Sourdough Culture


Hi all,

Some years ago I lost my sourdough culture and just recently I tried to make another.  It seem to me that I may have the lactobacillus without the wild yeast.  Is that possible?  I thought the yeast was there but then it was gone.

172 users have voted.


Phredd 2011 December 7

The short,

My newly acquired concoction bubbled up happily when fed and smelled pleasantly sour until I used it to make some bread. The bread dough didn’t rise even a little and the replenished culture didn’t get bubbly but it did smell, well, sour. I added commercial yeast to the bread dough in order to salvage it and it tasted quite good.


The long,

There is a wild yeast rumored to haunts the Midwestern plains. This beast yeast rather, is part of a gang that creates a sourdough so potent that it can make a sailor blush, a drill Sargent hide his face and a goose pucker! I resolved to capture this mob by enticing it to settle in for the winter while it was half-dormant and unsuspecting. I created a trap to lure them in and snare the entire bunch. Flour, water, bread pan, cheeses cloth and some miniature patio furniture and tiny umbrellas all sitting in the warm sun. Sure enough they came and multiplied, but I fear that just as I sprang the trap the wild yeast beast escaped leaving only the underlings.

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 December 7

Hello Phredd,

Good yarn.

The yeasts and bacteria reside in the flour and don't generally drift around in the air.

A lot of people would vouch for the fact that you can't go far wrong if you follow the methods outlined on this site in SourDom's beginners blogs.

Don't give up.  Not sure how long you've been getting your culture going but early in their life there are often a couple of cycles of apparent activity/inactivity as the biological make-up of the culture changes and stabilises.

Let us know how you go.


HopesHope 2011 December 11

I disagree with Farinam in saying that the yeast and bacteria is in the flour alone.   Yeast and bacteria is all over, it's in our house, outside, on our skin, in our hair etc.  It doesn't only rely upon the flour to live.  


With respects of your yeast getting real sour, I live in the plains of Canada, and it's true, a few months after I had a successful starter, it turned extremely sour, and I started mine in the dead of winter.  However, having said that, it is no longer extremely sour, it's very mild but yet really good.


Don't give up, keep baking with it, and in a few months it may get that sour pucker you want to achieve.


Wild yeast takes on a life of its own, and will go through many transformations during its life. 

chazzone 2011 December 11

 Phredd, nice to read another Yank on these pages.  I'm here in Indiana, and when I decided to make a starter this Fall, I used locally grown wheat from just a few miles south of my place.

Like yours, it took off well, but it wasn't until I had to give it a rest while I spent a week at the farm, that the new starter, actually started to raise.  Once I gave it a week in the fridge, then all was good, and I have been getting spectacular results ever since.

Not sure why it happened that way, but it may have something to do with the yeast getting an edge on the lactobacillus and acetobacter.

BTW, it has made some seriously sour loaves, so maybe it is the mythical beast of which you speak.

Good luck,






Phredd 2012 January 18

Hello again. Sorry about the long absence and Thank You all for your input. I have not had a chance yet to revisit the starter or bread making at all since first posting my question. Perhaps I may have tried to use the starter too soon after its initial creation. I’m going to hope that’s the case anyway and try cycling the starter a couple of times and try again before starting over.


As far as the yeast being in the flour, I couldn’t say it isn’t, but I would have to wonder about the geographically unique varieties of sourdough and whether or not San Francisco sourdough is made with flour grown and processed in Kansas or where ever. I surely do not know enough about any part of this to do any more then wind my watch, scratch my head and query possibly unrelated topics.


Some time ago, I found a local bakery in Omaha that makes a sourdough so sour, that it makes my socks fall down! It is very impressive but so sour it is sort of hard to eat. I don’t care for the imaginary sourdoughs that can be purchased at the local grocer’s. When I take a bite of bread I want to be saying, "that’s a good sourdough!" Not " I think I can taste a little sour in that". I want to make a bread somewhere in-between.


I’ll try to let you know what happens.


Oh, I recently got some intel on the Yeast Beast. It seems this (or these) creatures have been known to hid in dark corners of closets and at night, under the beds of children terrorizing the occupants. I was one of the victims myself although they seem larger then. Funny how the hunted has now become the hunter.


Thanks again, and keep your bed sheet off the flour, I mean floor!



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