Norwich Sourdough

Norwich Sourdough

Norwich Sourdough

I’m so giddy I can barely type.

It’s been a little over a year and a half since I started baking [edible] bread, and here we are at last, a naturally leavened loaf! I decided to stick with a basic sourdough recipe to start and halved it, but next time I’m going to make the full batch for sure.


Norwich Sourdough

From Wild Yeast‘s Norwich Sourdough

Yield: 2 kg (four or five small, or two large, loaves)
I halved the recipe and made one large, round loaf with some dough left over for pizza.


    Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
    First fermentation: 2.5 hours
    Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
    Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
    Bake: 35 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F


    900 g (450 g) white flour (I used King Arthur Flour unbleached all-purpose flour)
    120 g (60 g) whole rye flour (I used Hodgson Mills stone ground rye flour)
    600 g (300 g) water at about 74F
    360 g (180g) ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter*
    23 g salt

    *Mine is actually a 100% hydration sourdough starter with 1/3 rye and 2/3 all-purpose, instead of an only white-flour starter. Don’t ask.


(These instructions are taken from Susan’s post, but know that I made this using only a mixing bowl, a spatula and my hands, so it can be done!)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute.
  2. Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
  5. Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 400g – 500g pieces. I usually make four 400g loaves and refrigerate the rest to use for pizza dough later. [I made one large boule (~700 g) and saved some dough (~300 g) for pizza another day.] Preshape the dough pieces into light balls.
  7. Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Shape into batards and place seam-side-up in a floured couche or linen-lined bannetons. [I shaped mine into a boule and let it rise in a makeshift banneton dusted with wheat bran.]
  9. Slip the couche or bannetons into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. [I proofed it at room temperature for 2.5 hours.] Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  11. Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment. Slash each one with two overlapping cuts that are almost parallel to the long axis of the batard.
  12. Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. For 400g loaves, bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry. Larger loaves will need to be baked longer. [Since my loaf was larger, I baked it for closer to 14 minutes with steam, and another 20-22 minutes without steam. I also used the Magic Bowl method instead of baking on a baking stone.]
  13. Cool on a wire rack. Try not to cut until the loaves are completely cool.
For the blister-inclined ;)

For the blister-inclined 😉

I’ll have to post a shot of the crumb later, after I bring it to the lab to share tomorrow. This is taking all my will power not to slice it and try now.

Norwich Sourdough crumb

Norwich Sourdough crumb

This loaf had a nice tang to it in addition to a very wheaty aroma and flavour. I can’t wait to bake another loaf with my starter!

* * *

I’m sending this loaf to Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, sharing her version of Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough and her fabulous post on raising a starter, and Bill for his excellent post on starter basics via The Fresh Loaf.


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16 Responses to “Norwich Sourdough”

  1. paolo Says:

    Hey Jackie….that looks just great! congratulation…….let us know about the flavor…happy week and happy baking. Paolo

  2. Jie Jie Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    It reminds me the coconut buns, pls let us know if it is same yummy too!!


  3. toxobread Says:

    Paolo: it tasted great! Nice tang from the sourdough and flavour from the wheat. 😀

    Jie Jie: it was very yummy! hehe

  4. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    Woo hoo, nicely done Jacqueline! I love the addition of the bran.

  5. elra Says:

    Fabulous bread. This is my favorite bread to make as well (as you already knew that). Your crumb is amazing, I never really achieve a beautiful crumb like this. Good job as always!

  6. foolishpoolish Says:

    Great looking loaf with excellent crumb! Good job!

  7. MC Says:

    Beautiful! Both crust and crumbs make me want to take a bite right off my screen…

  8. toxobread Says:

    Elra: thank you for your kind compliments. You bake all sorts of delicious goods too!

    FP: thank you! I’ve had my heart set on making your pizza for a while – will give it a go tonight!

    MC: thank you so much! I didn’t expect such an even, open crumb and am quite pleased. ^_^

  9. BBD#21 – Pizza! « Toxo Bread Says:

    […] Toxo Bread What Jackie Eats « Norwich Sourdough […]

  10. Jude Says:

    Congrats! The aeration looks perfect. I remember my first sourdough turning out like a frisbee.

    • toxobread Says:

      Thanks, Jude! I was surprised by the crumb – as awesome as Susan’s recipe was, I was thinking I would end up with a brick. Or doorstop. Awfully glad that didn’t happen 😛

  11. van Says:

    Hi Toxobread 🙂

    I was digging into your blog through over night for some bread I want to bake for this weekends 🙂

    As usual, your photos are stunning and your baking talent is amazing! So inspired me! I am sure that they inspired anyone who has ever stopped at your place!

    Happy baking!

    • toxobread Says:

      Van! Long time no chat. Thanks as always for your kind compliments. I hope you will have lots of fun baking this weekend – don’t forget to share with us what you end up making!

  12. Agnieszka Says:

    Hi Jackie, is it really your first naturally leavened bred? Oh my gosh, you’re an excellent baker! It looks amazing, especially nicely aerated crumb. Congratulations!

    P.S. As far as I recall it my first sourdough was rather like a brick.

  13. toxobread Says:

    Agnieszka: hehe, thanks! I was surprised by the crumb too (not all of my breads come out looking like that though :P).

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