From start(er) to finish

May 12, 2020

Join the sourdough trend and become an #RRChomechef baking boss!

With our new reality of working and learning at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are tapping into the RRC spirit of innovation to bring you culinary and hospitality inspiration with our Hospitality at Home video series.

Are you even a home chef right now if you haven’t jumped on the sourdough train? By popular demand, RRC Professional Baking instructor Richard Warren walks us through how to make sourdough from start(er) to finish. This days-long process will pay off – trust us!


by Richard Warren, Professional Baking 


Sourdough Starter (a.k.a. leaven or levain)

1 small, clear jar with a lid, or 1 litre deli cup
60 g cool water
60 g bread flour


  1. Mix the flour and water together until there are no dry bits of flour. Place in a small jar, cover, and leave on your counter in a cool place (20-22°C) for 3 days. You are looking for small bubbles to appear on the side and top of the mixture – these bubbles are the wild yeasts coming alive (fermentation!). It is important to use a clear container and one that isn’t too big – the larger the container, the greater the surface area, which can lead to the forming of mold. *If this happens, you’ll need to start again with fresh water and flour.
  2. After 3 days, pour off half the mixture and add 60 g water and 60 g of flour. Stir until there are no dry bits of flour. Repeat this process for 7-10 days. What you are looking for is an increase in the wild yeast activity and an intensification of smell – it should smell sour, vinegary, or like alcohol.
  3. The day before you want to make bread, repeat Step 2: pour off half the mixture and add 60 g water and 60 g bread flour. You should have approximately 180 g of starter.

You’ll need 100 g of starter to make your first sourdough loaf. Don’t forget to always keep a little bit of starter leftover to keep feeding for the next time you want to make bread!

Sourdough Bread

450 g bread flour
50 g whole wheat flour
350 g water + 50 g water (26-30°C)
100 g sourdough starter
10 g salt

Yield: 1 loaf = approximately 960 g


  1. Mix the two flours and set aside.
  2. Add 350 g water and starter to a bowl; stir the starter into the water to disperse.
  3. Add the flours on top, stir together with a rubber spatula until the most of the flour has been hydrated (no dry lumps), then move to mixing with your hand by pulling from the bottom of the bowl and folding over the mixture. Do this until there are no dry lumps left. You will have a very shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes: this step is called autolyze. You can leave the dough resting for up to 1 hour.
  4. Add the 10 g of salt to the remaining 50 g of water. Stir together and pour over the dough. Again, pull the from the bottom and squeeze the dough through your fingers and even push your fist through the dough. The dough will go through a big transformation as the salt tightens up the dough, but continue to work the dough in the bowl until the salt and water have been absorbed.
  5. Cover the dough and leave for 30 minutes. The dough will be smooth, but will not have a lot of strength to it. This will be developed through stretching and folding, and the goodness of time.
  6. After 30 minutes have passed, uncover the dough. Pick up a small section between your fingers and gently pull the dough up, and then fold into the center of the dough. Repeat this 6-8 times until the dough tightens up and resists being pulled. Cover for 30 minutes and repeat this process one more time.
  7. After the two “stretch-and-folds” in the bowl, the dough will have enough strength to be taken to the counter. Turn the dough upside down on the table (tip: you may want to dust a little flour on the counter first), then gently pat the dough, stretch the dough from east-to-west and fold each side to the middle. Turn the dough 90° and repeat the east-to-west stretch. Now, fold the dough over, away from yourself, and then pull it towards you to tighten the dough. Do this a couple of times, and then place it back in the bowl right side up. Cover for 30 minutes and repeat this process one more time.
  8. Leave the dough covered for 1 hour to rise. You will not see a lot of movement, but it will grow approximately 25-30 per cent in size.
  9. After the one hour rise, lightly dust the counter with flour and remove the dough from the bowl upside down (“seam side up”, we also say). Lightly pat the dough to release some gas. Once again, you are going to repeat the stretch-and-fold movement here. Once finished, cover and leave on your counter for another 20-30 minutes.
  10. After this rest period, turn the dough upside down on the counter again, Stretch from east-to-west and fold these sides into the middle (they will overlap one another). Turn 90° and stretch from east-to-west and then fold over again. Turn the dough over so it is right side up (seam side down). Roll the dough around the counter to tuck the dough up into itself (similar idea to folding a pair socks together). Now place the dough upside down into a bowl lined with a tea towel that has been dusted with flour.

For the next steps, you have two options:

Option A) Gently cover the dough with the extra the tea towel and leave to rise for 2-3 hours.  Proceed to step 11.

Option B) Gently cover the dough with the extra tea towel and put the dough in the fridge over night to be baked the next day.  Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for 1 hour on the counter. Proceed to step 11.

  1. 30 minutes before you are want to bake the sourdough, preheat your oven to 475° with a Dutch oven inside.
  2. Remove your Dutch oven from the oven and put on a heat-safe surface – the Dutch oven will be super hot, so be careful! Gently turn the dough right side up onto your counter. Score the dough 3-4 times in triangular or square pattern with a razor blade or a clean box cutter. You want to use something sharp for nice clean cuts, which will allow the bread to achieve great volume through what we call the oven spring.
  3. Carefully place the dough in the Dutch oven, replace the lid, and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven. You will see that the dough will have greatly increased in volume (thanks to our oven spring!). Turn the oven down to 425° and continue to bake for another 15-18 minutes.  If after 18 minutes the bread still looks a little pale close to where you scored the bread, use your best judgment to decide how much more time you may need. You are looking for a nice brown caramelized crust. Remember: colour is flavour!
  5. Once you’ve achieved the correct crust remove the bread from your oven and place on a cooling rack. Let the bread cool down for 2-3 hours before you cut into it……you must resist!
  6. Once bread has cooled, slice and enjoy!

You can find the full video of the method up on our Instagram. Follow along and post your own recipes! Tag us @redrivercollege and use the hashtag #RRChomechef.