White Semi-Sourdough Loaf

Crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside; this is a great loaf. It’s white, it’s tasty and it’s perfect for sandwiches, toast or just eating with butter. What’s more, it keeps well even though it has no chemicals or “longevity additives”. (Perish the thought – pun intended)

This isn’t a true sourdough recipe; it uses yeast. However, if possible use a sourdough starter, but if that’s not possible you could manage with a simple pre-mix of equal amounts of flour and water. If that’s the case then mix it the day before.

I’m still modifying the recipe, but felt it OK to publish this now, because every time I’ve made it, the bread has been great.

Makes:            Quite a big loaf (15 – 16 large slices)

Time:              Hands on time about 40 minutes, baking about 50 minutes plus several hours waiting, so it’s best to have other exciting things to do.

Equipment:     A Dutch oven (I use a cast iron casserole dish but a Pyrex dish would work OK. Whatever you use must have a lid.)  

You can make this by hand, but it will be so much easier with a stand mixer + dough hook.


  • 200 – 250ml starter mixture (or use a mixture of 100ml water, 100g strong flour)
  • 2g – 3g active dried yeast + 30ml warm water + 2 tsp sugar (A little more if you don’t use a sourdough starter)
  • Strong white flour (enough to bring total up to 500g, so about 375 – 400g)
  • 60g butter
  • 200ml – 250ml water
  • A little olive oil for brushing the top


1. Pour out 200ml – 250ml starter mixture into a plastic box. Cover & leave until it reaches room temperature. (The assumption here is that the starter mixture has come out of the fridge.)

2. Mix 2g – 3g active dried yeast with about 30ml warm water and 2 tsp sugar. Leave for 5 – 10 minutes then stir into the starter mixture. Leave for an hour or two. (If you intend leaving it for a full two hours, I recommend stirring in a tbsp of the flour, to keep the yeast happy!)

3. Weigh out enough white bread flour to bring the total flour weight up to 500g and mix with 10g salt. (This assumes the starter mix was half & half. e.g. 100g water & 100g flour.) 

4. Melt 60g butter.

5. Pour the starter mixture, flour, butter and water into a stand mixer bowl & stir together. Use the dough hook for about 3 minutes on slow to fully mix. Once mixed, with no dry flour showing, leave for 20 mins to allow the liquid to fully incorporate.

6. Use the dough hook to knead the dough. (Probably about 20 – 25 minutes.)  Check and scrape down the sides regularly, adding a little more water if necessary. Tip the kneaded dough into an oiled bowl, cover and leave until well risen (2 – 3 hours).

7. Tip out the risen dough and gently knock back. Knead and fold for 3 – 5 minutes. Line a medium sized bowl with baking parchment. Add flour then tip or place the dough inside. Place inside a clean white bin liner and create an air-pocket by tucking the loose ends underneath. Leave again for the second rise. After 30 – 40 minutes turn the oven on (240C/ fan 220C ) and put Dutch Oven or Pyrex dish inside to heat up.

8. Lift out the risen dough using the parchment and place into the Dutch Oven. If the dough is firm enough, cut slashes, but it’s more likely to be quite runny. Don’t worry, it’ll still work.  Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on the Dutch Oven.

8. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and brush olive oil over the top of the loaf. Bake for a further 20 minutes with no lid on the Dutch oven.

9. Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven. (If necessary, give it another 5 – 10 minutes upside-down on a rack in the oven to brown all over.)