Sourdough for Novices

Well it had to happen really, there was never ever much doubt in my mind. I tried to ‘encourage’ my wife to catch the Sourdough COVID-19 baking craze but this request was rebutted with “why don’t you give it a go?” In my mind I could hear “Too hard, too much time, too much hassle” echo loudly. However, I remained keen to bake my own bread as there is something seductive and alluring in creating a kitchen staple from just 4 simple ingredients – starter, flour, water, and salt.

To get started, I naturally performed some cursory Internet research, as a bloke typically does, just enough to grab the basics in order to get started but insufficient research to dissuade me from the task at hand. I had even watched a few videos from the Sourdough masters and these were helpful. But I still faced inertia and needed a Sourdough mentor to push me that final step. That’s where Nicole my “Sourdough Sensei” stepped in. She brought her sourdough knowledge and kit up to Orange and took me under her wing. I can honestly say it’s not as hard as I feared. Whilst to perfect the technique will likely take much practice it’s perfectly accessible to even though who have never baked a loaf of bread before.

I hope you enjoy my “How to” video as I hope you pushes you over the line. I asked one of my friends to come over to see the process from scratch and hopefully to demonstrate that you can produce an edible loaf with your first attempt. The video below is actually my 4th attempt at a loaf of sourdough. I can report that Cat successfully made her 1st loaf from scratch after coming over for the filming of the video. So go on, give it a go. Start by grabbing some sourdough starter from a friend, give it a little feed and then hit that Baking button.

Tips on the Sourdough Starter

You’ll need just a little starter, a tablespoon, or just the scrapings of starter from your friend’s jar will be enough

Add 1 part flour to 1 part water (ie. 80ml flour to 80ml filtered water)

Which flour is best? It appears flour with higher protein percentage ie. 13gm per 100gm of protein. I use Rye flour.

One last thing, you don’t need to discard your starter every day. You just need to feed your starter increasing amounts of ‘food’ as it’s volume increases and you’ll need a bigger and bigger jar. You can always use the starter for waffles, pikelets, crumpets, or crackers. There are endless recipes to use sourdough excess. I don’t like to call it ‘Discard‘ as it implies it is ‘off’ or unusable.

Useful links

Bake with Jack

Richard Bertinet’s Slap and Fold technique


I was a total sourdough novice but Robs recipe was very easy to follow, didn’t take too long and the end result was amazing …. there is nothing better than a loaf of home made sourdough straight out of the oven! – Cat Meachin

Rob Zielinski

Rob was born and bred in Sydney, NSW but discovered the delights of Orange as a medical student in 2005. Prior to this he hadn’t travelled further west than the Blue Mountains. After completing his medical studies he moved with his wife Amorette and two sons, Oscar and Marlon, to Orange in 2013 to begin working as one of the first medical oncology consultants in the area.

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