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Celebrating Real Bread Week with Homemade Sourdough

by Saara

Yesterday kicked off international #realbreadweek and my levain was bubbly right on time. I baked homemade sourdough with new-found flour. As you may have noticed, all things bread play a big role in my kitchen.

I love baking bread. The stages of choosing the flour, working the dough with my hands, and the smell of fresh bread in our home are equally satisfying moments for me as a baker.

Whilst sharing all this online, I’m also an advocate for healthy bread which comes down to choosing quality flour. I’m interested in my local milling scene and I choose organic whenever possible. It was a joy to find about the annual #realbreadweek campaign which has been running already since 2010.

This week is dedicated to additive-free real bread and people who bake it – you and me, home bakers and professionals.

But what is REAL bread? 

Real bread has nothing to hide – this is what the campaign is essentially about. Real bread is based on flour, water, yeast, and salt. Simply put, it is additive-free and finds a detour to avoid e.g. ascorbic acid in flour. Real bread is not only sourdough but simple bread generally from pure ingredients.

“…additive-free crusty baps, sourdough, bagels, bialys, injera, khobez, cottage loaves, baguettes, chleb, naan, chapattis, roti, hard dough, stottie cakes, lavash, ruisleipä, ciabatta, bara brith, Staffordshire oatcakes, bannocks, tortillas, paratha, porotta, pitta…”

I’m a fan of this list the Real Bread Campaign has gathered together. I’m on a cultural cruise with this food blog and there’s so much to explore for this home baker.

Extra crusty points for the campaign makers for mentioning ruisleipä! You can find my staple 1940s recipe for making 100 percent rye sourdough here. I could talk about rye forever but let’s now keep focus and continue with today’s recipe.

Joy of finding & testing new bread flour

This festive homemade sourdough is based on one of my new-found bag of wholegrain wheat in the supermarket. A whimsical buying decision in a mainstream store because I really set my eyes on their packaging design.

It’s a local brand based on our countryside & this was my third time baking with this whole grain. It’s rich in fiber and gives the bread a beautiful amber & yellowish tint.

You can see the flour texture in the photo below. In the grinding, all the parts of the grain have been utilized. The normal wheat flour with which I combined it was organic wheat flour from another brand. Baking this bread in dutch oven results in thin crust and the wholegrain gave a soft crumb.

Notes for baking

Few words worth mentioning before baking with this recipe.

This is 78% hydration dough using easy folding rhythm. The recipe totals one big loaf or two smaller ones. I went for the latter because I’m currently training different scoring patterns. You are free to adjust the size of your loaf with baker’s percentage. The Sourdough School has built a handy calculator for this for our convenience.

Now another thing to consider especially now during WINTER is the temperature of your kitchen. I baked these loaves in our country home where the temperatures fluctuate between 16°C and 22°C depending on how often we heat our cast iron stove during the day. Therefore I used a bit more levain in order to ensure a good rise during the overnight bulk schedule. Use less levain if you have a warmer space. Or use the given amount but bake with a shorter timeframe. Depending on the strength of your starter, build the levain a day or two in advance.

Homemade Wheat Sourdough

Real Bread Week for Home Bakers
Print recipe
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 170g levain (I currently use 100% hydration 50-50 fed starter)
  • 340g water
  • 340g strong wheat flour
  • 120g wholegrain wheat flour
  • 11g sea salt


Mix 11g sea salt with 50g water and set aside. In a large bowl, mix 170g levain with the rest of the water (290g) until incorporated. Add all the flour in mixing with your hand. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Add salt-water mixture and carefully distribute it within the dough. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Give the dough 3 sets of folds every 45 minutes. First folds are bigger and stretchy, the last folds are more gentle. This is nicely elastic dough. Finally, let the dough rest for 1,5-2 hours covered at room temperature until you notice a good rise. Transfer the dough to bulk overnight in the fridge (mine was covered 14 hours before shaping)

Preheat oven 230°C at least 30 minutes in advance. I baked my loaves each at a time in a cast iron dutch oven and placed it in the cold oven in the beginning (without the wooden handle).

Dust your proofing basket(s) and get ready shaping. Shape the loaf or loaves to your liking and fitted to your basket(s). I made two small boules. Let the full baskets rest at room temperature (covered) until the oven is ready. Score the bread just before placing it to the hot dutch oven. I made two flowers, you can check the scoring inspiration here.

Bake each smaller loaf 25 minutes covered in the dutch oven. Carefully take the lid off and bake the bread until 98°C (10-15 minutes more). Let the loaves cool off on a rack. Store the bread folded in a tea towel. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram @myvintagecooking

Sourdough in Finland

During a couple of years, the sourdough movement has really boomed in Finland. Don’t get me wrong – sourdough is an age-old concept in Finland but the global trend during the industrialization also deteriorated our baking scene.

But nowadays, bread baking and sourdough have gained real momentum in the press. Multiple local bread baking books are published on a yearly basis. Home bakers and artisan bakeries are also active in social media.

This all makes me super happy & has developed me as a baker, too. What’s more, this general demand has helped small millers to establish online stores and find shelf space in mainstream supermarkets. We have quality millers and a variety of flour selections to choose from. I feel that a true win-win situation is building up.

I would love to hear how you’re celebrating #realbreadweek and see your homemade sourdough, flatbread or tortilla :) Also, how is the bread baking scene in your corner of the world? Is it easy for you to find fresh additive-free flour?

Love, Saara

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