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Sourdough Bread Tips for Bed and Breakfast Owners

recipe Apr 11, 2024

I've been making sourdough bread on and off for years. I'd get all enthusiastic about it for a while, then get too busy with the B&B and kill another starter. 

And to be honest, for B&B breakfast bread, I'd find it much easier just to use my bread machine a couple of times a day to make 6 loaves - 3 white, 3 granary - for guests to toast. I used to get through an awful lot of bread at the B&B at both breakfast time and as platters, so this was really the most time effective way of doing it. You can find my favourite method and recipe for doing that here >> How to enjoy freshly baked bread every morning ( without the faff )

However my love for making sourdough has recently been rekindled. Rob and I are quite picky about the bread we'll eat as, if we get it wrong, we can mess up our digestion - the joys of getting older. So we'd always buy our sourdough from a local bakers. However, it is a 16 mile round drive and they often run out, so I decided to give it another go.

I've found a recipe that involves very little hands on time. You just need to be organised in advance as it is a 24 hour process.

I did start to write up my own recipe, but then I thought that there are so many recipes out there already, that instead I'd just share my favourites with you, and pull together some other hints and tips about sourdough baking that I've picked up over the years..

In this blog post I've pulled together the following

  • Making Your Sourdough Starter & Tips
  • My Favorite (No Knead) Recipe for Sourdough Bread
  • Timetable to Have Freshly Baked Bread on the Breakfast Table
  • Sourdough Equipment
  • Storing Your Sourdough Bread
  • Sourdough Discard Recipes
  • Other Favorite Sourdough Recipes

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Making Your Sourdough Starter & Tips

If you don't want to make your own sourdough starter, you can ask a sourdough baking friend or a local baker for some. You can also buy it online >> Buy Sourdough Starter at Amazon

But it can be easy to make - I used this recipe >> BBC Good Food Starter Recipe 

My latest sourdough starter took twice as long as the recipe told me it would. And research would suggest that this is because our kitchen is too cold right now ( one of the disadvantages of replacing our AGA with a conventional oven ). Apparently it is harder to get a sourdough starter established in the winter.

You could put the starter into a warm airing cupboard or I put mine in the oven, with the oven off but the oven light turned on for a few hours each day.

I also started feeding it twice a day and this eventually - on Day 10 - resulted in a bubbly sourdough starter that had at least doubled in size.

I usually only make bread at the weekends, so I store my starter in the fridge. I get it out late Thursday afternoon, leave for a couple of hours to get to room temperature and then feed it before I go to bed. Next morning I use it to make the dough for a bread that is ready to eat on Saturday morning.

If I'm making a recipe that requires an active, fed starter, I'll feed it again in the morning, then start making the dough once it has doubled in size. You can also test if it's ready by taking a teaspoon of starter and putting it in a cup of water. It will float when ready to use.

My Favourite ( for now ) No-Knead Sourdough Recipe

This is my current go to sourdough recipe from the King Arthur Baking Company >> Pain de Campagne

It lasts well over several days, and also freezes beautifully. We slice leftover bread and put it in the freezer, just taking a slice out when we need it.

It is also comes with a video if you want to get a feel for the folding process >> The Best Everyday Sourdough (using unfed starter) is Pain De Campagne

When I make it, I halve the ingredients and make just one loaf, using the following quantities:

  • 500g Wessex Mill Six Seed Bread Flour
  • 30g Sourdough Starter
  • 10g Fine Sea Salt
  • 400g tepid water

Sourdough Timetable

The recipe above is very flexible and can use sourdough starter straight from the fridge, provided it's been fed within a week. I prefer to get mine out of fridge and feed the night before and then use the starter the next morning. Here's a suggested schedule for getting freshly baked bread on the table for guests by 8.30am on Saturday!


That the timings don't have to be precise. I've started making the bread at 10AM and its still works OK

There isn't much hands on time at all. Each step can be done in under a minute and can be fitted into with other tasks as your prepare breakfast.

