I suppose most of my readers know that I am crazy for sourdough bread. But there’s something to be said for a simple, straightforward loaf that is a breeze to make and will be so much better than anything store-bought. Granted, it won’t stay good for as long because you won’t be adding preservatives to it, but isn’t that a bonus?  This recipe from Dan Lepard is simplicity in itself. Think of the usual suspects, flour, water, salt, and yeast, with a smidgen of butter that will contribute with flavor and improve texture. Anyone can make this bread, beginners, experienced bakers, children, yeast-o-phobes. All you need is a loaf pan, although you could conceivably shape it free form and bake it on a stone or baking sheet.

Simple White Loaf



The recipe calls for a sponge, which is simply a very liquid mixture of water, flour, and commercial yeast,  allowed to ferment for a couple of hours or overnight. The longer you allow the sponge to ferment, the better. I’ve made this bread after overnight “spongification” or after 2 hours, both worked quite well.

Once your sponge is ready, you will add the rest of the flour to the dough, a little softened butter,  and do the minimal kneading technique 10 minutes after mixing the dough, again at 25 minutes, and one final time at 40 minutes (timing is quite flexible).  A final 30 minute-proofing and you’ll be ready to shape the loaf.

The shaped loaf sits for 90 minutes, gets slashed and baked for about 45 minutes.

The full recipe can be found in Short and Sweet. You might be able to find it also through a google search.

For my review of his book, click here.


This simple recipe can be adapted in many ways. Dan himself used whey liquid from fresh mozzarella as part of the water in the recipe and loved the slight “tang” in the bread. One person who discussed this recipe in a Facebook page mentioned that a little soy sauce together with the water does wonders. Quite intriguing, I should try that at some point, probably reducing a little the amount of salt as soy contributes with some.


Slightly toasted, it is perfect to go with pretty much anything you’d like… from sliced ham to jams, or a smear of butter with Maldon sea salt flakes… heaven! I made this recipe three times so far, and after we enjoy it on the day of baking, I wrap 4 slices together and freeze them. Within 10 minutes at room temperature and a brief encounter with our small Breville oven, they are as good as freshly baked.

Before I leave, allow me to share a link to  the best 10 breads to have in your repertoire according to Dan Lepard. I was happy to see several that I made (and blogged about) included in his list.  

ONE YEAR AGO: Maureen’s Fabulously Fudgy Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Wheat Berry Caraway Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Mexican Focaccia 

FOUR YEARS AGOSunny Kamut Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pane de Casa & Crostini

SIX YEARS AGO: Down-home Dig-in Chili

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Cinnamon Rolls


  1. Your bread is beautiful ~ looks so delicious. Do you think I could bake it in my Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro Convection Oven and if I can, at what temperature and would I use the fan? Thanks so much for sharing.


    • Well, Barbara – I am not sure about that. The reason is the bread rose quite a bit during baking. When I was living in LA and only had the Breville to bake bread, I made similar recipes and found it tricky to prevent the top from almost burning – it gets too close to the heating element – maybe you could give it a try – I would say 425 F with the fan. But keep an eye on it, if you detect some burning on top, cover it with foil, that might be all you need.


  2. Thanks for this post Sally, I too just love Dan Lepard’s Book, and there is much to learn from him. I checked out the link to his best ten breads…food just cannot be boring with good bread to eat. Recently tried out a great sourdough loaf called Do Good Loaf from the US: http://noellemace.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/do-good-loaf.html.
    We often like to go back to a standard loaf, and your split loaf looked so good, that may be baked chez nous very soon.


    • I was surprised by how much it opened up during baking – such a simple formula, simple technique… and great results! What’s more to ask?

      will check your link ASAP


  3. What a lovely perfect loaf 🙂 homemade is always so much nicer. I make a white loaf every day in the bread maker that my husband and son use up between them, and then a sourdough loaf, or some other hand made loaf, every two or three days as well, and there’s never much bread leftover so nothing goes stale luckily. I can literally slice an entire loaf (400g of flour size) in one go and it’s gone all at once!


    • It’s great that you can bake so often… we tend to go easy on bread, I love it too much maybe, but if I eat it with abandon, my pants won’t fit me 😉 It was different when we had the boys living with us… but it’s been soooo long!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Believe me, if it wasn’t for my boys, I wouldn’t bake so much bread, I don’t eat it very often at all! I love having a good excuse to bake bread though, I’ve totally got my sourdough sussed now 🙂 x


  4. I have a lot of food weaknesses and bread is the king of them all. You’re right. Nothing like a homemade loaf. I have RLB’s Bread Bible — not crazy enough to bake each thing from page 1 to the end like some people. But I have made a few things and they were out of this world. You’re a good slasher, by the way.


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