We’re in lockdown 3.0 and many of us are determined to (finally) have some sourdough success. In next week’s Irish Country Living, we interview William Despard of the Bretzel Bakery in Dublin, who last year was named the Supreme Champion at Blás na hEiréann, the Irish food awards. It was his Pain de Maison Boule, a naturally fermented, large sourdough loaf, made with wheat and wholemeal rye flour, that scooped the grand prize.

This recipe uses fresh starter, which many bakeries, not just the Bretzel Bakery, are giving to their customers.

However, if you want to grow your own starter, we also have lots of tips on how to do so in next week’s paper, so you can try it yourself at home.

William has shared his award-winning recipe with us below, and we’d love to see your take on it. Tag us @irishcountryliving and @thebretzelbakery on Instagram.

For a loaf of 600 gr:

  • 300g Stoneground flour
  • 150g Bretzel Bakery starter refreshed (from fridge)
  • 245ml lukewarm water (25-30 C°)
  • 7g salt
  • Directions:

    1. Half your starter and keep the remainder to refresh it.

    2. Mix all the ingredients together manually for eight to 12 minutes. Form a ball with your dough and place it into a lightly floured (or lightly oiled) bowl. Cover it with a damp cloth. Leave it for two hours to rest. The dough ball should rise to twice its initial volume. The resting time depends on the temperature of the room (ideally it should be between 18-20 C°).

    3. After two hours, shape your bread. Without working the dough too much, flatten your dough into a disc. Fold in one side into the centre, then fold in the other side. Fold in twice, pressing down with the heel of your hand. Roughly shape into a round loaf.

    4. Using baking parchment, place your loaf on a baking tray. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise for two and a half hours at room temperature (ideally it should be between 18-20 C°).

    5. Fifteen minutes before the end of rising, preheat your oven to 240C°.

    6. When your bread is ready to bake, brush your loaf with water. Using a very sharp blade, cut your bread (3-4mm deep) criss-cross for a rustic look .

    7. Put your bread into the oven and quickly sprinkle a third of a glass of water on the bottom of your oven. After eight minutes of baking time at 240C°, bring the temperature down to 225C° for another 32 minutes.

    8. When baked, knock the bottom of the loaf - it should sound hollow.