Sky Pilot recipe

Sky Pilot

Gothic, United States



Country of origin United States

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Sky Pilot

Since 2008

My friend Jane E. Ogilvie shared a division of her starter (Skypilot) with me in 2015 and I've been using it ever since. She developed this starter in Gothic Colorado USA in 2008. The culture that she shared with me had traveled between the US and Canada many times, to Australia, and to Florida. In my possession, it has been to North Carolina, and Texas, with many trips back to its place of origin


This culture is vigorous, resilient, and forgiving. Very soft and lactic when young culture is used, powerfully acetic when mature . Aroma is floral, tart, and grainy. Taste: Using young culture: Rich, buttery, and floral. Using mature culture: Very rich, tart, floral to honey, sharp. Very long cool fermentation sometimes yields an astonishing Parmesan aroma and flavor.

Taste & flavour

Sky Pilot top shot
Sky Pilot front shot


Starting ingredients

  • 60% Water and starter
  • 25% Bread flour
  • 15% Starter
  • 95% Bread flour
  • 4.5% Sea salt
  • 0.5% Olive oil
  • 10g Seasme seeds
  • 100% Lots of heat

Feeding ingredients

  • 20% Rye flour
  • 20% Bread flour
  • 60% Filtered water
20% rye flour, 20% bread flour, and 60% water (by volume) at each feeding. Remove 1/2 of culture and replace with above. Combine very well.
20% Rye flour 20% Bread flour 60% Filtered water
At room temperature, you should feed every 1-2 days

Working method

SPONGE: When dividing the Skypilot culture, combine the removed portion (~2/3 cup) with ~2 cups of filtered water and whip in enough bread flour to form a thick foamy liquid. Cover with plastic wrap or a well fitting lid and allow ferment 12-24 hours or until very active. It will have a strong wine and vinegar smell when it is ready.
60% Water and starter 25% Bread flour 15% Starter
Add 1-3 tsp fine sea salt and combine. Fold in bread flour, first with a wooden spoon, then by hand, until a firm but tacky and very elastic dough is formed. Knead for 2 minutes. Shape dough into a tight ball, and coat with olive oil. Place back in bowl, cover, and allow to rest.
95% Bread flour 4.5% Sea salt 0.5% Olive oil
After dough has increased in size by 1.5 to 2x (2-12 hours, depending on temperature), punch down, knead for 1 minute, re-coat in oil, and cover again. Repeat this step 1-2 more times.
After dough has increased in size by 1.5 to 2x (2-12 hours) again, punch down and fold into a tight ball, liberally sprinkle the bottom of a cast-iron pot (with a tight fitting lid) with sesame seeds, oat bran, semolina, or similar, roll the dough in the loose material to coat, and set in the vessel. Immediately score the top of the ball with a sharp knife or shears, then drizzle with olive oil.
10g Seasme seeds
Allow to rise one final time. Preheat oven to 260C with a large tray of water in the bottom. Bake with lid on and water tray present for 20 minutes, then remove water tray and lid and continue baking for 15-20 minutes longer, until the crust is a very dark red-brown.
100% Lots of heat



Skypilot makes a moist and airy loaf with a fine to medium crumb. The crust hard, crisp, and quite thin.
Sky Pilot Loaf first overview
Sky Pilot Loaf second overview

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