The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Loaf

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Loaf

I was skimming The Guardian's website and found Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Loaf.

Knowing I had a huge Costco container of sour cream, I decided to make it.

Result: Very pleased! So simple (a total of about 5 minutes of actual "work") and the "dough feel" was a revelation, especially after so little kneading.

Here's the Americanized recipe (+ an added retardation stage (overnight rise)): I wanted a fresh loaf that could go from fridge to oven to toast w. marmalade in ~1 hour.

 (recipe removed at publisher's request)

Thomaschacon: UPDATE (4/26/2012): Recipe can be found here.

shansen10's picture

Looks interesting.  I wonder if it would work substituting yogurt for the sour cream and using whole wheat flour?


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

That's far too healthy for me to contemplate. :D

I think full fat yogurt and 1/3 WW might work, but full WW would likely result in a brick. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to the guardian article.    ;)

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There are about 100 versions across the internet.

David Whitehouse's picture
David Whitehouse

There are not 100 versions of this recipe available on the internet. Generally, people are happy to provide a link to either Dan's own site, or The Guardian's pages, where the recipe can be found. That does not mean it should be re-posted elsewhere, it's not so much to ask that people wanting the recipe should generate a little traffic on the sites which have an agreement to publish it and I think that if you respect someone;s work, maybe you should respect their rights over their work.

G-man's picture

I found a lot of recipes for loaves of bread made with sour cream. Are you...I mean, I'm sorry, is Dan Lepard, through you, claiming to have complete control over these, as well?

I was mildly supportive, or at least not at all invested, before the email you wrote was posted. I'm sorry, Mr. Whitehouse, but you just don't seem like a good guy in this. You're not protecting anything, and are in fact harming your client's reputation among a group of people who would otherwise be supportive. One recipe, one single recipe, is not going to do any harm to your book sales. It may, in fact, promote them. Trying to filter information through only those sites you have hand-picked (who have perhaps paid for the privilege) is ridiculous and ultimately self-defeating, because it inevitably leads to clashes like this one.

I have a lot of books on my wish list, and while I have a reasonable budget for them I don't spend my money without a care. Consequently it takes a lot of work to get me to buy a book, and it takes almost none to get me to pass one by. You've put in an extraordinary amount of effort to convince me to take my money elsewhere.

kallisto's picture
kallisto (not verified)

what happened to all these posts in this thread???

rocketbike's picture

An account of the rather heavy-handed approaches of David Whitehouse is recorded at and in a surprising number of other places.  (Try Google!)  The thread - which centres on a take-down request from David in respect of one of Dan's recipes - makes interesting reading, especially when you get to the comments from Paul, who describes himself as a practising intellectual property lawyer and suggests

so long as there isn’t a ‘word for word’ transcription of at least a substantial part of the original recipe (and not trivial things like the names of ingredients) then it’s unlikely that any infringement of copyright has occurred.

This appears to cover most TFL contributions, where people do tend to avoid simple transcription, and want just to discuss recipes with a view to understanding or improving them. 

Mr. Whitehouse is clearly adopting a very active approach to the protection of Dan Lepard's income.  (I would have said reputation, but actually I think the effect he is having on Dan's reputation is probably in the opposite direction!)  I am quite certain that Dan is fully aware of David's activities, given that he is both Dan's partner and his business manager.   I question whether they're doing themselves any kind of service, as the bloggers they're going after have in general helped to promote awareness of Dan's work up until now. 

I stopped following Dan's own web site and moved to TFL some time ago, because of their stated policy of not allowing discussion of things that weren't to do with Dan's work.  For me Internet forums are about free discussion, and that's what I've been enjoying here for the past two and a half years.


P.S.  Along with at least one of the original contributors, I shall not be buying any Dan Lepard publications again.

lazybaker's picture

Wow. I just read the comments from that blog. LOL I'm boycotting, too. Using some kind of search software to search for his client's name and then asking people to remove the content but at the same advertise for them. That's so off-putting.

Never utter the name D-- L----- or any of the book titles again. LOL

David Whitehouse's picture
David Whitehouse

Go and read the lambsearsandhoney thread, and perhaps think about this: if someone refers to finding a Dan Lepard recipe; goes on to twice more refer to Dan by name in describing the recipe; and heads the recipe "Dan Lepard's recipe for...." is it then unreasonable to say it's a Dan Lepard recipe ? and please also note that the request I made was in the most polite and reasonable words, and that the threat of involving lawyers did not come from me. You might almost be moved to ask where the bullying or unreasonable attitude was to be found in that case.

With any problem that involves IP (or anything else they can have an opinion on), you'll find lawyers with different opinions. So for example at The UK Copyright Service, you'll find that when you suspect copyright infringement, you need to believe that "The work should be substantially similar in design, structure or content, to the degree that it can be said that the work was copied or adapted from your original". It doesn't say it needs to be a word-for-word copy, and our advice is that the belief that something has to be copied word-for-word to infringe copyright is common, but has no firm standing.

