Newbie -- just received sweet California starter used for biscuits, want to use for bread


Hello! I just moved to a new town without any good sourdough bread, and so I decided to learn to make my own! I found a local bed and breakfast that gave me starter that the owner uses to make sourdough biscuits. Her instructions say to feed with flour, sugar, and milk, and she gave me a recipe for making biscuits with that.  But I want to make bread. Can I just start feeding the starter with flour and water instead, or will it react poorly to this change in diet?  Thank you!

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Staff 2017 October 1


Hi pomegranate,

You could change the feed to just flour and water. Some microbes from the old starter should transition to the new medium, while others may not. New ones will join from your own environment and feeding process. The main advantage I see to innoculating your new starter with the older one is to faster establish an acid environment, and harvest existing acid-tolerant yeast and established bacteria.

Making a starter this way may save you a week or two compared to starting from scratch with just flour and water. Personally, if time is not an issue, I would favour a fresh start with your preferred flour under your local conditions. Or, as an experiment, try both ways and see if both methods end up giving you the same or similar starter, as measured by how the starters behave by themselves and in bread dough. Let us know how it goes.

pomegranate 2017 October 17

Thanks, Staff! Sorry so slow here. Took a while to get going! So I changed the feed to flour and water, and that worked very well, though it took about ten days until I thought it really looked right. It was amazing to see it change from gelatinous and only a little bubbly to really alive and active. Interestingly, it did NOT react well when my spouse brought non-organic flour home from the store. Once I switched back to organic, it was happy.  Finally baked some bread last night. I did pretty well, but I over-proofed a little.  Still really tasty. I am very satisified given it was my first go. I tried to attach a pic, but failed...  Thanks so much for the help, I will keep reading and practicing.

As for biscuits, here's the recipe the inn shared. Note that this starter is made with flour, milk and sugar.  Also: I didn't actually try the biscuit recipe, as my ambitions are in the bread direction. 

Combine: 1 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cut in 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Add 1 cup sourdough mix

Mix gently.

Knead on floured board, roll out and cut into biscuits with a SHARP cutter (not a glass, it pinches the sides down so the biscuits don't rise. 

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. 

Feed sour dough after each use with

1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar.


Staff 2017 October 28

Thanks for the biscuit recipe pomegranate.

We too think that organic flour helps you get the best results for your starter.

If you still have that image of your bread at hand, send to [email protected] and we will attach for you. 

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