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Sourdough September

Well, do ya?. Credit: Flour, water and microbes

Well, do ya?. Credit: Flour, water and microbes

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Wild thing, you make my loaf spring

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the annual, international Sourdough September.

The ninth month of the year is when the Real Bread Campaign goes on a mission to help everyone worldwide to discover that: life’s sweeter with sourdough!

Launched in 2013, the main aims of #SourdoughSeptember are encouraging people to:

For 12 months of the year, the Campaign promotes Real Bread in general, with September being a focal point for sourdough in particular.

Sourdough September is run as an opportunity for genuine sourdough bakers and baking teachers to showcase what they do.

It's also time to shout louder than usual 'say no to sourfaux' to alert people to this problem and help them avoid paying a premium for something that simply isn't the real deal.

Mother mother, take me where life's sweeter

See also 

What's going on?

Across thirty days of sharing food, facts and fun, Real Bread bakeries, baking schools, mills, food festivals and other fermentalists around the globe run sourdough classes, tastings, feasts and more to help everyone experience and enjoy the power of sour. Click for more ideas.

Find (and ADD details of your own) Sourdough September shenanigans on the...

Real Bread Campaign events calendar

NB Despite us starting to nudge before the previous Sourdough September ends, many organisers don't add their events to the calendar until much closer to (and even during) September. Some don't add the details at all, so keep an eye on social media, local press and the mailing list of your favourite local Real Bread bakery, baking school etc.

Dough monsters

Something we’d love to see this year in particular is bakers sharing their love of sourdough bread making with children. One way to do is guiding kids in nurturing a sourdough starter from just flour and water, perhaps adding fun by calling the living thing they create a dough monster.

If you don’t have a child or two knocking about at home, you could contact a local school or community group to see if they want to work with you on this.

We've created a one-page guide you can print and handout.

Download printable dough monster guide

Download printable dough monster guide (B&W)

Campaign supporters can login to download a 'dough you have a dough monster?' poster.

Sourdough Bread For All

The Real Bread Campaign believes that everyone should have the chance to choose Real Bread, including genuine sourdough. One obstacle to Real Bread For All is the gap between what it costs a small bakery to make bread and what people in their community on lower incomes can afford.

We continue encouraging bakeries to consider trying out ways of subsidising at least one line of sourdough bread to offer it at a reduced price, or issuing discount vouchers to allow customers to choose. Read about how your bakery can get involved.

Sourdough social

Sourdough bread is made by people of almost every age, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, (dis)ability, religion and culture in the world.

YOU can join the fun with many thousands of people around the planet by tagging your (relevant) social media posts with #sourdough, #SourdoughSeptember and us:

Twitter: @RealBread
Facebook: @RealBreadCampaign
Instagram: @RealBreadCampaign

Then, if applicable, add:

#SourdoughSelfie if it's a photo of yourself making sourdough, or holding a loaf of genuine sourdough bread you've baked or bought from a Real Bread bakery. Remember, as it's a selfie, we want to see YOU in these photos, not just your crumb shots!

#WeAreRealBread if you are one of the people behind the rise of Real Bread. Whether farmer, miller, baker or baking teacher, please help the world see you to help celebrate the diversity (in all senses) of our supporters and other companions.

If you'd be happy for us to publish your photos (either of yourself or of others with their permission) please email them to

We need high resolution photos that are:

  • Landscape / horizontal (rather than portrait / vertical) at least 1200 x 800 pixels (see articles in our news and features pages to see what we mean) OR
  • Square at least 1000 x 1000 pixels

...and we'd love to see and share photos of whole Real Bread bakery teams, famlies baking together, online and real world classes of sourdough students...

Buy Real Bread gifts

What do our recipe book, a hand-made dough scoring lame/grignette, Real Bread mugs, t-shirts and aprons have in common? Each one you buy means that our charity gets some dough!

Read details

Limited edition gear

Our friends at Balcony Shirts are again producing a limited edition design t-shirt, mug and apron. These are only available until 30 September 2023.

See and buy the kit

Unique Real Bread knife

To mark the Campaign’s 15th anniversary, bladesmith Richard Harris is hand-crafting a strictly-limited run of just 15 bread knives. Each will be embossed with our logo, Richard's monogram and the number of your knife. They are available now for pre-order and Richard will crank up his forge after all 15 have been claimed, or 15 October 2023, whichever is sooner.

