Sourdough September

The annual international celebration that life’s sweeter with sourdough!

Events  Classes  Bakeries  Recipes  Information 


Wild thing, you make my loaf spring

Since 2013, the ninth month of the year has 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
  • Alert people to the issue of sourfaux to help people avoid paying a premium for something that just isn't genuine sourdough
  • Encourage people to join and/or donate to the Real Bread Campaign

Are you in? Great!

See also 

How to get involved

From 1-30 September, Real Bread bakers and other fermentalists worldwide are encouraged to organise their own local events and activities to help share sourdough secrets and demystify the delicious delights of the oldest way of raising a loaf.

Bakeries, baking schools, mills and other organisations/enterprises are encouraged to organise events/activities designed to meet one or more of the aims above in any way that works for them.

Here are some more ideas of activities bakeries, baking schools and others can organise:

  • Run sourdough Real Bread or pizza classes
  • Put on a Sourdough September special loaf
  • Give away free pots of your sourdough starter to customers, along with a Real Bread recipe to make at home
  • Add an optional donation (eg 50p-£1) to our charity onto customers’ bills - perhaps limit this to the special, other nominated sourdough loaf (or pizza), or the pots of starter
  • Join forces with local brewers, charcutiers, picklers, cheese makers for a feast of fermentation
  • Host a sourdough toast and tea morning

Once you decide, please ADD details to the Real Bread Campaign calendar

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 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 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.

Bakeries and baking schools: Please email to us:

  • The number of people who get involved in your class/event/activity and/or took away pots of starter.
  • Photos of people doing stuff at your event. Activity, not just standing there in a row, or basic bread shots, please. We might publish this so please include the name of the photographer to credit.
  • Links to any media coverage for your event that we haven't listed

Please email this to realbread [at] sustainweb.org

If you raise 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. 

Everyone else: Did you bake a loaf of sourdough for the first time? Did you start your own starter culture? If you attended an event run run by someone else, please send your own photos of people doing stuff (not just standing there in a row, or basic bread shots, please) and email them to realbread [at] sustainweb.org

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 calendar

Many more will be added to the calendar much closer to (and during) September.

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 is an initiative of 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 to keep raising money to do it.

Can we count on your support?

Great!

First off - please remember to 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.

Show us the money!

If you run a fundraising event or activity during Sourdough September, it would be great if you could send what you raised to us by the end of May, please. You can do this in two ways:

  1. For amounts under £100, please send a cheque: made payable to Sustain (NOT the Real Bread Campaign) and sent to us at Sustain, Development House, 56 - 64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT
  2. For amounts over £100, please email us for our bank details: realbread [at]sustainweb.org

We'll be publishing a roll of honour of all fundraisers. 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 was published on 13 September 2016 (USA) and 15 September (UK) 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 may have health benefits, too...

For much more about sourdough, click here.

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, artificial 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:

  • added commercial yeast
  • dried sourdough powder
  • sourdough concentrate
  • yoghurt, vinegar, or other non-sourdough acidifier
  • flavourings, preservatives and other artificial additives

Baked products made using such things are what 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 Twitter during September using the #sourfaux hashtag.

Learn to bake sourdough Real Bread

You can find more than 100 places to learn to bake Real Bread on our classes and courses page, 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, visit our Real Bread Finder and check what sorts of loaves they've listed.

Sourdough September logo and posters

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


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