starter recipe


 Hi all,

I have borrowed Dan Lepard's 'The handmade loaf' from the library and am on day 3 of his starter recipe. The initial mix of 150g water + 2 tsp strong white flour + 2 tsp rye flour + 2 tsp yoghurt + 2 tsp raisins seemed way too wet to me but I went ahead anyhow. Day 2 adds 50 g water + tsp strong white flour + 2 tsp rye flour. Still so wet that the water and flours seem to split almost instantly. So, day three says to add 100g water + 4 tsp strong white flour + 4 tsp rye flour.

However, lucky me I received my own copy of this lovely book for Christmas in an updated paperback version, and discovered the starter recipe is different! Only 50g water in the initial mix although all subsequent mixes are the same for both versions.

This morning, day 3, instead of the 100g water I only added the flour to make up the hydration difference as it seems the initial mix is over by 100g water.

My question is: do you think that omitting the water on day 3 will work or should I scrap and start again? Anyone used / like this starter recipe?

Thanks in advance,


323 users have voted.


rossnroller 2009 December 31

I have Dan's book, also, but followed the excellent directions on this site (patiently helped along by Graham) to create my first starter.

Dan's starter mix as you have described it does sound very high in hydration, but I realised as I did my initial research into SD baking that there are many ways to get a starter going - this one is no doubt as valid as any.

My feeling is that omitting the water on day 3 is probably not going to prove fatal to your emerging little yeastie beasties. I'd just plug on and see what happens.

A note: IMO the flour you use is one of the most important factors in getting a healthy starter happening. I was struggling until I switched to a mix of 30% ORGANIC WHOLE GRAIN rye and 70% plain flour. All the action started as soon as I started using the organic rye component. And once you are underway and have a live baby on your hands, you can wean it off the rye in a couple of days if you want a plain flour starter. Worth bearing in mind.

mondomama 2009 December 31

 Thanks for that rossnroller! I have omitted the water today, (day three), and it looks much better. As it is also such a warm day, no make that hot day (currently 37.8 C),  already I have heaps of little pin head bubbles on the surface. 

I'm thinking now I might feed tonight instead of waiting the full 24 hours. Any thoughts on this?

Crazy hot weather for little old Tasmania. My starter is loving it though!





rossnroller 2009 December 31

Yeah, Bree, I've also found that in the warmer temps you need to feed your starter more than once per 24 hours. I know acccomplished home bakers like LeadDog and Shiao-Ping generally feed theirs twice daily as a matter of course, or when doing a build, and Hamelman recommends every 12 hours in warm conditions.

Mary's picture
Mary 2010 January 9

 Hi Bree, I too am beginning my first sourdough experimentation in a Tassie summer! Good luck!

mondomama 2010 January 9

 Hi Mary,

In the first week or so I had been feeding my starter in the morning and evening. Now it is up and running, I am refrigerating between baking. Perfect weather here at the moment.

Good luck to you too!


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