Your Questions About Sourdough Starter

Mark asks…

Does anyone have a good sourdough starter recipe?

I am in search for a good sourdough starter that you feed every 3-5 days.

sourdough answers:


1 pack yeast
2 c. Warm water
2 c. Flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and stir until blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 48 hours. When ready, it will be bubbly with a yellowish liquid on top. When some is removes, add 1 cup each of flour and water to replace each cup of starter. Stir and cover with wrap until bubbly. Store in refrigerator, covered with a loose fitting lid.


Crusty on the outside soft and fragrant inside. 3 loaves.

1 c. Sourdough starter
6 c. Unbleached flour, plus some for kneading
1 pkg. Yeast
2 c. Warm water
1 tbsp. Salt

Combine in a warm bowl the sourdough starter, 1 cup of warm water and 2 cups flour. Stir to blend and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand overnight in a warm, but not hot place.
Dissolve the yeast in remaining cup of warm water. Add the yeast to the starter mixture. Add the salt and 4 cups of flour and stir to blend well.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured board and knead patiently, adding more flour to the kneading surface as necessary. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball.

Rub a mixing bowl lightly with oil and add the ball of dough. Flop it around in the bowl until it is coated with grease.

Cover with a cloth and let stand in a warm place. The temperature should be 85 to 90 degrees. Let stand until double in bulk. The rising time will take from 1 to 1.5 hours.

If bread molds are to be used, grease enough molds for 3 loaves with oil or Pam. Or grease a baking sheet with oil and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.

Punch the dough down when it is double in bulk and turn it onto an unfloured surface. Slice the dough into 3 equal parts.

Using the hands, shape 1 portion of dough at a time on a flat surface. Roll the dough into a long ropelike shape. Roll the dough back and forth under the palms until it is more or less uniform in diameter from one end to the other. Each rope should be about 1 inch shorter than the molds or the baking sheet.

Place the dough in the molds or on sheet. Place the molds uncovered in a warm place and let stand until double in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Holding a razor blade on the bias, slash each loaf 3 or 4 times lightly on the top. The slashes should be about 1/8 or slightly deeper. If desired, the dough may be brushed lightly with water, milk or lightly beaten egg or egg whites. This is to give color.

Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes or longer. If the loaves should expand and join each other at the sides, pull them apart and reverse their positions in the molds.

Remove the loaves from the oven and remove them from the molds or baking sheet. Place them on racks so that air can circulate freely.

George asks…

How do you make a sourdough starter for future baking?

Im making my sourdough starter now. But when i actually make the sourdough bread, what do I do with the dough to preserve a starter? Before baking do I pinch some dough off and keep it in a jar or what do I do?

sourdough answers:

When you make bread using a sourdough do not use all of the starter. Usually you have ..say 2 cups of starter and your recipe will require 1 cup. For the remaining 1 cup of starter, you add equal amounts of water and flour to make up for what you removed…..
2 cups of starter
Use 1 cup in your recipe.
To the remaining 1 cup of starter you add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour and stir it in.
You will never run out of starter.
Here is a link to a website which tells everything you ever wanted to know about your sourdough starter.


Maria asks…

Can I proof a sourdough starter that uses milk overnight?

I have a Herman sourdough starter that uses milk instead of water. I need to know if I can proof it overnight, or if it will go bad because of the milk. Thanks for the help.

sourdough answers:

As I understand it, the species of lactobaccillus (bacteria) that is desirable for sourdough starter (because it forms a symbiotic relationship with the wild yeast) is NOT the species often found in milk or other milk products such as yogurt.

Plus, milk and yogurt (especially from commercial dairies) can contain antibiotics (bacteria killers) used to treat/prevent udder diseases.
It can also contain trace (but enough to kill the bacteria in your starter) disinfectants used to sterilize milking equipment.

I’m not saying using milk will guarantee failure of your starter; you might get lucky.
Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work.

Also, I see from one web site that said Herman starter is made with commercial/instant (aka “Baker’s”) yeast.
Baker’s yeast is refined by man to be a single species of yeast.
The wild yeasts in true sourdough is often a mixture of multiple species of wild yeast, none of which are the type in commercial yeast.

In essence, commercial yeast is made to “live fast and die young,” which is great if you want to make bread and only wait an hour or so for each rising.*
However, it’s not what you want if you desire your starter to self-perpetuate a long time (years).
Wild yeasts thrive in a slightly acidic ph dough (the lactobacilli contribute this acidity).
Commercial yeast thrives best in neutral ph or even slightly alkaline.

If you don’t want to buy an established sourdough starter from a reputable source such as King Arthur or Sourdoughs International, in my opinion your best bet is to try making your starter with ONLY flour and water.


* Sourdough usually needs a couple “proofings” of eight to twelve hours; this is to give the lactobacilli time to create the acid that contributes the sour taste not found in non-sourdough breads.
Commercial yeast was essentially created because commercial bakers didn’t want to wait that long.
Eventually, neither did home bread makers and instant yeast became a great time-saver — at the sacrifice of wonderful sourdough taste.

Paul asks…

My sourdough starter is getting a pasty white color, what do I need to do to get it back to normal?

My sourdough starter is getting a pasty white color, what do I need to do to get it back to normal?

sourdough answers:

Well, first off make sure that there is actualy something wrong with your starter. A change in color can simply be a natural progression in the growth of your yeast community. Use some to bake a loaf of bread. If it rises well and tastes good, then there is no problem.

It doesn’t rise well or tastes off, then you might have too little acid or too little food. Both of these can be corrected by the proper feeding of your starter. When you feed your starter, you should remove some of the starter and either use it, give it away (if anyone you know wants a start), or just through it away. I usualy will remove a cup. You then replace the removed starter with an equal amount of food (whatever flour-water ratio you are useing).

If your starter is unrefrigerated, then this should be done each day for the healthiest starter. If you refrigerate it, you will only need to do this about once a week.

If your starter is in very bad shape (won’t rise or tasts realy bad) you will need to take a couple table spoons of the starters and put it in a fresh container of food. Throw away the rest. It will take a little time before this will be a healthy starter and can be used to bake with.

Nancy asks…

What is my sourdough starter supposed to look like??

I made a sourdough starter about 36 hours ago. The recipie says it is done when the vigorous bubbling stops. Does it start bubbling right away or when it starts to ferment?? Is it supposed to separate between the stirring times?

sourdough answers:

Sourdough starter will separate due to the flour being heavier than the water part. It is ok, just stir when you need to use it or add to it. The color will depend on how old it is and as long as it isn’t moldy and green, yours is ok. It will get darker with age. As long as it has that sour wonderful aroma it is alright. Remember cowboys carried it around on pretty rough ground in wagons and slept with it in winter to keep it warm and I am sure it wasn’t under our hygenic kitchen standards! The main thing is to remember to feed it as needed or when you take some out to use.

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