The active approach I'm taking is to do with protecting Dan's work, the way it is used and re-published, and the interests of those people who commission work from Dan. What nobody on here has yet explained is quite why it would be so difficult for links to be given to where an author has chosen to publish a recipe, and why it would be so difficult to simply click on that link, and why it's so utterly necessary to cut & paste recipes instead. A great many bloggers manage brilliantly to write interesting things, week after week, without cutting and pasting recipes. Instead, they understand that there are good reasons to direct their readers to where an author has chosen to publish, and it doesn't prevent them doing what they do. So why this obsession with posting other people's recipes ? Why not just give a link ?

I'm not quite sure why you feel that a forum on, provided by Dan Lepard, run by Dan Lepard, and moderated by Dan Lepard, should be available for other bakers to promote their careers and work. I think there's a clue in the name - It never was provided as an industry-wide or independent platform, it never claimed to be independent, and just having a quick look round a few websites provided  by other professional bakers,  I don't see Richard Bertinet, Dan Schickentanz (De Gustibus), Dean Brettschneider, The Hummingbird Bakery, Dorie Greenspan, Maggie Glezer, Jeffrey Hamelman (etc etc etc) providing a platform on their personal websites for other bakers to promote what they are doing.  Most don;t even provide a forum of any sort. And I don't say that with even a word of complaint or criticism that they've made that choice, and that we can't for example promote Dan's work via their sites - it's simply a reality of what someone's own site is usually for. So I'm not sure why you expected Dan Lepard to provide a place to promote other people's work, on his personal website. And the truth of the matter is, Dan provides a huge amount of content availalbe readily and freely on the internet, on his own site and those of commissioning publications. But we then need people to go to those sites for the recipes, and generate traffic - not just to cut & paste.

SteveB's picture

... if someone refers to finding a Dan Lepard recipe; goes on to twice more refer to Dan by name in describing the recipe; and heads the recipe "Dan Lepard's recipe for...." is it then unreasonable to say it's a Dan Lepard recipe ?

Yes, it may be unreasonable to say that, because the person who refers to 'Dan Lepard's recipe' may not be sufficiently skilled in the art to know that the recipe may have been created by someone else before Dan Lepard even thought of it.


David Whitehouse's picture
David Whitehouse

But it was a Dan Lepard recipe. No-one has ever suggested it was the world's "only" sweet potato brownie recipie, or even the "first" sweet potato brownie recipe, just that it was Dan's recipe which he'd created. In the same way, the fact that there will already be recipes out there for malted rye bread doesn't mean that nobody else can write a new recipe which is "theirs", and protected by copyright. I think you may be confusing "uniqueness" (which isn't the claim) with authorship.

SteveB's picture

Perhaps you can define what constitutes 'authorship' if uniqueness doesn't come into play.  If someone who has never heard of Dan Lepard creates a recipe which happens to be the same as one of Dan's, can that person claim authorship?  If not, then how can Dan claim authorship of a recipe which may be the same as one already created by someone else?




gmabaking's picture

and really don't care if I do again! My understanding of recipe protection is like the bracketed one in rocketbike's post. I would argue therefore that the sour cream recipe met both criteria, modified by overnight retarding and credit given to Lepard. 

I hope this thread doesn't start another War of the Words. Baking is creative, fun and always has room for growth (could that be why we love the little yeastie beasties so?)

Floydm's picture

My understanding of fair use and copyright law in the US is, indeed, that recipes proper cannot be copywritten but the expressions of the recipes can.  So if proportions are changed and instructions paraphrased, that is typically considered enough to not violate a copyright.  

I do not know if the laws are the same in the UK, Australia, or Canada and I do not know how much copyright claims can be applied across international borders.  And I most certainly am not a lawyer and would not want to have to put any of this to the test in court.

Getting beyond the pure legality, many authors and publishers take a relaxed view toward bloggers who reprint or paraphrase their recipes and credit them because they see it as a good way of getting free promotion for their works.  Others do not and prefer to take a stricter stance about policing their copyright claims.  

The bread baking world is small and in the name of keeping things civil I honor the desires of authors and publishers who contact me as best I can.  I do not believe that the recently removed recipes published by community members violated copyright laws because they were indeed personalized versions of Dan's original recipe, not exact copies, but if Dan and his publisher or business manager prefer that recipes clearly derived from recipes in his new book not be published here without their consent I ask that we honor their preference. I do agree with community members that it seems like that would reduce the amount of buzz building around the book rather than help it, but it is their call on how best to promote it.


plevee's picture

This calm, sane answer is why I really hope you will continue to own and moderate TFL.


azelia's picture

Hi Floyd

I have always held The Fresh Loaf forum a site apart from other forums because whenever I've browse here I've never seen personal spats on threads.

I am a great supporter of Dan and David but I hope that fact will not cloud over how you and others on here read what I'm saying and read this without prejudice.

I first noticed this thread over the weekend while I was away and it sadden me greatly reading it as it disintegrating into a personal tone against David.  By all means debate the subject, it is what lawyers and courts do, but there's a line for me between discussing a contraversial subject and making the argument personal as this thread became.

