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@sarahjaybee on Instagram

My lockdown food saviour: Sarah Breen's sourdough loaf

The ultimate comfort food.


Ahead of the release of the brand new April edition of FOOD&WINE (available this Sunday, April 4 free with the Business Post newspaper), Sarah Breen shares her ultimate recipe for sourdough bread.

If the past 12 months are to be remembered for anything, it will be the mountains of bread we as a nation consumed. First, anxious shoppers hoarded loaves of bread from the supermarkets. As a response, many people took matters into their own hands and began baking their own bread. Yeast then became impossible to find, leading to the booming sourdough trend. Social media soon became awash with freshly baked loaves and starter updates.

But for Sarah Breen, author and baking convert, baking sourdough bread was more than just getting involved in a trend. In our April edition of FOOD&WINE, which will be available this Sunday, April 4 free with the Business Post newspaper, Breen chats to Emma Blanchfield on how sourdough bread became her lockdown saviour. Be sure to pick up your copy of the magazine on Sunday, April 4 to read the full article (or click here to subscribe online) with Breen, Guy Sinnott, Peter Burke and Jules Mak of Hush Restaurant and Una Leonard of 2210 Patisserie.

In the meantime, however, enjoy this recipe courtesy of Sarah Breen for her ultimate sourdough bread recipe.

Sarah Breen's white sourdough boule

Makes one loaf

"Baking bread has kept me sane this year. I started experimenting with recipes and techniques and eventually cobbled together one that suits me and my kitchen. It’s just been so fulfilling and has really boosted my confidence."


  • 100g sourdough starter
  • 550g organic strong white flour
  • 50g spelt flour
  • 450ml water
  • 10g fine sea salt


  1. A day before you make your bread, take the starter out of your fridge, discard half of it off and feed the remainder with 100g strong flour and 100ml water. Leave at room temperature for it to become active.
  2. At 7am on the day you want to make the bread, mix the remaining stong flour and the rye flour together in a large bowl. Combine the starter with 325ml water, then add to the flour and combine well ensuring there are no dry pockets of flour. Cover the bowl and leave to rest.
  3. At 8am, add the salt and remaining 25ml of water to the dough, mix well, then cover and leave for another hour.
  4. At 9am, begin the first of four sets of folds. Folding sourdough is basically a French method of mixing the bread dough - you might have seen Paul Hollywood do this! What you need to do is gather the dough in your hand and aggressively, with strength, throw it onto a countertop, then fold the dough from the bottom. By repeating this, the dough will turn from sticky to smooth and uniform. Repeat this every 30-45 minutes, covering after each fold. 
  5. At 11am, leave the dough on the counter to bulk ferment until 10pm. 
  6. At 10pm, lightly shape the dough into a round, then leave for half an hour. 
  7. At 10.30pm, place the dough into a well-floured banneton and cover. If you don't have a banneton, line a colander with a clean tea towel, flour well, and put in the dough. 
  8. At 10.45pm, place the banneton in the fridge and leave overnight to prove. 
  9. The next morning, preheat your oven to 250C. Place a Dutch oven or casserole dish into the oven to preheat too. 
  10. Crumple up a sheet of baking paper, then place on a countertop. Turn the dough out onto the baking paper and score with a sharp knife - you can do one cut like classic sourdough or create a design, whichever you like. 
  11. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and place the dough inside, gently lifting it with the corners of the baking paper. 
  12. Put the lid on the Dutch oven, return to the oven and turn the temperature down to 230C. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for a further 18-20 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool for 1 tortuous hour before tucking in.

For more delicious loaves like this one, be sure to follow Sarah on Instagram: @sarahjaybee

Be sure to pick up your copy of FOOD&WINE Magazine in stores this Sunday free
with the Business Post newspaper or ​subscribe at businesspost.ie/select-plan for
digital access to read FOOD&WINE Magazine online, as well as the Business Post, Irish Tatler and more - only €1 for the first month.

READ MORE: Guy Sinnott's Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino