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Cleo the Friendship Bread


We at Forgotten Feast have sent our sourdough starter Cleo into the wide world. We were Inspired by Herman the German Cake and also our feelings about food waste. At Forgotten Feast we feel that bringing value to your food helps you waste less. Making your own bread is a very enriching experience. Cleo is 9 months old and still very young. She must be looked after with great care to ensure she grows strong and can be passed from friend to friend. That way she will grow to be hundreds of years old and live all over the world!

Keep your ears to the ground and Cleo the friendship bread will be coming to you soon.

We have made a short video blog about Cleo, check it out here.

If you have any questions about Cleo’s progress please comment below or tweet @tomsfeast

Here is a copy of her caring instructions for those of you that need them:

Hello, This is Cleo the friendship bread. Look after her so you can share her with 3 friends and transform the rest into a delicious sourdough loaf!

Cleo thrives in the warm and sleeps when its cold. Put her in the fridge until the day before you want to make bread.

Cleo needs yeast for food, there are plenty of wild yeasts on flour and in the air to feed Cleo. She especially loves good organic bread flour and even better wholemeal which has plenty of natural sugars ideal for yeast growth.

The day before you make bread: Feed Cleo 12-16 hours before making a loaf of sourdough bread. e.g. If you want to make bread at 11am, feed Cleo between 8 -11pm the night before. If you want to make bread at 7pm, feed Cleo at 7am the same day.

To Feed: Simply add Cleo to 7 heaped dessert spoons of flour and enough warm water to make a thick batter, and stir. Leave in a warm place in your kitchen and label ‘Cleo, leave me be’ so that no-one throws her away.

Is Cleo active? After about 12 hours Cleo should be bubbly and just about float in water. It will have a sweet, milky sourness to the smell. If Cleo is inactive, pour most of it into the compost (or make sourdough pancakes)! Then repeat the feeding cycle by adding 7 spoons of flour and enough water to make a thick batter. After another 12 hours Cleo should be active, if not, be patient and repeat.

Friendship bread: Before making your bread take 3 pots or jam jars and place a dessert spoon of bubbly Cleo in each. Write a friends name on each lid and pass them on with a copy of these caring instructions or link to If you want to keep making Cleo put a little pot for yourself in the fridge too.

Now make Cleo into a loaf of bread

1) Measure 650g of warm water. Add the rest of Cleo to the water with 1 level teaspoon of dried yeast and 4 level teaspoons of salt. Stir to dissolve. If Cleo is very bubbly and about twice the size, you can try using no yeast at all… Just remember to increase each rest to 3 hours instead of 1 1/2.

2) Add 1 kg of organic bread flour and mix until fully combined. Knead Cleo for 10 minutes. Try not to add too much flour or Cleo will be dry.

Cleo needs a rest. Leave her for 1 1/2 hours (or 3 without yeast) covered with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place.

3) Cleo should have grown. Shape Cleo by folding the outside to the middle rotating a quarter and repeating 4 or five times. Now flip Cleo so the smooth side is up and put her onto a large baking tray, sprinkle with flour and cover her with a damp tea towel.

Cleo now needs a final rest for 1 1/2 hours (or 3 without yeast) in a warm place before she’s ready to bake. After 1 hour pre-heat the oven onto its highest temperature 250-280° c.

4) Score the top of Cleo with a bread knife 3 times across the top so that she grows in the oven as much as possible. Put her straight into the oven on the middle shelf. After 15 minutes turn the temperature down to 160° C. Leave her for another 45 minutes. Then remove and cool on a rack or propped up so that air can circulate around her.

Enjoy! Check out for recipes and comments or tweet @tomsfeast

Cleo d.o.b. November 2012 parented by Forgotten Feast.

When Cleos really active she should be Bubbly


Dough shaped into loaves. These loaves are being proved upside down so they will be flipped for baking


View more of Cleo’s tree  |
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Posted by: Tom on May 17, 2012 @ 9:39 am
Filed under: Tom's News & How To's


  1. Im happy to answer any queries about Cleo’s progress to make sure she is healthy and growing strong….?

    Comment by Tom — May 17, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  2. [...] Over time, twitter fear has become twitter fun, and the people I have met through twitter have introduced me to awesome things, one of which is Cleo The Friendship Bread. [...]

    Pingback by Cleo The Friendship Bread « tastyribbons — June 3, 2012 @ 11:40 am

  3. I want to keep Cleo going but don’t eat enough bread to make sourdough every few days. Is there a feeding pattern I can put her on to keep her alive so that I can make bread whenever I’m ready?



    Comment by Bec — July 4, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  4. [...] Tom Hunt, a Eco-Chef, blogger, restauranteur @TomsFeast and food waste activist was giving away, Cleo, the sourdough starter, and I quickly snapped up this very sought after concoction. Since then I've [...]

    Pingback by Sourdough Bread | The Descrier — July 4, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  5. [...] Over time, twitter fear has become twitter fun, and the people I have met through twitter have introduced me to awesome things, one of which is Cleo The Friendship Bread. [...]

    Pingback by Sourdough Bread, Cleo The Friendship Bread, BLT, BLT Sandwich - The Lazy Baker — July 17, 2012 @ 7:42 am

  6. Hi, Tom. Someone gave me a small jar of Cleo at the Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy, last month. If that was you, could you please email me at I’m a California journalist and would like to write about Cleo on my website,

    (Commenters, I would be delighted to include your comments, too, in my story.)

    OK, I’m off to feed Cleo now. :)

    Comment by Doni Chamberlain — November 9, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

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