Dan and David are not the first ones to ask for their work to be removed and won't be the last, and I'm sure this debate will continue, what I was hoping for in this otherwise great space was some decorum from those posters.



dabrownman's picture

at all with someone wanting to protect their original work from duplication without permission.  They too should not have any problem with someone boycotting their site, not purchasing their books and telling the Internet world why they are doing so and asking other like minded folks to do the same.

It's a free country for everyone - or no one.


David Whitehouse's picture
David Whitehouse

Because what you're actually saying is that if you're prevented from cutting & pasting the work of a professional baker and food writer when you want to, you'll try to go out of your way to harm him or her, and you think that's reasonable. And where would you like it to end ? With what you've done, or at the next stage, where someone goes out of their way to say on the internet and to your neighbours and employer that what you're doing is perhaps not moral, and reflects badly on you ? Or at the step after that, where writers find that the only way they can protect their work is by having websites closed down ? What's really so strange here is that what I've done is ask that a writer's work should be respected, I'm not affecting your fundamental liberties or even stopping you finding a recipe where publication has been approved. And still, nobody has explained what would be so difficult about giving a link to a recipe rather than cutting & pasting it.

dabrownman's picture

I should not have included telling others on the Internet why they are boycotting your clients products and website.   It is not something I would do myself and I should not have encouraged it for others to do either and I apologize. 

fermento's picture

Sad to see yet another thread on TFL getting out of hand, with some posters resorting to namecalling and unsubtle threats of retaliation.

I see no problem with any original recipe being linked to rather than transcribed - or any legal requirements being honored, including fair use/modification. 

Mr Whitehouse has been polite, has gone out of his way to explain the background reasons for his requests, and has a right to ask that legal rights be respected, without being attacked for doing so.

And more importantly Dan Lepard remains one of the icons of breadmaking, and nothing here has changed my admiration for him and his great recipes.

What more is there to say?

Can we all show a bit more tolerance, and move on?


sandydog's picture

I joined this site to enhance my knowledge in making great bread, by listening to better bakers - Not to learn about Patent or Copyright Law.

Our pages have been clogged up with this for a little while now, it is becoming tiresome, and is unlikely to lead(er) anywhere pleasant.

I think fermento's last sentence sums it up for me, and also Floyd wrote earlier "I ask that we honor their (Dan Leader's people) preference"

What's wrong with that?   We all would prefer it if our own requests were honoured without too much hoohah.

Happy baking,



blacktom's picture

There's an interesting article on a similar subject from The Guardian website:

In any case, it would seem to me that there are two excellent reasons for including the actual recipe in a post, and not simply a link:

  • Pages get updated, and links get broken.
  • As a user, I don't particularly want to make a new connection to retrieve a recipe that could just as easily have been included in the original post. Anyone with a less-than-lightspeed network connection and a creaky old PC will understand this.

Don't sue me.

hanseata's picture

I'm sorry to see that a ( in my opinion reasonable)  request to not just copy, but rather include a link to the original recipe can lead to such partially acerbic discussion.

I read Dan Lepard's recipes in the Guardian's online weekend edition regularly, and made several of them with very good results. He answers questions and comments in a friendly, and sometimes very humorous way, and he even replies to tweets or on facebook (other food authors often don't bother).

Only because of this positive experience I just purchased his book "The Art of the Handmade Loaf" (as if I didn't have enough baking book already). And his dessert book is on my wish list.



G-man's picture

What bugs me is that they're extending their copyright claims into areas that are traditionally free of that, and with good reason. Recipes are edited, people have difficulties with them, people use them as they wish and they share the good ones over and over again. Now that we're allowing copyright goons to sniff down and kill anything that does more than mention the recipe in the exact manner they dictate, it's really only a matter of time until you can't repost a recipe, even one you created, if it vaguely resembles the work of another person who happens to have a Mr Whitehouse clone waiting in a vat to pull out whenever they feel an itch.

This same thing has happened in every area where trademark, copyright, and patent laws are involved. The problem is that the burden of proof rests on the accused, in a total perversion of legal standard. This means the accuser can (and will) make claims against anyone and everyone they view as even slightly threatening. If you need an example, google something (anything) and scroll down to the bottom. Google tells you how many pages were removed from your search results because of copyright claims. Note, they have removed these sites from the results because of a claim of copyright infringement, not because that claim has any merit. They do so to avoid legal expenses, because they would have to prove there is no infringement. The accuser doesn't need any proof. It's a witch hunt.

Mr. Lepard, in his haste to claim that his material is his pure creative work (despite the existence of many sour cream sandwich loaf recipes, which Mr Lepard must have been completely unaware of), has really just made the problem worse. This site isn't really big enough to make fair use claims and fight a copyright battle, even though the way the recipe was posted was a fair use and everybody (even Mr Whitehouse) knows it. The only reason (the ONLY reason) he cracked down on it was to get more hits filtered through the Mr. Whitehouse-approved site, which very likely paid him.

And that's really it for why it bothers me. Mr Whitehouse is abusing legal precedent for personal gain. It's cynical and disgusting. That Mr Lepard approves of Mr Whitehouse tarnishes him through association.

(Edit: cleaned up a little bit, clarified a point.)