Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood’s healthy sourdough bread recipe – highly ‘beneficial’ to slim

Stacey Dooley discusses Great British Bake Off

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Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood often shares his favourite recipes with fans on social media and his sourdough bread has now become an absolute favourite. The healthy bread is also highly beneficial for those trying to lose weight. But how do you make it?

The chef shared her easy sourdough bread recipe included in his book Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake, and only requires 10 minutes of preparation.

Paul explains: “It is important to have an organic apple, free of chemicals, for this, or the starter may not ferment. I like to use a Cox, but any organic apple will do.”


One kilogram of strong white bread flour

One organic apple, grated, with skin, avoiding the cor

360ml of tepid water

Stage 1

Paul starts by mixing 500g of the flour with the apple and water.

“Tip this into an airtight container and mark the level on the outside of the container (so you can see whether the mix has risen),” he says.

He then covers it and leaves it to ferment for three days.

Stage 2

After three days the mix should start to smell quite sweet, a bit like cider.

“It will be a little darker in colour and will have started to grow; it may also have some bubbles,” Paul explained.

“Check the level against the mark you made on the outside to see how much it has grown,” he recommends.

He then discards half the mix and adds another 250g bread flour and 170ml water – this is called ‘feeding’.

He mixes it thoroughly in the bowl and adds it into the container and leaves for a further two days.

Stage 3

“There should now be plenty of activity in the dough, indicated by lots of small bubbles. If there is nothing happening, look at the side of the container – you’ll be able to see whether the dough has risen and fallen by the smearing on the side,” Paul explains.

If it has risen and fallen, then it is active. If your starter is active but has sunk down in the tub and a layer of liquid has formed on top, then it is actually over-active. Stir in some more flour to return it to a thick consistency and leave for a day. It should regain the thick, bubbly texture you want.

If there is no sign of rising on the container, and no bubbles, you should leave the dough for a couple more days.

“Once your starter is active, discard half of it, as before, and mix in another 250g bread flour and enough water to return it to the consistency of a very wet, sloppy dough. This time leave it for 24 hours,” Paul says.

If the starter begins to bubble within this time, then it is ready to use. Ideally, when you come to use it, you want to starter to be thick and bubbly. If you shake it, it should wobble like a jelly, without dropping down. When you put a spoon through it, it should be like a thick batter. If your starter is not bubbling, feed it again, following stage two, and leave it for a further two days.

Paul continued: “If you are using your starter often, you can leave it at room temperature, feeding it at least every three days and whenever you take some to make bread.

“Simply stir in some strong white bread flour and enough water to return it to the consistency of a very wet dough, bearing in mind that you will need 500g starter for each recipe.

“Then leave it, covered, until it achieves that thick, bubbly, jelly-like stage. If you are making sourdough less often – say, once a month – then keep the starter, covered, in the fridge.

“This will slow down the activity and preserve it almost indefinitely, but you must let it come back to room temperature before use. If it seems to be inactive, give it a feed of fresh flour – the bacteria within it are living so they need feeding,” Paul explained.

Sourdough bread has many nutritional benefits and is a healthier choice than other kinds of bread.

Dr Michael Mosley, creator of the Fast 800 diet, explained that many people are not aware that eating fermenting foods, such as sourdough bread, helps losing weight.

Maurizio Leo, baker and author of the Perfect Loaf, said that although it is a kind of bread that “takes much longer to ferment fully”, its bacteria is highly “beneficial”.

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