Making sourdough in hot temperatures…

Heat can be great for proving dough, but only up to a point; once temperatures start to rise up and over 20C/70F at night, our beautiful overnight doughs risk over proving.

There are simple steps to prevent this from happening…I have a timetable on here which can help; it is based on proving the dough on the counter for a few hours in the warmth, then putting the dough into your banneton and into the fridge overnight; the dough can then be baked directly from the fridge any time the next day.

Or, what I do, which is the simplest solution, is use my master recipe exactly as it is, just with less starter. As the photo shows, I use 20g of my lovely active starter, which pretty much equates to a tablespoon. You do not need to change anything else about the recipe, just this.


🌟 less starter slows the dough down and allows you to still be able to prove your dough on the counter overnight. It works perfectly for foodbod sourdough bakers all over the world who live and make sourdough in hot countries all year round.

🌟 a thermometer in your kitchen will help you to be able to plan for when you need to do this but already around the Northern Hemisphere temperatures are rising and doughs are being challenged. If this is happening to you, use less starter.

🌟 you will know if your dough is over proving if it grows very quickly and is overly bubbly.

🌟 you will know if you dough HAS over proved if it fills your bowl, is very slack and fluid, very bubbly, impossible to handle and smells strongly.

🌟 this dough will no longer have any structure and will not be able to hold its shape. It will bake to a flat, dense, but tasty loaf.

🌟 the best thing to do with over proved dough is use it to make focaccia or flatbreads, something that doesn’t require structure.

Happy baking 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Please note: this does not work the other way round. If you are heading into cold weather, more starter is not the answer. If it’s cold it’s cold, dough will respond slower however much starter you use. In this instance just allow your dough more time to do it work. There’s full info and hints and tips on my site to help you.

Making multiple doughs and loaves…

🌟 if you want to double or triple my master recipe, feed your starter double or triple the usual amounts to generate the amount of active starter you’ll need to make your doughs.

🌟 you don’t need to start out with more starter for it to be able make more; just feed your usual base amount for the job, it will work perfectly.

🌟 if you want to double or triple my master recipe, just double or triple all of the quantities.

🌟 I always use one bowl per dough when I make multiples rather than one large single dough in one bowl. The main reason for this is that when I prove my dough overnight it grows and fills the entire bowl, so I would need an absolutely huge bowl to hold a double or triple batch of dough.

🌟 I also use one bowl per dough as I like to know that I’ve fully mixed and incorporated all of the ingredients well. So whether I make 2, 3 (or 4, as I was in the pic), doughs, I use 1 bowl per dough. It’s also a lot easier than trying to split the dough further down the line.

Plus a huge batch of dough would become quite difficult to manage!

🌟 if you do make a single bigger dough and therefore one huge loaf, you will indeed need to bake it for longer.

🌟🌟🌟 Happy Baking 🌟🌟🌟

Our stories of ‘sanity saving sourdough’ during lockdown 2020…

Who knew what the reality of lockdown would be?

Who really had any idea?

I know I didn’t.

For us, my husband continued to work, being considered a key worker, and my 18 year old son’s school life and A level exams suddenly got completely wiped out. But for me, I work for myself, I work from home anyway, so I didn’t foresee much difference…except for having the added extra of my son’s lovely company every day…

How wrong I was; I have literally lived through one of the busiest, if not THE busiest, periods of my life.

Let me explain: I set this website up a couple of years ago to share my process for making sourdough simply, successfully, and consistently, for anyone who wanted to make it at home. I see and read so many over complicated recipes, numerous processes with unnecessary and excessive steps, and I knew it didn’t need to be so hard and so seemingly inaccessible, so I decided to build this website and to share my process and tips with anyone who might be interested. I was already sharing my loaves on Instagram and people seemed to like them, so I set up my Facebook page and then my group, to chat and to share more of what I was doing.

I had no idea if there would be any interest, I thought I would share my sourdough world with my friends and family, and that would be it. But the interest in sourdough has been building over the last few years and my audience has grown along the way and I now have a whole lovely extended family of ‘foodbodders’. It’s been amazing, and a source of great joy to be able to help people all over the world to make great healthy tasty homemade bread.

