The Goods

Recipe: Kelly Vanderbeek's Sourdough Bread

Bake like an Olympian with Kelly Vanderbeek’s recipe!

Bake like an Olympian with Kelly Vanderbeek’s recipe

A super simple recipe, with minimal ingredients, this bread will leave your whole house smelling amazing. It’s the perfect addition to any meal — especially this Chicken and Bean Soup. The secret to getting the perfect crispy crust is to bake this bread in a Dutch oven. Read on for Olympian Kelly Vanderbeek’s pro tips to mastering this must-bake bread.



  • 1 cup unbleached white flour


  • 420g water
  • 170g starter
  • 500g unbleached white flour
  • 225g spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • A very healthy pinch of salt


For the starter:

Mix 1 cup of flour and ⅓ cup of water together and leave it on the counter until you’re ready to make bread (8-14 hours later). When not making bread, store it in the fridge so it slows the bacteria’s activity.

For the bread:

Pour water into a large bowl, then add ⅓ starter (floating starter is a good sign — it means lots of active bacteria), flours and salt. Mix with a spoon, then dump it on the counter and gently knead by hand just until it holds its shape. It will be mildly sticky and form a loose ball. This will take about 10 minutes.

Place dough in a large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel, then after 1 hour knead again — don’t add flour to the kneading surface. Put dough back into your large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then put it back into the fridge for 6-9 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 420F with 2 large, high-sided Dutch ovens inside. 

Knead you dough again for 10-15 minutes and cut into two loaves. Place each loaf into a Dutch oven, score the bread with a knife and then put the lid on. Transfer to the oven and bake at 420F for 50 minutes. You can remove lid for another 3 minutes if you like a crunchier crust. Enjoy!

Follow Kelly’s timeline for the perfect loaf!

10:00PM – Feed starter the night before.

7:00AM – Make dough (this will take about 10 minutes once you're good at it).

8:15AM – Knead dough and put in fridge with thin film of plastic wrap on top.

Noon – Knead dough if you're home for lunch, you can skip this step if you don't.

5:00PM – Knead dough into two loaves as you preheat the oven to 420 degrees, with Dutch ovens inside the oven.

Cook for 50 minutes (take off lid for another 3 minutes if you like a crunchier crust).

Freeze the loaf you aren't eating right away.

Pro tips: Don’t store the loaf you’re eating in a bag — instead, leave it on the cutting board and turn in on its side, cut side down. This will maintain the crust's beautiful texture. If the loaf lasts until the next day, toast for the best results.

Servings: Makes 2 loaves


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.