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Two-day Sourdough

Over a packed, hands-on two days you’ll make a range of breads covering everything from sourdough pizza to holey delicious loaves and loads in between!

Sourdough is the most traditional way to make bread, harnessing the power of wild yeasts to raise our loaves. Nowadays we understand so much more about how these yeasts and bacteria work to make sourdough so much more delicious, flavoursome and digestible.

We make sourdough every week at River Cottage and we have a love for the wonders of sourdough culture. We’ll guide you through the journey of making sourdough, looking at choice of flour, creating and maintaining your starter in a simple way and how to use baker's percentages to calculate your dough's ingredients. You'll learn kneading methods, work with high hydration doughs, perfect shaping, judging when your loaf is ready for the oven and then finally baking! It’s a long journey and will be packed with all the information to successfully start baking or improve your homemade sourdough.

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be at met the top of the hill and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer.

  • Welcome

    You’ll meet your hosts and start each day with tea or coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Flour

    To kick things off you'll learn the difference between flours, how they can affect the flavour, structure and volume of your sourdough and why we use organic.

  • Making your own starter

    We’ll show you how to start your own sourdough journey and make your own sourdough culture.

  • Starter health

    Next we’ll look at simple methods to help keep your starter happy and active for many years to come.

  • Baker's percentages and dough calculations

    Crucial in a bakery and very helpful at home, we’ll show you how to use these calculations to adapt recipes at home.

  • Mixing the doughs and kneading

    Now's the chance to get our hands dirty and look at modern folding techniques and more traditional kneading that’ll help develop your dough in the right way. Over the two days you'll get the chance to make a variety of loaves including 'no knead' loaves with great crusts and open structures, baguettes using pre-ferment, rye sourdough loaves, rye crackers using the rye culture and others too.

  • Fermentation

    We’ll look at the amazing science behind sourdough and why this bread is so unique.

  • Shaping

    You’ll have plenty of practice getting your shaping just right with the help from our tutors.

  • Proving

    It can be hard knowing when to get your loaf into the oven, we’ll show how to judge it perfectly.

  • Baking

    We’ll look at different methods of baking in domestic ovens to get a top class result.

  • Waste products

    We’ll look at how to easily use up ‘excess’ starter in different delicious recipes.

  • Lunch

    Food is always the focus at River Cottage, and each day you’ll tuck into a meal of delicious local, seasonal fare with lots of tasters along the way too! Day one will be a later lunch, and you’ll have chance to get to know your fellow bakers. Day two you’ll cook your own lunchtime sourdough pizza in the farmhouse bread oven.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your fellow cookery course scholars and the River Cottage team, before jumping on the tractor to take you back up the hill.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

Join us for the River Cottage Food Fair 25 - 26 May

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Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

If you need local accommodation we have a full list available.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

Sorry, we’re afraid this course is not suitable for those with coeliac disease or wheat intolerances. However we do run Gluten Free Cookery courses.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018