Enter lockdown. And that level of interest went supernova! On an average day during lockdown I have answered hundreds, no exaggeration, literally hundreds, of messages, emails and comments per day.

And why? Because during lockdown the interest in making sourdough grew exponentially. I think there are several reasons this happened; suddenly people who have always wanted to give it a go had the time, then others saw what they were doing, and saw the press stories, and fancied having a go and got involved too. Supplies of commercial yeast also run dry so people were looking for alternatives and making a sourdough starter and generating your own yeast became the perfect answer.

And with that comes questions and feedback and cries for help. Sourdough has a magical capacity to turn minds to jelly at the best of times, add in the heightened emotions of the Covid 19 situation, and insecurities for some sourdough newcomers were even greater than would normally have been. At the same time flour shortages hit, so that threw in more confusion and a lot of questions about different flours and alternative options. The beauty of this though is that it gave people the chance to try flours they may have never used otherwise, as well as learning just how different the outcome of sourdough can be depending on the flour you use.

For a sourdough lover like me, lockdown has been an amazing time. It has been a joy to see so many people getting involved and being able to share this amazing joy from my kitchen to theirs. Sourdough saved so many peoples’ sanity during a time of such uncertainty; it gave people a chance to see how you can take the basics of flour and water and make a starter, the positivity of nature and creation, as well as the timely reassurance of renewal and growth. They enjoyed watching their starters come to life in front of their eyes; it’s been a welcome reminder that life goes on. They also enjoyed the welcome distraction of looking after their starters, creating their doughs and producing their loaves.

I’ve been sent photos of loaves baked using my process during lockdown from every corner of the globe; the excitement when people unveil their first loaves is palpable. And it’s enabled them to create their own heathy, homemade bread to enjoy with their families and share with others. People have told me about local virtual baking groups they’ve created, family and friends’ sourdough WhatsApp groups, how they have been sharing their starters, doing produce swaps for flours, baked loaves for their families and neighbours, provided bread for vulnerable isolated neighbours. It’s been infectious, as much because sourdough is so rewarding, but also it’s a satisfying, fulfilling process. It’s something people can get lost in and excited about, and we all needed some of that during lockdown.

The other question I’m asked is this: do I think the interest will continue once restrictions lift and people go back to work?

And my answer is: I truly hope so. Lockdown enabled people to start making sourdough from scratch, and gain experience whilst they had the time. And that doesn’t need to stop.

Sourdough is the healthiest form of bread we can eat, making our own means we know exactly what is in it, and those benefits and that joy can continue. It can also easily be made during a working week. So yes, I think the interest will continue and I hope that people enjoy their new found interest and skill and happy baking!

But the point of this post is about how sourdough has helped peopled through such an unprecedented uncertain time. For me, I’ve been too busy to think; I haven’t had time to dwell on things, I haven’t had time to worry, plus it’s made time fly. I’ve talked to people all over the world daily, shared sourdough help as well as lockdown stories. Between helping others and looking after my home and family, I haven’t had time to be scared. It’s been a gift in so many ways.

So how about you? How has sourdough helped you through lockdown?

I’d love you to comment and share your experiences and build a living diary of our sourdough lockdown experiences. It may prove to be inspirational, even cathartic, or just interesting to see read others’ experiences.

Below are some stories from just a few of my bakers that you may find sound familiar to your experiences…

“Baking in general has always been a form of therapy for me. However, these last few weeks it has proven to be a life-saver or rather a “sanity-saver”. Sourdough baking with its processes, feeding and folds is something I can get lost in and something I can be a part of. I can control nearly everything happening in my loaf and that grounds me. Something else it has shown me (although I already knew this) is that my favourite part of baking is sharing. Sourdough has become an integral part of my life, one that brings me happiness and comfort, specially these last weeks.”

