Sourdough Bread

Three ingredients. Magic. This is days in the making, but worth the wait. For best flavour, use locally raised flours. (I use Red Fife flour for no more than one-fourth of my total flour.) I use a scale (in metric) when I make bread for the best results. Adapted from Chad Robertson’s Tartine.

Nanaimo Bars
Makes 1 large or 2 medium loaves
Feeding the starter

200 g


50 g


50 g


1 kg

all-purpose flour (or a blend of flours you like)

650 mL


25 g

kosher salt

50 mL

warm water


Put starter in a clean jar or glass/ceramic bowl. Leave the bowl or jar on the counter for a day, uncovered. For the next 2-3 days, add flour and milk or water morning and evening. Discard half of the mix each time or it will become the monster that ate Pittsburgh (or use it up in other sourdough-based recipes). Test for readiness by the “float” test: spoon a glob of starter into a cup of water. If it floats, it’s ready to use.

Transfer half the starter to a clean jar and refrigerate as your new mother.

Put the remaining starter in a mixing bowl. Add flours and water. Mix to form a dough, by hand or machine. Let rest, covered, 30 minutes, then add the salt, dissolved in just enough water to dissolve it. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave the dough on the table. Every 40 minutes, gently stretch the dough from each side to the top of the ball.

After 4-6 hours, when the dough is pillowy, gently shape into two taut rounds or oval logs. Place in flour-dusted baking baskets or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dust with flour and cover. Let rise for several hours or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a large cast iron pot with snug lid in the oven for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid.

Uncover the bread dough and place a double layer of parchment on top of the bowl that contains it. Invert carefully into the pot or onto the tray. Slash oval loaves across the top in parallel lines with the tip of a sharp knife. Slash round loaves on the sides in curving Cs.

Return the pot or tray to the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 450F. Bake until crusty and baked through, about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves.

Nanaimo Bars

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Taste Canada Book Awards Finalist



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