The Sourdough Day
Discover all you need to know to bake sensational sourdough - from creating your starter, understanding baker's percentages to kneading, shaping, and of course baking.
Over a packed, hands-on day our expert chef and baker Andy Tyrell will teach you how to make a range of breads covering everything from holey delicious country loaves, seedy ryes, pizza dough and a fancy fougasse.
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 bacteria and yeasts work in harmony 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. Starting from the choice of flour, creating and maintaining your starter in a simple way, how to use bakers percentages to calculate your doughs ingredients, kneading methods, high hydration doughs, perfect shaping, judging when your loaf is ready for the oven and finally baking. It’s a long journey and will be packed with all the information to successfully start baking or improve your homemade sourdough.
10:00 - 17:00
Make yourself at home
You will meet your host and settle in with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.
To kick things off you'll learn the difference between flours, why we use organic and how they can affect the flavour, structure and volume of your sourdough.
Making your own starter
We’ll show how to start your own journey and make your own sourdough culture.
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
We’ll get our hands dirty and look at modern folding techniques and more traditional kneading that’ll help develop your dough in the right way. During the day you'll get the chance to make a variety of loaves including a River Cottage country loaf, hybrid baguettes, seedy rye, woodfired pizza and a fougasse.
We’ll look at the amazing science behind sourdough and why this bread is so unique.
You’ll have plenty of practice getting our shaping just right with the help from our tutors.
It can be hard knowing when to get your loaf into the oven, we’ll show how to judge it perfectly.
We’ll look at different methods of baking in domestic ovens to get a top class result.
We’ll look at how to easily use up ‘excess’ starter in different delicious recipes.
Take a break in the middle of the day and tuck in to a delicious, woodfired sourdough pizza topped with local, seasonal ingredients.
There will be time to chat to your fellow cookery course scholars and the River Cottage team, before heading back up the hill at 5pm, loaves and starter in hand.
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.
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.
We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying 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 courses that are gluten free friendly. Please get in touch if you have any questions or need further details.
With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.
- Sustainable Restaurant Association
- Food and Travel Magazine 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2018