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1 July 2007

Starting a sourdough

I've been making yeasted breads for a long time now and I think my bread is pretty good, even if I do say so myself. There's always room for improvement though so now I want to try my hand at making sourdough. Part of my simple living philosophy is a desire to make as much as I can here at home and to buy fewer products as the years go buy. I use a very good French yeast now but I can no longer justify that in terms of food miles, so when I finish the packet I'm using now, I won't buy it again.

Enter the sourdough. It is made with the wild yeasts in the air. These yeasts are captured in the sourdough starter, multiply, and when the starter is mature, the wild yeasts and other beneficial bacteria give the bread a unique taste and a good lift.

I started my starter this morning and I invite everyone who reads this to start one too. Together we'll see what we can make of it. I'm a novice when it comes to sourdough, I've never made it before, so we can all help each other and hopefully, we'll produce some decent bread.

I have a book on baking but all their recipes advised the addition of commercial yeast to boost the starter. I would like my sourdough to be authentic, so I searched for more information to see how artisan bakers make their bread. I'm not saying I'll never use yeast to boost the mix but I want to at least start out with the authentic starter. This is where I got my information from:

So let me know if you're joining in and hopefully in a couple of weeks, we'll all have some good bread.


  1. I finally managed to buy some gluten flour so I'm about to try making your bread at long last! In for a penny, in for a pound so I'll put together the sourdough starter at the same time.

  2. I will join you too Rhonda...
    I only have bakers flour on hand i suppose that will work...Will go start one now


  3. What a great idea! I love sourdough. I've bookedmarked your entry to try this later...I'm about to go out of town and...shamefully, I don't have any flour in the house either.

  4. my daughters first micro biology class involved making their own sourdough starter and she said its turned out some great bread. Maybe I should give it a try again. Haven't made my own starter in decades

  5. My BrotherCousin worked in an Artisan Bakery in Edinburgh for a while & made bread the old way ~ he taught me the trad way of doing things, where everything is done at room temperature so a loaf can take a day in Summer & 2-3 days in Winter! His method meant I was using very little real yeast or even dried yeast (can you get dried yeast in little pots ~ (NOT the easybake, throw-it-all-together type stuff)? If you make up a starter batter with the yeast & leave, then when that's frothy, add more flour & knead. Don't add salt until the bread is kneaded properly (if you add salt at all) & knead that in well. Keep a small amount of this uncooked bread to start the next lot if you have no further yeast & it will go on for I don't know how long: I've not tried to see how long I could keep it going for. I suppose it's a little bit like taking a bit of yoghurt to start the next batch of yoghurt. If I had my loaf tins found, I'd join you, but I suppose I could anyway & make the trad bishop's mitre loaves we get here. I'll get my littly involved too ~ she'll love it!

    PS. my Granda was a Master Baker & his bakery was where the original Banbury Cakes were made (before his time, though).The Robin has inherited his skill more than the rest of us ~ he's brilliant

  6. Hi Rhonda
    I'm in! It's Sunday evening and I have just finished making up my starter. Am using wholemeal organic spelt flour (because it is what we have in the cupboard!) and rain water so will keep you posted. It could be interesting because I have a fresh batch of home made Bokashi funking up the house while it dries out in front of the heater - hmm, could be interesting sourdough!

    As always, you are an inspiration!

  7. It's great you've all joined in! We'll come back to this in a day or two and report what's happening with all the starters.

  8. Boy am I a procrastinater! I finally started mine yesterday...and the little guy is blowing it's first bubbles and doing well :) Thanks again for prompting me to start one!

  9. I know this is an old post of yours Rhonda but i started a sour dough starter and i got sick after day 2 of making it and didnt feed it everyday. I did feed it when i could though maybe every second day. Before i fed it it had a layer of watery stuff and then the starter batter but wasn't bubbling anymore until i fed it again then it would grow straight away and then die down and seperate until i fed it again. I used Laucke bread mix flour and filtered water. I live in Mount Isa QLD and we can't use the rain water up here because of the mines and have very slim picking of flours. A friend told me my starter was actually growing bacteria and not wild yeasts and i need to start again. I can get ahold of some organic white spelt flour via the health food shop ordering it in for me, do you think this might be better? Whats your advice/experiences. Many thanks


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