Hi guys, long time no speak

I have been trying to get a starter going according to Dan Lepards recipe (The Handmade Loaf)

I have a concern that it isnt coming along correctly

I didnt have any raisins or currants in the pantry, but I did have some sultanas. Has anyone used these succesfully?

I am into day 5 of the recipe and whilst I havent had a consistent 20 degrees I have had more than 18 all the time and upto 25 at other time

Last night was the remove 3/4 of the starter and strain out the raisins + add 100grms of water and 125 grams of strong white flower and while it only showed marginal signs of bubbles/pin pricks I prceeded anyway

This morning I had a sticky and there are a few holes in the mix but nowhere near as many as in the pics in the recipe

Should I ditch it and try with some raisins/currants or leave it and see if its just a late bloomer

288 users have voted.


sprite 2007 January 12

Hi all

This is my first post so go easy with me....and pardon my ignorance

I too am about to commence a starter using grape skins/juice (organic of course) but here is the kicker...

The recipe says nothing about water. Do I add purified water to the grape/ flour mixture? Or is the grape juice enough fluid to kick start the process?

forno 2006 December 8

Thanks flash

I will continue along with the recipe until the 6 days is up, what would the feeding procedure be after that??

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 December 8

Lifted from [url=]this thread[/url]

chembake says :
Adding raisins to the flour and water mixture will only provide fermentable sugars and acidity to the mash which will be good with bakers yeast; but if you are using it for sourdough culture, its of less importance as the critters in the levain are dependent on the maltose and glucose from enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars. So it?s a bit redundant, besides the sugars in raisins is a combination of glucose and fructose and the latter is the least of choice for the wild yeast in sourdough.

In the ancient times in the grape growing countries,the excess amount of fruits is used as the initial inoculating material for the sourdough starter as the grape skin and raisins contains a lots of friendly microbes, that includes species responsible for wine fermentation, beer fermentation, even bread fermentation . Once the fermentation of the inoculated mash is really active , the natural selection takes place and sugar loving species ultimately die out leaving only the hardy critters that depends on the starch conversion products such as the lactobacteria and compatible wild yeast. In order to attain that robust culture from grape skins and raisins, the refreshing ingredient is gradually reduced of the grape juice, raisin extract allowing time for the required critters to acclimatize and grow until finally the material used for is just water and flour.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 December 8

I will continue along with the recipe until the 6 days is up, what would the feeding procedure be after that??

[url=]What to do[/url].

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 December 8

Thks TP, I started to answer but was in the middle of a crisis in the kitchen and couldn't get back to answer, besides I wouldn't of done as well as you,and I may have given lousy advice!


carla's picture
carla 2006 December 8

Why would you want to use grapes or raisins to start a flour/water-sourdough?

Wouldn't the critters on the grape-skins (if they are organic and un-sprayed and un-fumigated) not be completely different beings to the ones found on the skin of a grain of rye?

So if you want to have a wheat or rye sourdough why not start with just that?

Or is this a special grape juice sourdough?

carla's picture
carla 2007 January 13

Well maybe I am the wrong person to answer this, but I started my sourdough with 2 tablespoons of wholemeal rye flour and a bit of lukewarm water, so it hat pancake batter consistency.
I kept that covered against flies and drying out at about 25 to 30 degrees for 5 days, stirring every so often.

Then it was starting to become a sourdough and I fed it once a day, later twice a day with a bit of flour and water until I baked my first bread.

It never entered my head to use rotten fruit or any other juices.

Just flour and water will make for a good stable community of sour and yeast.

But by all means do a grape one or what ever else your recipe says. If it works - good. If not then try just rye flour and water the next time.

SourDom 2007 January 13


you certainly can use organic grapes or sultanas to help kickstart a starter - though it isn't a necessary step.

Have a look at [url=]this site[/url] for a tutorial on creating a starter, or look [url=]here[/url] for some experiments that I conducted a while ago with and without sultanas.

in answer to your question - the aim of the sultanas/grapes is to get them to ferment. water or grape juice will do. once they have started to ferment you will want to add some fresh water and flour.


sprite 2007 January 16

Hi Dom and all

Thanks for the help and tutorial link - really useful. Might set up a grape juice vs. non-grape juice coevally run starter experiment and see if the addition makes any difference to fermentation or activity rates. If there is a significant difference I'll post the results for the forum.

Thanks again!

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