Just so that I understand


Okay -
I would have checked the tutorials - but they are unavailable.

I have got my starter going, found a recipe online that looked and sounded like it would be a sour one. Got it going a few hours ago, and have it in my hot water closet to keep it warm ( it is going into winter here ). It is in a glass jar, covered with a dish towel. and after 4 hours it is bubbling like crazy (it did use a packet of yeast to start).

So now I just leave it? Do I stir it every few days, is it like wine in the fact that I need to punch it down 2x a day?
Leave it in the closet for a week, and then I can put it in the fridge?

If I understand correctly, once it is soured 3-6 days? I can start to use it. When I use it - I for example take 1 cup of the starter out and replace with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Then I use the starter that I took out in my bread or pancakes or waffles or........

Or do I have it backwards - I take it out of the fridge, add 1/2 cup flour & 1/2 cup water, stir and leave for 12 hours (perhaps in my heater closet) then use the 1 cup starter?

So many questions,I probably don't sound too coherrant, but my mind is excited at the possibilities.

Thank you for the answers, I look forward to learning.


13 users have voted.


carla's picture
carla 2007 November 25

Hi kilroy,

When you start a sourdough you only need water and flour and some warmth (25 to 30 degrees C max.).

Use a very clean glass jar with a lid, so the water/flour mix is not drying out. Leave for approx. 5 days, stirring every 12 hours (mornings and evenings will do fine). By which time it should have started to go sour and have the first bubbles. If it goes moldy or starts to have bright colours throw it out and start again.

Usually the sour bacteria will develop first and the yeasts later. This is the reason why a lot of "recipes" tell you to start a dough with some bakers yeast. So you can start baking within a few days.

However the selected yeasts that are the bakers yeast of today (they were originally selected out of a sourdough of course) are not very fond of a sour environment and so will slowly die as the sourdough gets more sour. Then the natural yeasts will develop which came originally on the outside of the grains you milled to get the flour. However these will have to wait until the yeasts you have introduced will disappear and so in fact one prolongs the formation of a stable sourdough by the introduction of bakers yeast.

This also why most people use a bit of bakers yeast in their first few breads to give the young sourdough a bit of a hand. However the yeast only goes into the bread dough - NOT into the sourdough!

It is easier to maintain a rye sourdough as it gets more sour and keeps better than a wheat sourdough if you do not bake every few days. You can use a spoonful of rye sourdough and feed it with wheat for 3 times and you have a wheat sourdough.

So once you have your starter you can start baking. To get the sourdough fit for baking one usually feeds it up a few times. The reason being to develop the taste (sour bacteria) and yeasts to do a good job of flavouring and rising the bread.

There are sourdough calculators on the net which will tell you how much sourdough starter you need for how much dough and how much water and flour to add at each stage and at what temperature to keep it for how long. It is quite a complicated process if you want to get good and repeatable results.

However you can play along without getting too technical once you get the hang of it and know how the stuff needs to look, feel and smell. To start off with however it is quite a good idea to get quite involved and learn as much as you can. Google "Detmold 3 stage sourdough" and see if there are any English translations available.

Good luck!

kilroy 2007 November 26

Carla -
Thank you very much for the info, it was very informative. I am definately looking forward to making some bread. I make my own wine and Yoghurt, would make my own cheese if I had the room, I have a sausage filler and meat grinder, so I will start to make my own sausage soon too.



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