Aranzazu García Tomás, English teacher from Zaragoza, Spain

“My sourdough journey started last October, I was laid up after having an op on my foot. I was totally immobile so I started browsing ‘sourdough starters’  and baking sourdough bread, and there started my addiction. I spent two weeks reading and watching everything about sourdough, and when I could hobble around, I thought I’d give it a go.

Suffice to say it’s been an up and down journey, my first two loaves stuck so much to the pot I had to soak them in water to get the ‘bread’ out, I say bread, it was inedible.

But I persevered and it’s now a passion beyond anything I’ve done before.

Sourdough grounds me, the whole process, feeding my starter, watching it rise, mixing the dough and then the magic happens in the oven.  I’m a mental health worker in the NHS, the lockdown has had a huge impact in my line of work, mental health of the nation has really suffered.  So to come home, start a loaf, whether we need one or not is my way of putting the work day down.  For me, sourdough is almost ‘ mindful’ it grounds me and brings me back to what I love about making sourdough bread, it’s a joy and has kept me sane during lockdown.  Of course another side of the coin is my work colleagues love it as they see the fruits of my labour, it’s a win win scenario in tough times.  I feel truly blessed, especially currently to have not only the ability to make bread but to have to sourdough community which has been a huge help during lockdown. 

Sourdough is now a way of life for me, shop brought bread is a thing of last year and never to come into my home.  I make delicious, wholesome bread at home, it may not always win the beauty contest for looks  but who cares?

Some people close to me having jokingly said I’m “obsessed” with sourdough, I’d like to call it passionate, whatever it may be , I don’t care as long as I’m baking sourdough, I’m happy.”

Kal Tace, Community Support Worker, Nottingham

“Sanity saving sourdough in lockdown. Three months ago this would have given me pause, before I began research into their meaning. Now after living with this since March 5, 2020 I understand much too well. Spending most of those three months alone has been much harder than one could appreciate at the outset. I am a retired critical care RN of nearly 40 years. I take care of people and make them better. I am a mother of three and “Nan” to 1 grandson. Suddenly I had to stay at home to stay safe-virus free. My sourdough starter, Olivia, was born December 10, 2018 and help me produce many loaves of wonderful bread for my children(all in their 30’s). I could still bake bread for them and arrange transport… or so I thought.

With the panic of jobs closing, people forced to stay home and schools closing there was also a ‘panic buying’of cleaning products, masks, toilet paper and flour! This is when I became actually frightened. Sourdough bread was important to how I take care of my family now. I realized I could still bake, but I must be smart. I could still produce bread for my kids and myself, but only perhaps once a week. I could still feed my starter, Olivia and drink in the sweet sour smell and watch her bloom over a few hours. I could still mix Olivia into a beautiful stretchy dough and let them work together under my guidance. The touch and smell of this dough kept my feet on the ground. Eventually, after much searching, I was able to find bread flour to order that did not come in 100 pound bags! I ordered my flower, but it still took three anxious weeks to come, or maybe a bit longer. What a wonderful day that was when that flour came!

Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of my sanity anchors, besides making my bread, is the Facebook group I’ve been inspired by- Sourdough with foodbod. I lurked in the shadows a bit and became so inspired by so many sourdough bakers from all over the world. Elaine Boddy and all her moderators are there to help and inspire! That is what a lockdown baking community should be- inspiration and how to continue baking in our new normal.”

Lesley Fuson, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Please read on in the comments to read Kristen’s fabulous story and then do please add your own…let’s build our own living history of how sourdough has helped us through lockdown and show the world how wonderful this sourdough world of our is…

Please note that your comment will not show immediately; it is not lost, check back in a little while and it will show up.

Spiced spinach sesame seed sourdough flatbreads…

My flatbreads served with a plate full of leftover roast vegetables, ajvar, zaatar and tahini

I do like a ‘chuck it all in a bowl and see what happens’ kind of creation, which is what these were…I’ve made many spinach flatbreads in the past, but this was the first time adding some starter. It adds an extra flavour and of course, all that sourdough goodness we love!

These are also packed with great healthy ingredients and are a great way to get kids eating spinach! You can use them as flatbreads or make bigger rounds and use them as a pizza base.

