Sourdough September

The annual international celebration of genuine sourdough and the people who make it.

Events  Classes  Bakeries  Recipes  Information 

Wild thing, you make my loaf spring

Since 2013, the ninth month of the year is when the Real Bread Campaign goes on a mission to help everyone discover that: life’s sweeter with sourdough!

The aims of #SourdoughSeptember are to:

  • Share the delicious delights of genuine sourdough
  • Encourage more people to bake genuine sourdough
  • Celebrate the small, independent bakeries that bake genuine sourdough
  • Help people to say no to sourfaux and avoid paying a premium for something that simply isn't the real deal
  • Encourage people to join and/or donate to the Real Bread Campaign

In 2020, a special focus is helping more people to discover that a sourdough starter is the gateway to every type of bread on the planet.   

Are you in? Great!

Mother mother, take me where life's sweeter

See also 

The power of three

Sourdough isn’t a look, taste or style. Any bread that can be made with baker’s yeast can be made using a sourdough starter, and then some.

At its simplest, genuine sourdough is made using just three ingredients. Sourdough September revels in the amazing alchemy of crafting just flour, water and salt into delicious, golden Real Bread.

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.

September is also a time for everyone to say no to sourfaux by baking or buying at least one loaf of genuine sourdough and sharing it on social.


2020 has seen #LockdownLoafers around the world taking to baking sourdough bread. Meanwhile, many Real Bread bakeries have reported experiencing increased demand for their sourdough bread.

Sourdough September builds on this passion, challenging some people’s (mis)perceptions of what sourdough bread is and isn’t. We’re encouraging people who’ve only tried one type of sourdough bread to buy or bake others. Even more so if all they’ve tried is sourfaux.

How to get involved

From 1-30 September, Real Bread bakers and other fermentalists worldwide help to share sourdough secrets and demystify the delicious delights of the oldest way of raising a loaf.

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.

Bakeries, baking schools, mills and other organisations/enterprises organise events/activities (online or, where permitted and appropriate, in real life) such as:

  • Sourdough Real Bread or pizza classes
  • Making a sourdough Real Bread September's monthly special
  • Giving away (or making a small charge for) pots of sourdough starter, along with a Real Bread recipe to make at home
  • Joining forces with local brewers, charcutiers, picklers, cheese makers for a feast of fermentation
  • Hosting a sourdough toast and tea morning

Find details of events (and  add yours) on the Real Bread Campaign events calendar

Support our work: Adding an optional donation (eg 50p-£1) to Sustain, the charity that runs the Real Bread Campaign, onto customers’ bills would be amazing, please! (Perhaps you limit this to your monthly special, another nominated sourdough loaf or pizza, pots of starter you dish out, selected sourdough baking classes)

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.

Share your photos

On social media, #SourdoughSeptember is celebrated by thousands of people around the planet posting photos of loaves they’ve baked or bought.

Please keep your #WeAreRealBread #sourdoughselfie pix coming to help us show the world the many and varied FACES behind the rise of Real Bread.

If you'd be happy for us to publish and share your happy baker photos (either of yourself or of classes you've run, with the permission of people in the pix) please email them to

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

Promoting your event/activity

Whatever you get up to, please share what you do!

  • Add the details to the Real Bread calendar
  • Tell people about it in person
  • Put up posters
  • Blog about it
  • Contact local radio, TV, websites, papers - whatever media outlets you have round your way
  • Post on social media using #sourdoughseptember. Please don't forget to ttag us and/or link to our website.

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.

Share your Sourdough September shenanigans

As part of our charity's monitoring and evaluation, we need to keep a track of how well our initiatives are working. Please email

Hobby bakers

Did you bake a loaf of sourdough for the first time? Did you start your own starter culture? Did you go to a baking class?

Business owners

We'd like to know:

  • What you did
  • The number of people who get involved in your class/event/activity and/or took away pots of starter.
  • How your business benefitted from Sourdough September
  • Links to any media coverage for your event that we haven't listed

If you raised some dough for us, you can send it to us via our donations page.

If you have any suggestions for next year's Sourdough September or Real Bread Week (particularly something you feel we could ask all bakeries and baking schools in our network to do) please let us know.

We Are Real Bread

If you'd be happy for us to publish your photo (online or in print) to help us show the world the diversity of FACES behind the rise of Real Bread please email it to

This can be just you, people in a class you've attended/run (with the permission of people in the pix) or memebers of your bakery's team.

Ideally, we want to see photos of people doing stuff, but your #sourdoughselfie is good, too.

The best shots for us are high resolution, horizontal (rather than vertiical) and at least 1200 x 800 pixels - see articles in our news and features pages to see the miimum size we're talking about. Square photos are good, too.

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 will be running sourdough classes, tastings, feasts and more to help everyone experience and enjoy the power of sour.

Find and ADD details of local events on the Real Bread Campaign events calendar

NB Events are often added to the calendar much closer to (and during) September, and many organisers don't add the details at all. Keep an eye on social media, local press and the the mailing list of you favourite local Real Bread bakery, baking school etc.

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!

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, we'll send you an exclusive magazine each quarter and 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 your 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.

Alternatively, please send a cheque, made payable to Sustain (rather than the Real Bread Campaign),to the Real Bread Campaign, c/o Sustain, The Green House, 244-254 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9DA

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.

Our sourdough recipe book

Slow Dough: Real Bread is the Real Bread Campaign’s first recipe book. It contains around 90 recipes for genuine sourdough and other long ferment Real Breads.

They range from a basic white loaf, to Laotian kalpao and Friesian fryske sûkerbôle. It is brought to life by around 70 full colour photographs by Victoria Harley.

The book is published in the UK and USA by Nourish Books. Read more and buy now

What is sourdough?

Using a sourdough starter is the original (and some would say still the best) form of rasing a loaf of Real Bread.

Now, we're not talking the par-baked things that get rebaked in some supermarket loaf tanning salons, or other suspicious substitutes made using dried sourdough powder and commercial bakers' yeast....quite possibly with a lacing of artificial additives, and even hidden processing aids, to boot.

We mean genuine sourdough made with as little as just flour, water and salt, plus time and care. Real Bread bakers nuture the yeasts and bacteria  naturally present in all flour to create a starter culture they then use to leaven luscious loaves.

In the hands of skilled bakers, what is the oldest and simplest recipe for Real Bread can also become the most delicious.

There is also growing evidence that genuine sourdough Real Bread made using long-fermentation with a live starter culture might have health benefits, too...

Read more about sourrdough

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 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, 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.

Learn to bake sourdough Real Bread

Our recipe section includes our basic guide to creating a sourdough starter and a simple sourdough loaf.

You can find more than 100 places to learn to bake Real Bread on the Reap Bread Map, many of which share the secrets of sourdough.

Many also offer discounts to Real Bread Campaign supporters.

Where can I buy real sourdough?

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

...then ask staff which of their loaves are genuine sourdough.

Sourdough September logo and posters

Real Bread Campaign supporters can login to download artwork to promote their events/activities.

email list


Presents for the loaf lover in your life…or yourself


Be part of the rise of Real Bread!


Make a doughnation