil. Freeze it for up to 1 month.

Ready to have a go? Check out the recipes below.