Equally great the next day, the flavours continued to develop

This recipe can serve as a basis for something you might fancy making, you can swap out the ingredients for things of your choice or just follow it as it is. I’ve included the spices I used, feel free to swap these for your favourites, an Indian inspired spice mix works well too.


200g starter (this can be discarded starter, unfed, or fed for the purpose)

250g baby spinach leaves

150g flour of your choice, I used buckwheat flour

50g toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons tahini or olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons tabil spice mix (toasted even amounts of coriander, cumin and carraway seeds, ground)

2 teaspoons pul biber chilli flakes

2 teaspoons paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

All in the bowl


In a blender whizz up the everything expect the sesame seeds, starter and flour. Run it until the spinach and garlic are finally chopped.

Scoop it all into a mixing bowl, stir in the seeds, then fold in the starter and flour.

Cover the bowl and leave the dough to settle and develop.

Now you can leave the dough for an hour, or several or overnight. The longer you leave it the more the flavour will develop, it may even prove and little and puff up.

When you want to cook your flatbreads, heat your oven to 180C fan/200C non fan.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and break off portions. Shape them into round then flatten them out to 1/2cm thick.

Place them onto a oven tray. Either bake immediately or cover and allow them to prove again for an hour before baking.

The uncooked dough is such a great colour and smells amazing

Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly puffed and darker in colour.

Eat warm or store for later, they’re even better after 2-3 days, and can easily be reheated in a toaster.


I hope you like them!

More top tips…

Some more top tips for you and answers to the questions I am most often asked…
Give your starter time, it may look like it’s doing nothing, but it’s building strength, stick with it
If your starter is thin with tiny bubbles, add extra flour to thicken it up, it needs the extra food
If your starter has a layer of murky liquid in the top, it’s not ruined, it’s just hungry. Feed it! And make sure you are not keeping it anywhere too warm, the heat will make it constantly thin and weak
Don’t keep your starter in the oven with the light on, it’s too hot, it will work too fast and always be too thin and weak
The flour you have made your starter from does not need to match the flour in your dough
Follow the process steps and allow your dough time to do its work
Don’t leave dough on the oven overnight with the light on, it will over prove and be spoiled
Check out all of the info on my site about flour, weather, scoring, storing, the FAQs, baking times takes, there’s lots of free info there for you
Check out the equipment list, and….
If you don’t have a banneton, line a similar sized bowl with a clean tea towel and sprinkle it with rice flour
If you don’t have rice flour, grind some uncooked rice, it’s the same thing
You can use any covered oven proof pan just make sure it’s big enough
Sourdough is a wonderfully slow process, let it happen and enjoy it, it will be worth it
Watch your dough and not the clock
Give your dough time to double overnight; depending on the temperature overnight this may take shorter or longer than my usual times stated in my master recipe
If your dough is soft and spreads, use 25g less water in your dough next time
If you dough spreads when you turn it out in the pan, but bakes up to a lovely loaf, don’t worry about the spreading, enjoy your loaf
Always my biggest and most important tip:
If it tastes good IT IS GOOD!
Don’t focus on looks and holes and scoring, they don’t make it taste any better, enjoy what you’ve created, it’s amazing x x

Bee pollen sourdough…

I was very lucky recently to be sent some bee pollen by one of my very kind Instagram followers. I’ve had bee pollen before, but not like this, this one is a vibrant yellow with lovely fat granules. Sourdough loves bee pollen, it loves the natural wild yeast and sugars that it brings to the party.

For this loaf I played with a new starter adding bee pollen to it from the beginning, and you’ll see from the photos in the grid below that it went a bit wild! It was very exciting to wake up to. Once I’d stirred it down and fed it again the next morning, it was still active and bubbly and ready to use within an hour.

This is what I used to make this loaf, however, you do NOT need to make a new starter yourself. If you would like to see how much starters like bee pollen, feed up your starter, split some out into a new bowl and feed it for a couple of days with your usual flour and water and a good amount of bee pollen before giving it a go. Or if you fancy making a new starter with some, then go for it! I didn’t measure out the bee pollen, I used a dessert sized spoon amount each time I added some.