Read full details and order

Get more involved

The simplest way to join in is to bake a loaf of genuine sourdough yourself, or buy one from a local, independent, Real Bread bakery.

Business owners

How might YOU help share sourdough secrets and demystify the delicious delights of the oldest way of raising a loaf?

Ideas for events/activities you can organise include:

  • Give away (or make a small charge for) pots of sourdough starter
  • Showcase a different sourdough bread on your menu each week and offer tasters
  • Run a sourdough baking class or Q&A / troubleshooting session
  • Organise a social event for people who've attended one of your sourdough baking classes in the past
  • Join forces with a local brewer, charcutier, pickler and cheese maker to: run a feast of fermentation, create a local food box for people to order online, or lay a fermented food trail between your shops

Login to add details of your event/activity to the Real Bread calendar

The earlier you add your event, the better your chance of us giving it a mention on our press release and other media work…

Not right for you?

Then how about something else instead? We've created the hook and do promotional work at an international level. What you hang on it (in line with the initiative’s aims) to use the opportunity of free publicity and drive custom for your Real Bread business is up to you.

If face-to-face events / activities aren't permitted where you are (or aren't right for you this year) how about running something (eg a baking class or social event) online instead?

Support our charity's work

Adding a optional suggested doughnation (eg 50p-£1) to Sustain, the charity that runs the Real Bread Campaign, onto customers’ bills would be amazing, please! Alternatively, you could ask for donations into your own Real Bread For All pay-it-forward scheme  - see above.

Whenever you refer to Real Bread Week (in print, online or social media, verbally, smoke signals etc) please remember to link back to this website or at least refer to the Real Bread Campaign! This especially goes for any businesses using our charity's #SourdoughSeptember as a marketing opportunity.

Promoting your event / activity

Whatever you run, don't be shy!

  • Add the details to the Real Bread calendar
  • Tell people about it in person
  • Put up posters
  • Write an article about it in your blog / news section
  • Contact local radio, TV, websites, papers - whatever media outlets you have round your way
  • Post on social media using #SourdoughSeptember and (when appropriate) other relevant tags

You might also benefit from signing up to The Sourdough Loaf Mark scheme.

Real Bread Campaign supporters can login to download:

Whenever you refer to Real Bread Week (in print, online or social media, verbally, smoke signals etc) please remember to link back to this website or at least refer to the Real Bread Campaign! This especially goes for any businesses using our charity's #SourdoughSeptember as a marketing opportunity.

How was it for you?

Sourdough September is run by the charity Sustain, so we need to keep demonstrating that there is a need for this initiative and that business owners and other people benefit from it. 

A survey will appear here.

Send your doughnation

If you raised money for our charity, you can send it to us via our doughnations page.

...and don't forget to send us photos of PEOPLE enjoying making and eating sourdough bread!

Highlights of past years


  • Nourish books publishing Slow Dough: Real Bread, the Campaign's first recipe book
  • The Artisan Bakery School’s Croatian Bake-ation on the island of Korcula
  • Champions in Hobbs House Bakery’s quest to find #KingOfTheSourdough will win a class in Chipping Sodbury with Hobbs House bakery’s finest bakers and one will be declared the first ever King or Queen of the Sourdough
  • Sourjoe September at Joe’s Bakery in Bristol, with tastings, classes, Q&A sessions and a new loaf launched.
  • The Loaf in Crich, Derbyshire, is creating nine new sourdough Real Breads during the month.
  • Brick House in Peckham is running Sourdough Starter for 10, giving away a pot of starter and one of their award-winning loaves every week.
  • Paul Brennan in Cardiff will be giving away loaves from his wood-fired microbakery’s oven to the first 32 neighbours who email to ask for one.
  • Aidan Chapman’s Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth is shunning baker’s yeast for a whole month, instead using only using sourdough starter for all of his Real Bread
  • Andrew Whitley launches on 2nd September to connect people who use and share Bread Matters’ starter (descended from the one given to him in Kostroma in Russia in the 1990s) and holding a two-day Sourdough Special course in the Scottish Borders on the 21stand 22nd
  • Roger and Sally Birt’s Red Dog Bakery in north Devon is running a sourdough baking class on the 6th and tasting on the 7th
  • The Hornbeam Bakers Collective introduce sourdough in their alternative breads class in Walthamstow on the 8th
  • Tom Herbert will cover sourdough as part of his baking masterclass at Hobbs House School in Chipping Sodbury on 11thand 24th
  • Carrie Winger shares sourdough techniques in an Allendale Bakery class in Hexham on the 14th
  • Robin van Creveld will be Going Wild for two days of dosas, dhokra and other sourdough breads at Lewes Community Kitchen on the 20th and 21st
  • Chris and Joanna Brennan will be running sourdough start-up classes on 28th and 29th as part of Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival’s new Bread Zone
  • Chicago Amateur Bakers dedicated the September edition of the monthly, international Twitter #breadchat to sourdough. You can download the transcript from their website here.