Obviously if you're baking daily, you can use leave your starter out of the fridge. In this case I'd do a once daily feeding in the evening.

The recipe suggests folding 4 times, but I go up to 8

I like to add in an extra set of stretch and folds 2 or 3 hours after the first one. This isn't essential, but I find I get a better loaf with the flour I use. If you do an extra set, make sure you do the last fold at least 2 hours before you shape the bread.


I've created this is as a Google Sheet, so if you'd like to print it off or update yourself you can do so by clicking here

Sourdough Equipment

You can make very good sourdough with very simple equipment, but some items do make life a bit easier if you're going to be making it regularly.

Storing your Sourdough Starter 

I used a 1L Kilner jar to store my sourdough starter. I take off the rubber ring and don't close the clip completely to give it a bit of room to breathe >> Round 1L Kilner Jar

For my ideas on how to use Kilner / Mason jars check out my post >> 10 Ways to use kilner jars at your B&B

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - to mark the level of the starter and gauge how much its grown,  I use a piece of masking tape.

Weighing Your Ingredients

Bread making is one of those times when you can't just be throwing ingredients in and hoping of the best. It needs some precise weighing using something like these scales, which are my kitchen favourites >> Salter Electronic Kitchen Scale

Mixing Your Dough

I've been using my big glass mixing bowl to mix my dough and to do the bulk fermentation (the first rise). But it's difficult with a curved bowl to see when the dough has doubled, so I invested in a this storage container that has straight sides and comes with a lid ( which you buy separately ) >> Square Storage Container

Proofing Your Bread

Sourdough bread normally needs to be proofed in a container to support it. You can use a glass bowl lined with a well floured tea towel. but I like the pretty patterns created with a banneton proofing basket.

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - As a B&B owner you'll probably have a few shower caps lying around. These are perfect for covering the banneton and the bowl whilst proofing.

Baking Your Bread

Whilst it's not essential, I always bake my bread in my cast iron dutch oven. This is a similar one >> Cast Iron Dutch Oven

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - I preheat my dutch oven for 45 minutes. Then when I'm ready to bread, I transfer the raised dough from the banneton onto a large square of scrunched up, then flattened out parchment paper, score the bread, then transfer the paper with the dough to the dutch oven. Adding a few ice cubes underneath the parchment paper.

Storing Your Sourdough

If I'm using anything that needs fresh bread, such as sandwiches or bread to be served with soup, I'm quite fussy about it being freshly baked that day. But I've found with this sourdough, it is quite happy togo a couple of days and still up to the job!

I store mine under my glass cake domes, but any air tight container will do.

They also freeze beautifully.

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - Slice bread before you freeze it, then you can just take slices out as you need it to defrost or toast from frozen.

Sourdough Discard Recipes

Whenever you feed your starter - I feed mine twice a day if it's out in the kitchen, or once a week if it's the fridge - you have to throw away some of the starter. 

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - I feed mine as follows: 100g starter, 100g white organic bread flour, 100g tepid water

If you don't like throwing so much away you can use it to make other recipes.

This crumpet recipe is very good and is just sourdough starter, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and water!

If you, or your guests, love pancakes - these are great >> Sourdough Pancakes

 For more sourdough discard recipes, I recommend The Clever Carrot's website >> Sourdough Discard Recipes

Other Sourdough Recipes

Sourdough starter isn't just good for making bread.

Anything that you would make with yeast can be made using sourdough starter.

I tried these hot cross buns from BBC Good Food and they were very good >> Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

And back at the Clever Carrot, I made these sourdough hot cross buns last week and they were amazing >> Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

👩‍💻 Karen's Tip - I like to proof baked goods like these buns overnight in the fridge for a better flavour and freshly baked buns in the morning. But I found my fridge is quite cold and they haven't risen quite enough by the morning. So if you find this, make sure you take them out of the fridge and give them a few hours somewhere warm to rise before baking.








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