Top left: the bee pollen;
top right and bottom left: my happy starter after an overnight bee pollen feed; bottom right: an hour after a feed of flour and water that morning

To make my loaf, I used my master recipe, exactly as it is (link on the left of your screen) with this bee pollen boosted starter. You can also add the bee pollen to your dough instead.

For this loaf I used my 28cm long oval banneton and baked in my 30cm long oval pan from a cold start for 55 minutes. It’s all in my recipe 👍🏻

And this was inside the cut loaf. You can see the yellow tint from the bee pollen. Although bee pollen is sweet it does not make your loaf sweet using this small amount, but it does make the sourness more mild, and really produces a great texture, really fabulously chewy! It was a lovely loaf to eat.

If you do try it, I hope you like it!

My hazelnut cacao chocolate chip sourdough muffins..

Introducing my hazelnut cacao choc chip sourdough muffins!

I recently whizzed up some hazelnut cacao butter by blending roasted peeled chopped hazelnuts with cacao powder, a squeeze of honey and a little rapeseed oil.

I only added a small amount of honey to take the edge off the bitter cacao powder as I don’t like overly sweet things, but it can easily be made sweeter for other tastes. You can also use cocoa powder instead of cacao.

I ended up with quite a lot of it so I thought I’d play with some. Consequently these muffins are packed with it!!

Healthy, protein packed, sourdough beauties!

This is what I mixed up:

50g active starter

300g hazelnut cacao butter

200g oat milk

200g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

I added a handful of chocolate chips to half of them.

I made half of them without the choc chips or added sugar, for me to test some, but you might prefer things sweeter than I do so feel free to add sugar or honey to the mixture.

I mixed the ingredients all together well but careful to not over mix it.

Spooned the mixture into 12 muffins liners.

Baked at 200C fan/220C non fan for around 18 mins until a sharp knife came out clean.

They came out with lovely crunchy tops and soft interiors. For me, they tasted better later and the next day once cooled and the flavours had developed. The sponge stayed soft and lovely even the day after that. I was definitely happy with these.

Look at that light fluffy sponge! So lovely!

Feel free to substitute the oat milk for milk of your choice, plain flour for white spelt flour or all purpose flour, and my hazelnut cacao butter with hazelnut cocoa butter or hazelnut for a really sweet hit! You could also increase the amount of starter for more of a sourdough flavour, and reduce the amount of flour and milk. Have a play!

Happy Baking!!!

My sourdough cheese soufflés….

This idea has been floating round my brain for a while now and this week I finally tested it out and this was the outcome….beautiful airy cheese soufflés, rich from the eggs and with the flavour of cheese, but with the added tang of sourdough. SOOOOOO a good! Tasty, light, textured, perfect morsels. For me, a total winner!

As this was pure experiment – let me clarify, I have never ever made any form of soufflé, sourdough or otherwise before this – I only made a small amount of batter so feel free to increase it. This made 4 small soufflés, in 8cm (internal) diameter pots.

The idea came from thinking about the light bubbly airy nature of sourdough starter mixed with the light airy nature of a soufflé. In my mind it made perfect sense! And luckily the result was fabulous, even if I say so myself! I immediately ate 3 just to be totally sure 😆😆😆😆

Small but perfectly formed and so very tasty!!!!!

It was so exciting to watch them cook as they grew very quickly, and very well! I was dancing round my kitchen in excitement.

I am so happy with the outcome, I hope you love them too if you try them. I know they could have risen more evenly, I know they’re not ‘perfect’ in the world of soufflés, but I don’t care! It worked and they taste so good, to me they’re perfectly beautiful sourdough cheese soufflé babies!

Here’s what I did…


100g bubbly active starter

100g whole/full fat milk

100g grated medium/mature cheddar (depending just how much you love cheese!)

2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites

Butter to grease the pots

Ground almonds, 4 tablespoons (use finely grated Parmesan or breadcrumbs for a different finish)


Preheat the oven to 180C/360F fan assisted/convection or 200C/390F non fan/non convection, and place an oven tray inside to preheat.

