In the 2019 book Modern Sourdough, Michelle Eshkeri of Margot Bakery reveals how mastering the art of sourdough baking can open up a world of sweet and savory treats. The book demonstrates many of Margot Bakery’s signature loaves, as well as naturally leavened pizzas, challah, focaccia, French pastries, brioche, and babka.

The following is a baker’s loaf. The majority of the breads made at Margot contain some wholegrain for depth in the flavors and textures. This loaf holds steady with a little over 50 percent wholegrain content but the bakery changes the flours regularly utilizing Khorasan, dark spelt flour, and einkorn for variety in the mixing and in the eating. Margot also experiments with different proofing times and hydration and learns something from this bread with each bake.

Brown Bread

Makes 1 loaf
900g (2 lb)


Stage 1: Refreshment

  • 70g (2¾ oz) whole wheat flour
  • 42g (1½ oz) water
  • 35g(1¼ oz) wheat starter (8-12 hours after last refreshment)

Stage 2: Dough mix

  • 210g (7½ oz) Khorasan flour
  • 210g (7½ oz) strong white bread flour
  • 365g (12½ oz) water
  • 10g (¼ oz) sea salt
  • Rice flour, for dusting
  • Sunflower oil, for greasing


  1. Place all the stage 1 ingredients in a 500ml (17 floz) Kilner jar or container with a lid, mix, cover and leave at room temperature for 4–6 hours.
  2. Combine the flour and water for stage 2 in a large bowl and mix with a spoon or your hand until no dry patches of flour remain visible. Or, in a free standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix for 2–3 minutes on a low speed. Scrape down the sides, cover and leave for 60 minutes.
  3. Add 135g (4¼ oz) of the starter to the bowl and squeeze it through the mix with your hand – use one hand rather than two; at this stage the dough is sticky and you are better off keeping one hand free of dough to hold the bowl. Add the salt and squeeze it through the dough.
  4. Develop the dough in the bowl by hand mixing for 5–10 minutes. Alternatively, in a free standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix for 2 minutes on a low speed and 3 minutes on a medium speed.
  5. Use the sunflower oil to grease a large mixing bowl or a rectangular flat bottomed glass or plastic container with a capacity of at least 2 liters (3½ pints). Transfer the dough to the bowl or container, cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Fold the dough four times, leaving 30 minutes between each fold. Once you've completed the process, leave the dough to rest for an additional 1–2 hours.
  7. Pre-shape the dough. Rest for 30 minutes.
  8. Shape the dough into a round loaf.
  9. Transfer the dough into a banetton and then leave in the fridge for 16–24 hours.
  10. Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/gas mark 8 for 40 minutes, placing a cast iron pot inside after 20 minutes. Once it is hot, lower the bread into the pot and place the lid on top and return to the oven. Reduce the temperature to 220ºC/425ºF/gas mark 7 and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature again to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a final 10–15 minutes until it has reached the desired color.


Formulation courtesy of Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri