Rustic Sourdough Bread Recipe

Rustic Sourdough Bread Recipe

A good loaf of sourdough is essential for any baker to master, but it can also be quite a tricky one to get right. Getting the perfect rise is all about temperature – from the room temperature and ingredients to the dough and the finished bake. We invited Colm Tohill, a baker with 25 years’ experience crafting perfect loaves, to our Thermapen test kitchen to show us his favourite sourdough bread recipe.

To help speed up the proving process, Colm added instant yeast to this recipe alongside sourdough starter. This means that the loaf still has the delicious flavour and texture of traditional sourdough but can be made quickly – perfect for everyday baking.


Bake in the oven until the bread reaches an internal temperature of around 98-99°C

Yeast: 50-60°C

Dough: 36°C

Bread:  98-99°C

  • Preheat the oven to 250°C fan.
  • Combine all of the dry ingredients and take the temperature of the mixture. Subtract this number from 72. The resulting number is the temperature you need your water to be. This is usually between 50-60°C as it needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast.
  • Place the dry ingredients into a mixer. Add the starter and water (you can start with 500ml of water and gradually add more if necessary as it mixes).
  • Mix on a slow speed for 3-4 minutes, then 8 minutes on a medium speed. Take a temperature reading of the dough. The ideal temperature is 36°C. To check if your dough has been kneaded enough, you can use the window pane test. Tear off a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers into a thin, translucent window. If the dough stretches without breaking it’s ready to prove.
  • Take the dough out and place in an oiled tub (use a container with sides because it will grow). Add some flour on top, cover with a cloth and leave to prove for 1 hour.
Fold the dough
  • Fold the dough from east to west a few times before tipping onto a floured cloth. Cover the dough for another 45 minutes, or until doubled in size, and then gently flip onto a floured surface. Divide as necessary and transfer each loaf onto a baking tray lined with paper and sprinkled with a little flour.
Bake and enjoy
  • Bake in the oven until the bread reaches an internal temperature of around 98-99°C. This should take about 45 minutes.
"My Thermapen is used every day in the bakery; it's so easy to use and very reliable. Taking accurate temperature measurements is essential for both fermentation purposes and finished temperature readings. It's an essential tool for any baker."
Colm Tohill
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