River Cottage Australia



Want to make your own sourdough? Well to make an authentic sourdough loaf, you’ll need to create your own yeast by way of a natural fermentation process. Sourdough starter is the thing which begins and feeds the fermentation process in dough - the starter is what’s going to make your bread rise and give it its own unique sourdough taste and flavour.



  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup spelt flour

  • 1 cup rye flour

  • Water


  • 1.

    In a bowl combine the flours.

  • 2.

    Add enough water to give it the consistency of a thick batter and whisk well.

  • 3.

    Once it’s mixed, cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to ferment in a warm spot; a bench next to a sunlit window or near the oven would be fine. You should see tiny bubbles on the mix after the first day – this will indicate the beginning of the fermentation process.

  • 4.

    Every day, over the next 7 days, remove and discard half the starter and keep adding half a cup of flour and enough water to retain its thick consistency. After 7 days (though it may take up to 10 depending on the flour you are using and the conditions in which you keep your starter), you should have a mix that smells sweet and yeasty. You are ready to start making your bread.

  • 5.

    To make your bread, you will only need a ladle full or so of the starter, so you’ll need to find a place to keep it, and remember to keep feeding it by removing half the dough and adding extra flour water (as described above). If you are keeping your starter out of the fridge you will need to do this ever day or so. If you decide to keep it in the fridge, you can get away with feeding it once a week as the cold conditions keep the flora in the starter dormant.

  • 6.

    Treat your sourdough starter right and feed it properly, and you can have good bread for years to come.


This recipe uses three different types of flour to make the starter but really, you can use any flour to achieve the same result. The use of these flours help accelerate the fermentation process because they maintain high levels of naturally occurring bacterial spores and yeasts as they are not as processed as white flour.

To get the recipe for the River Cottage Sourdough, click here!

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Posted by Mary1192Report
In your recipe for sourdough bread, what the heck is a "ladle full" of starter. How many grams?
Posted by Nikola144412Report
Oh and another question, for the feed it part of the recipe, should I still use an equal combination of the above flours? Thanks
Posted by Nikola144412Report
Finally getting around to trying this out and I was wondering a few things.
1. how long to the bubbles start forming?
2. how thick should the batter be? I am a little worried it is too thick.
3. It says cover with a damp cloth, I presume this is to promote a humid environment? And it should not touch the batter?
I appreciate any feedback from Paul or anyone else who has tried this recipe.
Thanking everyone in advance.
Posted by claudeReport
To store the starter in the refrigerator do I just store it in a jar with a sealed lid or do I still need to keep it covered with a damp cloth
also what do you mean by a ladle when making the bread I have several ladles of different sizes.
PS The starter is just going crazy.
Posted by Peter17Report
no starter separating is fine as long as the is no mold growing and there are bubbles rising.
Posted by Report
Does it matter which type of flour you 'feed' the starter with each day? I tried this recipe and found that each day my starter had separated into liquid and very thick batter. Does this mean I was using too much water?

Posted by Report
Can you please put up the bread recipe used to make the bread?
Posted by Aileen62Report
its up the top underneath the blurb about sourdough... ..."To get the recipe for the River Cottage Sourdough, click here!" ..
Posted by Report
Is it possible to get the bread receipe to go with the starter please......
Posted by Aileen62Report
its up the top underneath the blurb about sourdough... ..."To get the recipe for the River Cottage Sourdough, click here!" ..