The oldest starter?

Hi Everyone!

Just for a bit of fun, and out of interest.... who here thinks they have the oldest (or knows about the oldest, somewhere else) continuously subcultured starter?

371 users have voted.


ScottC 2009 July 3
Also, I forgot to mention that this thread is my first post! I'm pretty new to this bread making business, so thanks to everyone for the great posts and great forum!
Sean Athair 2017 March 6

This is what amazes me about sourdough -- mine is only two years old -- it can last forever if it is fed and cared for.  When you eat sourdough bread, you can taste eternity.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 July 3

An interesting thread, indeed.

My starter has been well-travelled...Simpson's Ranch in Sierra Nevada foothills --> a former librarian of Sutter's Fort --> Cambridge, UK --> Me in Malaysia. There could be some missing links along the line, but, it possibly dates back to the prospecting days.



ScottC 2009 July 3
Mine is supposedy 'about 70 years old', but I can't actually vouch for that for certain! It's just what I was told!
PeteInAz. 2009 July 16

My starter is a week and a half old.

That's the oldest starter I've ever had...

So far... So good. I've gotten three loaves and 4 dozen muffins out of it.

The muffins have been pretty good, the loaves... I'm working on them.

ScottC 2009 July 16
Well I hope my potentially-70-year-old starter hasn't died after all this... in winter, our house is pretty cold, since we're out all day at work. I normally leave it in our pantry rather than in the fridge, since there's not too much difference! But my in-laws visited last week and they're from a much warmer part of the country. They were at home the whole time, with the heater on! I didn't think of it until it was too late, and my starter had gone crazy and overflowed everywhere! It might need a bit of extra TLC to bring it back!
gingerbreadgirl's picture
gingerbreadgirl 2010 May 8

Mine oldest one is a wheat one from 1857.  I live in the UK.  It was given to me by an American friend who got it from her college room mate who got it from a friend of hers who got it from his grandmother and it had been in her family in the US since it's birth.  It's amazing really, and often sits around in my fridge for years without being used.  Whenever I pull it out and refresh it, it just bounces back.

I just started a "sour dough share save scheme" that people in the UK can sign up for to get some of this starter - just for fun really. People sign up on the web and go on the list and when you go on the list you commit to refreshing the starter when you receive it and then sending some on to to the next person on the list who refreshes it and sends it on, etc etc. 

radioemma 2012 August 6

Hello gingerbreadgirl,

I work on BBC Radio 4's Food Programme. I would be very interested in talking to you about your starter dating back to 1857. Please can you send me an email to [email protected]

Many thanks,


CayoKath 2012 September 3

There was a story some months back in the Denver Post about an old rancher woman in Colorado who still summers at her high ranch.  Her old starter is only 50 years or so old.  Here's the link to the story in case anyone cares to read about the not so rare tough old gal (we've many tough old folk here).

YlenAbreu 2016 February 20

The oldest active one, I know is in France, sec XVI. active boulangerie, still selling only 200 loafs per day. The line starts one day before.

Mine is only 18, I´ve made it and all its life stills with me. Good information for some pals who think that after two months they are dead!

Anonymous 2016 March 13

Mine might not be the oldest - in fact only a week old. But this is the 3rd time that I have successfully started a batch of sourdough stater in the tropical heat of monsoon season on the island of Bali! Much to the surprise of the locals who cannot understand why I would want my dough to turn sour.....

Barbara Anderson 2016 March 26

My starter is ~22 years old. It began in Tucson as a science experiment about yeasts whilst home-schooling my children in 1994 (pre-Internet years). It sat in the back of my refrigerator for > 10 years because I couldn't figure out how to make a "sour" loaf.  All the recipes I got from the library had added commercial yeast in the ingredients. Then, while rummaging around the back of my fridge around 2004, I decided to research on the 'net and found this site. I was able to get the starter healthy and have made some fabulous bread ever since. My friends have all been gifted with it as well. 

Chuck 2016 April 5

I purchased my starter from King Arthur flour which is 250 years old according to their advertizing.  I've made sourdough this n' that for about 2 years now.  That puts the birth of my starter back to around 1766.  

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