Recipe for traditional Greek sourdough bread

Recipe for traditional Greek sourdough bread
A well “fermented” recipe by Marina S.

sourdough bread recipe greece

(To read the recipe in Greek click here)

The sourdough starter

Adding the sourdough starter to the flourIngredients
1 cup flour
¾ of a cup bottled water (tap water contains chlorine which kills the fungus)
Some olive oil for preservation in the refrigerator
Process time approximately 6 days

1) Mix the flour with the water thoroughly so that the gluten will evenly spread and leave the resulting -thick- batter covered with a towel at room temperature for 2 days

2) After 2 days, add ½ cup flour and less than ½ cup water and knead again. Leave covered with the towel for another 2 days so that it will become sour. Be careful not to add much flour because the fungi will not work well as the mixture will get over saturated with flour!

3) On the 4th day the starter will have turned sour. We then repeat the process with ½ cup of flour and slightly less than ½ cup of water to make for a strong starter

4) We then use as much starter as needed for the bread and for the remaingn we add some flour and knead it until it becomes a dough

5) Finally, we put the dough in a container, big enough to allow for its subsequent expansion, and let it rise covered with olive oil. We then refrigerate it for maintenance

NOTE: The quantity of starter required for making the bread is about 10% -15% of the dough

The “reanimation” of the sourdough

Sourdough starterIngredients
1 tablespoon sourdough
125gr flour
125ml luke warm water

1) Τhe day before we knead we remove the container with the sourdough from the fridge and let it naturally rise to room temperature (the sourdough will be deflated, it does not matter)

2) Put the sourdough into another container, add 125ml water and 125gr flour, stir until it becomes a thick batter or soft dough

3) Cover the container with a towel and let at room temperature overnight to rise. Bear in mind that a starter made with a strong flour (e.g. yellow) will need 10-12 hours to rise, while a starter made with white flour about 8 hours

4) The next day is kneading day!

The sourdough bread

Sourdough bread baked in a wood fired traditional Greek ovenIngredients

1kg of flour
600ml-650ml bottled water (depending on flour)
2 tsp salt (depending on your taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sourdough (about 150gr)

1) Add the salt to the flour and mix well. Make a puddle in the middle and add the sourdough we have “reanimated” along with the water

2) Pour the water little by little and with strong movements grab small amounts of flour from the sides of the bowl

Recipe for traditional Greek sourdough bread | Rub the dough with olive oil and cover it with a towel so that it will not make a crust, and then put it for about 2 hours in the basket or "Pinakoti" as it is called in Greece until it doubles in size3) Slowly knead the dough until the flour has absorbed all the water and does not stick. If the dough requires some more water towards the end of kneading then just wet your hands and knead. This is to avoid getting more water than needed which might ruin all your efforts up to now!

4) Rub the dough with olive oil and cover it with a towel so that it will not make a crust, and then put it for about 2 hours in the basket or “Pinakoti” as it is called in Greece until it doubles in size

5) When the dough doubles in size we use our fists to reduce it, we then wrap it with a towel and put it back into the basket and then let it stand for about 8-10 hours (if we are in a playful mood we can repeat the procedure a few more times, but for much less time so that the dough will mature even more). After the second rising of the dough we keep a small piece of it, about 300gr, for the next time we knead

Almost ready, the stones of the stone oven are off-white, a sign that the temperature is ideal for baking the sourdough breadNOTE 1: The last rising of the dough must be done in the pan that will be used for baking, which we must oil and flour lightly prior to baking. The oven must be in the right temperature when the the rising of the dough is complete

NOTE 2: When you bake in an electric oven make sure there is enough moisture and that mid baking you slightly reduce the temperature a procedure done naturally  in a wood fired oven

6) Before putting the dough in the oven, slightly mark the top surface with a sharp knife about ~ 1mm deep, just use the weight of the knife, and then spray the surface with some water to get a crispy crust

7) After about 40 minutes remove the bread from the pan and let bake for another 20 minutes standing on the bottom of the (wood) oven. Baking time may vary depending on the type of oven used

A moist cloth on top of the bread for a few minutes helps to make it crustier


  • Prefer bottled water because the tap water contains chlorine which does not let the sourdough do it’s job!
  • Sieve the flour before using it
  • If for any reason you decide to add yeast to the sourdough, dissolve it in warm water (ambient temperature ~30°C)
  • When kneading be “gentle” with the dough as it is a “living organism” and likes to be treated gently…
  • Once the crust acquires the colour you like during baking you can cover the bread with a baking sheet to prevent it from further darkening
  • As soon as you remove the bread from the oven place in it on a rack to allow moisture to evaporate
Have fun!