Organic Blackberry and Apple Sourdough Loaf

Blackberry and Apple Sourdough Loaf

Making the perfect sourdough is like finding the the holy grail for bakers.

This traditional sourdough boule, filled with organic blackberries and apples is a great starting point. The recipe comes from food writer and sourdough expert Vanessa Kimbell, who runs the Sourdough School from her home in Northampton.

Allow about 3 –4 hours for the dough to be mixed, folded and shaped ready to place in the coldest part of the fridge to prove overnight.

If you're new to bread making, you can, instead of shaping the dough and putting it into a banneton, grease a 2lb bread tin liberally with butter and dust with flour and then allow the dough rise in it overnight in the fridge and then bake as per the recipe instructions below.


Blackberry and Apple Sourdough


  • A large mixing bowl
  • A round cane banneton
  • 2 clean tea towels
  • A baking stone or a Dutch oven or La Cloche
  • A large heatproof pan, a sharp knife or ‘lame’ to slash the dough with


  • 300g water
  • 100g sourdough leaven (‘starter’)*
  • 100g of stoneground organic wholemeal flour
  • 400g organic strong white flour
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • An organic Apple cored and sliced into thin slices
  • A large handful of organic blackberries
  • 25g rice flour mixed with 25g of stone ground white flour (for dusting your banneton)
  • Semolina to dust the bottom of the baking surface

Makes 1 loaf


Early evening

Mix (6:00pm)

  • In a large bowl whisk your water and starter and mix well. Add all the flour and salt and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball.
  • Cover with a clean damp cloth and let the dough rest in a cool environment for 2 hours – what bakers sometimes call Autolyse

Fold (8:30pm)

  • Lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat 3 times at 15 minute intervals with a final 15 minute rest at the end. The third fold add the apple slices and the blackberries.

Shape (9:30pm)

  • Shape the dough lightly into a ball, ensuring that the fruit is tucked inside the loaf as much as possible to prevent it catching and burning in the oven.  Then place into a round banneton that has been liberally dusted with flour (If you don’t have a banneton then use a clean old tea towel dusted with flour inside a colander – please note that blackberries can stain). Dust the top with flour, then cover with a damp tea-towel.


  • Leave your dough to one side for an hour then transfer to the fridge (about 10.30 – 11pm), and leave to prove there for 8 – 12 hours.

Bake (between 7:00 and 11:00am)

  • The next morning preheat your oven to 220°C for at least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. Place your baking stone in the oven and a large pan of boiling water underneath (or use a Dutch oven). The hydration helps form a beautiful crust.
  • Once the oven is up to temperature, carefully remove the baking stone from the oven, taking care not to burn yourself dust with a fine layer of semolina, which stops the bread sticking, then put your dough onto the baking stone and slash the top with your blade. This decides where the bread will tear as it rises. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to 180°C (and remove the lid if you are using a Dutch oven) and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes.  You need to choose just how dark you like your crust but I suggest that you bake until it is a dark brown – it tastes much better.


  • Sourdough is really best left to cool completely before slicing and is even better if left for a day to let the full flavour develop.
  • Once your sourdough has cooled, store in a linen or cotton bread bag, or wrapped in a clean tea towel.

Note: if you don’t want a crunchy crust on your sourdough bread, simply wrap your bread in a clean tea towel whilst it is still warm.

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