Grease your ramekins, or small ceramic pots, with butter, then sprinkle ground almonds/almond flour into each pot and tap it around to create a layer inside each pot, covering the base and up the sides.

In a medium bowl, make the batter by adding the starter, milk, egg yolks and cheese. Stir it all together well.

In another clean bowl, whisk the eggs whites until they just hold their peaks.

Gently scrape the whisked egg whites into the batter.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold the eggs whites into the batter, using a figure 8 action, or cutting and stirring round the bowl. Do this carefully to mix them in whilst protecting the air that you’ve whisked into the whites. Do not over mix. This is crucial.

Gently spoon the batter into the prepared bowls filling them evenly and to the top of the pots if possible.

‘Top hat’ each one by running a cutlery knife, or clean finger nail, around the edge of each pot, just the very tip of the knife, so that the mixture doesn’t stick. (I didn’t do this very well hence the uneven growths!)

Place the pots onto the preheated tray in the oven.

After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 160C/320F fan assisted/convection or 180C/360F non fan/non convection, and bake for another 15 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL FULLY BAKED. If you do they will collapse.

Serve immediately.

They may start to collapse quickly but it’s all part of the fun!

Voila! My new creation! Welcome to the world sourdough cheese soufflés!

I am sharing my soufflés with everyone at the weekly Fiesta Friday link party this week – join in the fun!

Sourdough Uzbek flatbreads…

I’ve been wanting to try making ‘Lepyoshka’ Uzbek flatbreads ever since I saw my friend Sally make them and, of course, I wanted to convert them to sourdough. So this week I did!

I purchased the stamp from this Etsy seller a few weeks ago especially; they’re so lovely, it would be easy to fill your cupboard with them!!

I was very happy with my first attempt, you can just about see the pattern created by the special stamp, but moreover, with the addition of yoghurt in the dough they tasted great. They were lovely immediately from the oven, still good a few hours later, and then again just as tasty the next day when heated up again in the toaster.

To make them I made a stiffer dough than usual by using a mix of wholemeal and white flour, plus the yoghurt in place of water. I used a 0% fat Greek yoghurt (just because that’s what I had available, I’d use full fat next time) so it added a real tang to the flavour, and an almost cheesy taste once baked.

To use the stamp and stop it from sticking to the dough I dunked it in water for each use, then firmly pressed it into the dough and pulled directly back up and out again.

For these I used up lots of young starter, from the starters I’ve been playing with in my kitchen recently, and less yoghurt, but you don’t need to. You could use less of your established starter and more yoghurt to create the same consistency in the dough.


300g young starter

100g thick Greek yoghurt

200g strong white bread flour

50g strong wholemeal flour

20g olive oil

1tsp salt


I used my usual master recipe process to create and build up the dough, then placed the bowl in the fridge overnight for it to develop, as well as to protect it from the warm night.

The next day I let the dough come back up to room temp, sprinkled the counter with water then turned the dough out onto the counter and cut it into equal(ish) portions.

I rolled these into balls, flattened them out with my fingers and pressed them into rounds.

I placed each round onto a tray lined with parchment paper and I then used a spoon to flatten out a circle in the middle into which I pressed the stamp.

I then placed them in a cold oven, turned it up to 220C fan and baked them for 17-18 minutes.

The result is a lovely soft edge with a crunchy thinner stamped middle.

I will definitely be making these again, and adding them to my courses 🙂

Leftovers loaves…

You know how it is, you open your baking cupboard and you’ve got various bags of flour, with various amounts left, but not enough for an entire dough…

So the only thing to do is to throw them all together and hope for the best?! That’s what I did this week. And these loaves were the outcome..

These include portions of strong white bread flour, malted multigrain flour, khorasan flour and a seeded flour mix, all thrown together in various quantities to make up my normal 500g amount of flour for my master recipe.

As you can imagine, I was happy with the outcome!

I love seeing how the activity in Star and then the dough after it’s overnight prove translates into the dough…it never ever gets boring!

Happy Baking!