Mother Of Sourdough

Chef Luke Holder shares his exclusive recipe on how to bake sourdough bread - from creating the leavening agent (known as "The Mother") to making and baking it!

Watch the video here.


Sourdough Starter (The Mother)

50g of whole wheat flour

50g white bread flour

100g warm water


Mix with your hand to form a thick batter.

Leave for 2-3 days in a clean bowl with a kitchen towel over the top.

Check to see if there are any bubbles forming.

If not, leave for a further day or two.

By this time you might have formed a dark crust on the top. This is fine – pull it back and discard.

You might notice a strong smell at this stage that is quite acidic, but this is normal and what you are looking for.

Now you need to start to feed the culture.

Discard 80% of the mix and re add the 50g of wholemeal flour, 50g of white bread flour and 100g of warm water.

Mix again and cover with the towel and leave for a further day.

You will need to feed your mother daily. Ideally it helps if it’s around the same time.

You should now notice the batter becoming thicker and thicker as it starts to aerate and become alive.

Once your mother is in a good cycle of discarding 80% and feeding it every day, it’s ready to become the leaven in your bread.

Making the bread

350g warm water

100g of leaven

1 good pinch of salt

450g of white bread flour – you can continue to use a 50/50 mix if you want a more wholemeal style of bread.


Add the warm water to a large bowl.

Add the leaven. It should float, but don’t worry if it doesn’t; it just means that your mother isn’t quite there yet. It will still work.

Add all the flour.

Mix roughly by hand until a rough wet dough is formed.

At this point, place the bowl in a bin bag and leave somewhere at room temp.

The great thing about this bread is it needs very little attention.

After 45 minutes or so, remove the bread from the bag. Add the salt and a tablespoon more of water, wetting your hand and turning as demonstrated in the video. 

Now you can forget about it. There is no need to knead this bread. Time is all it needs.

You will need to turn the bread as in the picture around 4-6 times in a day. Don’t worry if you only turn it once - it will come out beautifully.

The turning helps ensure the air distributes nicely through the loaf.

After about 6-8 hrs the bread is ready to go into the fridge overnight.

The final fold and wrapping up is relatively important.

Once it's in the fridge, time will continue to do all the work you need.


For best results, a cast iron pot really makes a difference.

Preheat your pan in your pre heated oven at 220c.

Place the bread into the pan.

Score the top.

Bake at 220c for 55minutes. If you want a darker loaf, just put it back in the oven, out of the pan, to form a darker crust.

Remove and allow to cool. At this point, the bread should be singing and cracking. The temperature of the kitchen is lower than the temperature of the oven so the bread contracts, causing the cracked crust to form.

Luke Holder loves it super fresh with brilliant butter – pure joy!