To be kept up to date with the latest details, and to support us being able to run more events like this in the future, please join the Real Bread Campaign and we'll send you Breadcrumbs, our monthly enewsletter.

Raising dough to do good

Sourdough September was created, and is run, by the Real Bread Campaign, part of the food and farming charity Sustain.

We currently receive no grants, advertising or sponsorship for Sourdough September or any of the rest of our campaigning and project work.

In order for us to keep doughing good, we need YOUR HELP to continue.

Can we count on your support? Great!

First off - please link back to this website whenever you refer to Sourdough September in print, online, in social media and elsewhere.This goes especially for businesses using our charity's #RealBreadWeek as a marketing opportunity!

Whenever you refer to Real Bread Week (in print, online or social media, verbally, smoke signals etc) please remember to link back to this website or at least refer to the Real Bread Campaign! This especially goes for any businesses using our charity's #SourdoughSeptember as a marketing opportunity.

Join us

The best way to support our charity's work is to join the Real Bread Campaign!

You don't have to be a baker to join us - in fact, the majority of our supporters aren't.

Support starts from £22.50 a year, that's LESS THAN £2 A MONTH. 

As a thank you, you get to read the exclusive True Loaf magazine each quarter and we have arranged more than 100 special offers on ingredients, equipment, bread making classes and more.

Read more about why and how to join, including the benefits you receive, here.

Make a doughnation

If you'd rather make a one-off donation than joining us, you can do so here.

If you run a fundraising event or activity during Sourdough September, thank you! Please send it to us by making a card payment via our doughnation page.

We may publish a roll of honour of selected Sourdough September donors. If you'd prefer your name not to appear on the list, please let us know.

What is sourdough?

Sourdough isn’t a look, flavour or style. Any bread that can be made with baker’s yeast (and many more) can be made using a sourdough starter.

While it's becoming increasingly fashionable, sourdough is no fad - it's the oldest way of leavening a loaf.

At its simplest, genuine sourdough is made using just three ingredients: flour, water and salt. Using this holey trinity, novice home bakers and true artisans alike can nurture the yeasts and bacteria naturally present in flour to foster a thriving sourdough starter culture, whose microbial magic makes the dough rise.

Sourdough September revels in this amazing alchemy, celebrating the crafting of these (optionally plus other natural) ingredients into delicious, nutritious Real Bread.

September is also a time for everyone to say no to sourfaux

Say no to sourfaux!

It is both flattering and frustrating that some supermarkets and industrial loaf fabricators have spotted the increasing appetite for sourdough made by Real Bread bakers, and decided they want a slice of the action.

Sadly, what they are producing is not always genuine sourdough.

The 'ingredients' industry is busy concocting 'easy' and 'quick' packet mixes that try to replace time, skill and quality ingredients with a litany of flavourings, acidifiers, additives, commercial yeast and allsorts.

Read labels, ask questions
Whenever you buy a sourdough loaf, it's worth asking how it was made and with what - genuine sourdough bread is made using a live sourdough culture (aka a starter or leaven) but NOT any of the following:

  • Baker's yeast
  • Dried sourdough powder
  • Sourdough concentrate
  • Yoghurt, vinegar, or other acidifier
  • Flavourings, artificial preservatives and other additives

Baked products made using such things are what we call sourfaux and Real Bread Campaign cofounder Andrew Whitley calls pseudough.

Protection from misleading use of the word sourdough is included in our call for An Honest Crust Act.

If you have seen something sold under the name 'sourdough' that you just know isn't, take a photo of the ingredients list and the marketing claims and post them on social media using the #sourfaux hashtag.

Where can I buy real sourdough?

To seek out places to buy genuine sourdough Real Bread near you:

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

Ways to support our charity’s work

Join today Buy gifts Make a doughnation The Loaf Mark

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The Real Bread Campaign is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

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