Sourdough September

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

Montage: realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA 4.0. Separate copyright exists for each photo

Montage: realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA 4.0. Separate copyright exists for each photo

Events  Classes  Bakeries  Recipes  Information 


Wild thing, you make my loaf spring

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 aims of #SourdoughSeptember are to:

  • Share the delicious delights of genuine sourdough
  • Encourage more people to bake genuine sourdough
  • Create a showcase for 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 

Buy your limited-edition FLOUR WATER SALT TIME t-shirt and apron

Mother mother, take me where life's sweeter

See also 

What is sourdough?

Sourdough isn’t a look, taste 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 very fashionable right now, sourdough is actually 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

Pan-demic

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

This year we've welcomed many #LockdownLoafers around the world starting (or resuming) love affairs with sourdough bread, some baking or buying it for the first time. Meanwhile, many Real Bread bakeries have reported experiencing a surge in demand for theirs.

Sourdough September builds on this passion, encouraging people who’ve only tried one type of bread made using a sourdough starter to buy or bake others.

Sourdough social

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

YOU can join the fun with 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 with a loaf of genuine sourdough bread you've baked or bought from a Real Bread bakery. Remember, we want to see YOU in these photos!

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

#SourdoughNewbie if you had not baked sourdough before this time last year.

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

The best shots for us are high resolution, horizontal (rather than vertical) and at least 1200 x 800 pixels - see articles in our news and features pages to see what we mean. Square photos are good, too.

...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...

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 donation (eg 50p-£1) to Sustain, the charity that runs the Real Bread Campaign, onto customers’ bills would be amazing, please!

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.

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.

We'll be doing a short survey in early October, which will ask questions like:

Hobby bakers

Did you bake a loaf of sourdough for the first time? Did you start your own starter culture? Did you attend 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 money for our charity, you can send it to us via our dougnations 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.

...and don't forget to take PHOTOS!

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.

This year will see a rise in online sourdough classes, workshops and other virtual get-togethers.

Find and ADD details of 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 mailing list of your favourite local Real Bread bakery, baking school etc.

Highlights of past years

Include:

  • 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 fungalnetwork.com 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, 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.

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 full details

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.

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.


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