sourdough starter : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Could someone please give me a recipe for sourdough starter? Thanks in advance and God bless. Mary

-- Mary (, December 08, 1999


Sourdough bread is made by replacing the yeast with a sourdough starter. Before we venture in the whole world of sourdough, let's explore what yeast is. Yeast is a one celled plant, (more exactly, a fungus) which digests the sugars and starches in flour. In the process, it produces alcohol and CO2, which causes the bread to rise.

In the old days, people did not have access to dry, or cake yeast, and the only means of leavening bread was to set out a batch of flour and water, and literally letting it rot. And the rotten batter of flour and water is what today is called a sourdough starter. From a scientific perspective, the sourdough starter is a living froth of lactobacilli and yeast which live off the complex carbohydrates in the flour. Although the lactobacilli don't contribute much to the leavening process, they do produce lactic and acetic acids which both promote a very acidic environment for the yeast to live in. While yeast loves to hang out in very acidic places, other organisms don't, and thus, the lactobacilli provide a preserving environment for the yeast. Of course, the lactobacilli and the yeast interact in a much more complex way with each other. These symbiotic interactions are what makes it possible to keep a sourdough starter around for long periods of time.

The acids in the sourdough starter are exactly what gives sourdough bread it's tangy flavor. The basics of how to make sourdough bread is straight forward once you have a starter.

For example, here's a great San Francisco Sourdough recipe for two loaves:

Sponge: 1 2/3 cups unbleached bread flour 1 1/3 cups warm water 1/2 cups starter Mix until mixture reaches batter consistency Let sit until bubbly

Dough: Add the following to the sponge: 3 cups unbleached white flour 1 2/3 tsp salt Mix until mixture reaches a dough-like consistency Knead for 10 minutes Let rise until doubled Punch down Cut into 2 using a knife shape into loaves Proof until a bit more than doubled in size

Bread: Bake for 50 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees F.

Now, all you need is to learn how to make, keep, and nurture a sourdough starter. If you have read this page all the way to this point, then you should go to the next step, and become a real expert by stepping into the proof box for the full story on sourdough.

-- Carol (, December 08, 1999.


Here's a good site on the care & feeding of starters. As I recall, he has a link to a place where you can mail oreder all kinds of nifty starters:

If you like I can post a simple '49er griddlecake starter recipe that you can make at home. I know I have a Herman starter & friendship or Amish cake recipes around here too, but these are probably not exactly what you're looking for.

Health food stores often have dried sourdough starter in little packages.

-- flora (***@__._), December 08, 1999.

Here's where you can find more than you ever want to know including the address for a free starter.

-- b (, December 09, 1999.

I started a starter in my bread machine Sunday night and if it's not too ugly, I'll use it to make some bread tonight.

Try using this for the starter, and then you can make the sponge and the dough according to the recipe above.

1 cup bread flour 1 1/4 cup water 1 tsp. yeast

Mix these together (hopefully not by hand, but okay) and leave the mixture in a warm place with a cover on it for a few days, checking to see when it gets watery and bubbly.

Cut a cup off of it and save this to feed the next time.

Use the rest for your sponge recipe and go from there.

-- nothere nothere (, December 09, 1999.

good answers here...but I think you're making it too complicated! =grin=

I just take about a cup of flour, about a cup of milk and some yeast -- a teaspoon or so. I might add a wee bit of sugar. Some people use water, not milk...

make sure the container is larger than the mess you must will expand. cover and let sit out until it starts to get poufy and bubbly; you'll be able to tell easily that "it's alive!" Overnight or so might do it...

After than, stick in in the fridge. When you make bread, use a cup of your starter mix and replace what you took out with more flour and water/milk. put the starter in back in the fridge

That's all there is too it! Maybe once in a while you'll want to add a touch more yeast; maybe's your starter, do want pleases you!

Some people keep these going for years. They get more sour as time goes on. Again, you can control that by what you add and when you add it; or by removing some to make it less sour.

I once tried making a starter with wild yeasts in the merely letting a flour/water mixture sit out uncovered. Didn't work; though I've heard that some people have had success doing this. (This is also how "lambic beer" is made by the way...entirely with wild yeasts in the air...amazing...)

Good luck and have fun!

-- joe (, December 09, 1999.

try It's the Fleischmann's yeast site. Look under favorite recipes, then loaves. Has a sourdough starter. Good luck!

-- carol (, December 10, 1999.


You'd enjoy the classic "Putting Food By". It has some interesting info about yeasts; why cheese, wine & breadmaking operations were done it seperate areas, etc.

-- flora (***@__._), December 10, 1999.

yes...I have "Putting Food By" and I's a very good book!

-- joe (, December 12, 1999.

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