How to make sourdough – Nigel Slater shares everything you need to know

Want to learn how to make sourdough? Or how to perfect your current method? Nigel Slater has all the tips and tricks for success

how to make sourdough
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Want to know how to make sourdough? Or wondering where you've gone wrong (flashback to very doughy, very un-Instagrammable loaves) so far? You'll be pleased to hear that we're all in the same boat. And what's even more comforting, is to learn that the chef legend that is Nigel Slater has also had his own experiences with exploding sourdough culture – before he mastered the art. And it really is an art... 

Before you can even think about ditching your supermarket sourdough in favour of something homemade, or transitioning from pre-made pizza bases to something made of sourdough, you'll need to learn how to make a sourdough culture. Check out our recipe and get set for life as a sourdough parent – we'll see you back here when you've nurtured your dough baby to full growth....

If you're a seasoned pro when it comes to sourdough starter culture, you may be ready to get baking. In which case, we'd really recommend giving Nigel Slater's recipe a go... Keep scrolling for expert tips.

  • Find more recipe ideas and inspiration over on our food hub.

How to make sourdough like Nigel Slater

So, how does Nigel Slater make sourdough? Well, as with all good recipes, he actually learnt his from another: 'following the words of legendary baker Dan Lepard,' to achieve a San Francisco style sourdough. He calls the loaf 'heavenly bread' and we're inclined to believe him. Here's what to do.


  • 250g sourdough culture – Nigel covers how to make this in his recipe too if you're interested
  • 350g water, warmed to 20ºC
  • 500g white bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt


1. Nigel Slater begins by combining his sourdough starter with the water, flour and salt. mixing to achieve a dough-like consistency. He then covers with a clean tea towel and sets aside for 15 minutes.

2. Once the time is up, Nigel Slater advises turning out the dough onto a surface dusted with flour and kneading for three or four minutes. It should the be returned to the bowl and left for a further 30 minutes. Repeat the process twice.

3. You'll need to knead your dough for another three to four minutes, taking not of whether it is light and slightly spring, before returning to a bowl dusted with flour, covering with a clean tea towel and leaving for a further two hours.

4. Once the time is up, you're ready to cook (finally). Preheat the oven to 250ºC/gas mark 9 and place your dough onto a baking tray. Spray with a little water and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

5. Turn the heat down to 220ºC/gas mark 7 and cook for a further 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread has a crisp crusty and sounds hollow when tapped.

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