Is it Really Sour Dough Bread??

Sour Dough Bread

I was shocked to read an article recently that stated that sourdough bread is NOT always sourdough bread… Which reinforces my views that no one even stores where I have shopped for years and trusted cannot be trusted…Why I was shocked I really don’t know.

What is sourdough ???

The big difference between sourdough bread and the “normal” bread you buy or bake today is the source of the yeast. Most bakers today use cultivated yeast that comes in a package. … It is the starter what gives sourdough bread its distinctive taste…

Which the consumer Watchdog conducted a survey and only 4 out of the 19 loaves tested were sourdoughs… A sourdough starter contains flour, water, salt and a starter culture.

A starter culture is simply flour and water mixed together and left to ferment for a few days until it becomes a frothy, bubbly, thick liquid.

Many of the supermarket loaves, however, contain additional ingredients such as yeast, ascorbic acid, yoghurt and vinegar, most of which are added to speed up the rising process, boost volume or create sour flavour.

As sourdough is NOT a protected term then there is nothing to stop supermarkets using additional ingredients and labelling their loaves as sourdough.

As consumers we need to become more aware, savvy, question what is in our food and maybe be prepared to pay a higher price for what is an artisan product.

A spokesperson from The Real Bread Campaign stated that the added ingredients do not necessarily make the bread any more unhealthy it just isn’t traditional or authentic which takes me back to my previous comment that as a consumer we need to be more aware and decide what we will accept and what we actually want to eat.

Obviously, if it is for health reasons that you are opting for sourdough bread then you need to read the labels …HOWEVER many stores do not list ingredients on their bread packaging especially any which is baked in-house.

It may be that you will have to conduct online research into companies bread and it’s ingredients.

The four sourdough loaves which did receive the Real Bread Campaign’s stamp of approval are:

  • Gail’s White Sourdough bread
  • Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Multiseed Sourdough
  • Waitrose 1 White Sourdough
  • Waitrose 1 Wheat and Rye Sourdough

I also find it disconcerting that those same companies also sell bread labelled as sourdough when it isn’t.

It smacks of double-dealing to me that the consumer would be misled into thinking that all their sourdough was equal so to speak and it isn’t.

My conclusion is that it is easier and you know what your loaf contains if you bake your own bread.

Sour Dough Starter: ( Easy)




  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for flouring or flour of your choice or a mixture.
  • 300g/10½oz sourdough starter
  • 250ml/9fl oz water
  • 10g/¼oz brown sugar
  • 10g/¼oz salt
  • flavourless oil, for greasing

Let’s Bake!

Mix together the flour, sourdough starter and water in a bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Turn out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the ‘windowpane effect’ is achieved (where the dough can be stretched until it is so thin that it becomes transparent).

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for 2½-3 hours. You won’t notice as much of a rise in the dough as you would with a normal, yeasted bread and it will take a lot longer.

Turn out the dough onto a clean kitchen surface and knock back the dough. Portion the dough into two and shape into two ball-shaped loaves. Flour generously, and place each loaf seam side up in a bowl, lined with a linen cloth or a heavily-floured tea towel – without the cloth, your loaf will stick in the bowl and you won’t be able to turn it out. Leave to prove for a further 2½ hours.

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Put a few ice cubes or cold water into a baking tin and place in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Turn the loaves out onto a baking tray or hot baking stone. Using a thin sharp knife score two or three times on the top of the loaf and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base.


How to spot faux sourdough  I thought that maybe I could spot a fake sourdough loaf by smell and texture but because there are so many different starter cultures, recipes, flours it is almost impossible you really need to know the ingredients. Sourdough bread does have a longer shelf life … But unless you know the ingredients or the baker and you trust him then the only real way if to make your own.


Do you make your own sourdough bread???

Thank you for reading this post I hope you have a great week xx

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol



Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great weekend 🙂 xx



21 thoughts on “Is it Really Sour Dough Bread??

  1. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Great post, Carol. Beautiful bread.
    You’re right. Unless we grow the ingredients, and process them ourselves, we can’t know what we are getting. Much of labeling is voluntary, and/or not well ensured. That makes it particularly difficult for those of us with food allergies. Add to that, companies and people “self-defining” terms and names…
    Have a fabulous Friday. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. thebookwormdrinketh

    I’ve actually heard this myself, and there have been a couple of shops around my area that stopped carrying their “sourdough” for this reason… Just goes to show that you can’t trust anything these days. 😕


    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I have made a few different breads I love bread making..Once you have your culture sour dough is easy takes awhile to prove although with the heat here proving is much easier 🙂 I like buttermilk bread but am the only here who likes it so don’t make it often 🙂


  5. leggypeggy

    I make all our bread. Years ago, a friend gave me some sourdough starter and it’s been going strong ever since. I have shared it with many others across Australia but, unlike Darlene’s grandmother, no one had to walk it home. I also make yeast and quick breads, but sourdough is my go-to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Wow, That is the beauty of a good culture it lasts forever…Yes, Darlene’s memory shows how valuable sourdough starters are to people I think that is lovely and from some of the comments here it brings people together and I think that is lovely 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. johnrieber

    Carol, this is GREAT! I was going to begin baking – something I have avoided in the past because my cooking style is “jazz-focused”, meaning I riff on the recipe based on my mood – but I know you CAN’T do that in baking! So, this month I am going to try and create my starter and do a few loaves to see how I do, and will use this! Thanks so much!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tabula Rasa

    I make my own sour dough. We sometimes share starters with others in the village to increase the range of microbes and have mini instagram competitions. The long ferment time means the gluten becomes more digestible for some but the best thing is the taste. The Waitrose especially is a nice sourdough but it’s more fun to make your own and it means you know exactly what’s going in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      That’s a great idea to share starters and have competitions …I don’t have a waitrose or anything like that so my choice is a little limited and Thais don’t make sourdough so I envy you in that respect 🙂


      1. Tabula Rasa

        Invite your neighbours round to watch bake-off on Netflix and feed them enough sourdough toast with lashings of butter and a drizzle of honey and you will soon have a sourdough club 😀 mind you in your heat your starter might get a bit explosive 🤯

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CarolCooks2 Post author

        Yes I have that problem …when I was proving a batch of batter for crumpets it was everywhere…But a good idea of yours as my Thai family love toast…If I can find a Thai version of Netflix bake off I could be on a winner …


  8. Darlene

    The sourdough starter was as precious as gold to the pioneers in North America. I remember my grandmother telling me that when they left the US and migrated to Canada, they had to walk across the prairie and over the border. They were very poor. She was 12 and her job was to carry the sourdough starter in a basket and was told not to take her eyes off it. She was so excited to be going to her new home and wanted to look at the new surroundings but couldn’t as she had to protect the precious cargo. Without it, they wouldn’t eat.

    Liked by 3 people


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