Kit Harington? You’d think? Well, that did not happen (Sally fans herself). But another superstar from England did arrive, albeit inside an envelope. Star, the sourdough starter produced by my dear friend Elaine, from foodbodsourdough.  I wasted no time. Opened the package, refreshed my new baby, made my first loaf a couple of days later. The starter is really powerful, I love it.  For my first adventure with Star, I chose a turmeric-scented loaf, full of black sesame seeds.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

200 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
325 g water at room temperature
450 g bread flour
50 g dark rye flour
9 g salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
30 g black sesame seeds

Dissolve the sourdough well in the 325 g water. Add the flours, salt and turmeric, mix until a shaggy dough forms. Leave 10 minutes undisturbed.  Add the sesame seeds and mix well by kneading/folding.

Leave to ferment for 4 hours with folding at 40 minutes, 1 hour and 20 minutes, 2 hours, and 3 hours. At the end of four hours, shape as a round loaf, and place in a banetton, seam side up. Transfer to the fridge and leave it overnight (about 12 hours).

Remove the shaped dough from the fridge as you heat the oven to 450 F.

Invert the dough on parchment paper, slash and bake with initial steam (I use a covered Dutch oven for 30 minutes, then remove the lid).  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to 425 F.

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Elaine’s Star Sourdough starter comes in a very nice package containing the dried up sourdough in small pieces, and a beautiful card explaining how to deal with it. A little water, a little flour, and you are done for that day.  The composition photo above shows in the bottom right the starter just a few hours after the first refreshment, and on the bottom left what I found on the morning of the day I made the bread. Star maybe missed his Mom and wanted to leave me?  It definitely seemed like it!

I used my regular method of folding the dough. As for slashing, the sesame seeds definitely prevent too much artistic input, as they make slashing a bit trickier, so I opted for a more random approach. The bread had tremendous oven spring, and when it was cooling, it sang “The Song of My People”, as great bread always do. I love it when it happens.

Phil went crazy for this bread, thought that the crust in particular was perfect. It turned out thinner than most sourdoughs I usually bake (no idea why), and the taste was spectacular. The turmeric flavor is quite subtle. Saffron would be equally nice too, I just did not think about it in advance to soak a little water with saffron threads and have it ready.  I prepared the dough on a Friday, end of the day, and the bread was in the oven by 6am next day. Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread to start a weekend.

Elaine, I wish you all the luck with your new adventure! For those who live in the UK, Elaine is offering sourdough baking classes in her home in Milton Keynes, north of London. She offers basic and advanced classes, so anyone will find a reason to join. She is a natural teacher, and passionate about sourdough baking. If I lived closer I would take her advanced class for sure.

Here is the address of her new website and Facebook group (closed group, she loves to get new members). In her site you can find all the information for her classes and how to order Star (she ships worldwide).

ONE YEAR AGO: Hommage to the Sun


  1. Hi Sally, I remember you make the most beautiful breads and this is no exception! I am very tempted to try this, just need to get my hands on the Star ingredient! I don’t have a banetton, but will purchase one if you feel it helps to shape and produce a gorgeous loaf as you’ve made. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • hey, look who showed up!!!! My gosh, I miss you!

      well, let me say you DO NOT have to get a banetton for this – I will go against all advice and tell you that you can do it in any round container, even a colander, if you line it with some cheesecloth for instance. Of course, if you intend to bake bread regularly, definitely get a couple of banettons, round and oval maybe? But if you just want to try this recipe right away, don’t let anything stop you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Sally. Beautiful bread! Did you cook in a cold Dutch oven like Elaine? Or a preheated one? Sorry if it has been mentioned and I have missed it 😊 thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I pre-heat mine – honestly I don’t think it makes much difference and keep telling myself to put the dough in the cold one, but it’s a habit for me, been doing it for years, so when I think about it… too late! The Dutch oven is already inside – I do not pre-heat the lid, though, because I find it then too hard to deal with it. Plus I wet the lid inside to give the bread a bit extra initial steam when I close it


    • yes!!! that’s the idea! I wish I could bake some bread this weekend, but there’s already too much stuff planned, and since we don’t consume that much bread, I tend to bake bread once a month… oh, well… Star can wait for me…


    • it was explosive… I just refreshed it last night, late – after it’s been in the fridge since last Friday, and I cannot believe how much it fermented – it is on the top of the container again, in less than 12 hours, a lot less


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