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How to Make Sourdough Starter, and Making Sourdough Grandmother Bread

Jan
9


Two loaves of whole wheat sourdough Italian herb & garlic bread cooling in my kitchen.

Who doesn’t love sourdough bread? You can make it at home easily–with Grandmother Bread. Most of us think of San Francisco-style sourdough when we hear the words sourdough bread, but sourdough is a type of riser, not a type of bread, which adds a distinctively tangy flavor to the end product. Any bread recipe can be converted to sourdough.

More about that later…. First we need to make the starter! Now if you want to really go crazy, catch some wild yeast. You need a horse and a lasso– Okay, not really. You need a big jar or bowl (non-metal), 1 1/2 cups of warm water and 2 cups of flour. Stir it up good then let it sit covered with only a mesh material (to allow air flow into the container) while you “catch” natural micro-organisms from the air.

If you’re like me and you have cats who will bother your container or you aren’t feeling frisky enough to lasso yourself some yeast from the wild, you can take a packet (or a tablespoon) of regular everyday “pre-captured” yeast from the store and go from there.

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How to make Sourdough Starter:

1 tablespoon (1 packet) yeast (not rapid-rise)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 more cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar or honey

In a large (non-metal) bowl, dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup of water. Add flour, additional water, and the sugar or honey. Beat till blended. You can leave it in the bowl to ferment, or transfer it to a large jar.

This is a 2-quart jar. You have to use a large bowl or a large jar because the starter needs room to bubble up and expand.

Cover the top with cheesecloth. (That cheesecloth keeps the cat hair out, whew.)

I use a jar band to keep the cheesecloth on there good. Let stand at room temperature in a warm place while it ferments. I keep it on the kitchen counter as that’s the warmest room in the house most of the time. Depending on the temperature in your house, it will take 5-10 days to ferment. Stir the mixture 2 or 3 times a day. It should be kinda like pancake batter in consistency (after stirring). It may separate some and look goopy as it sits. Just keep stirring it up a couple times a day.

You see how much it expands. That’s why you need a large bowl or jar. I like to use this 2-quart jar because later it will transfer easily to the refrigerator. (A big bowl would take up too much of my fridge space.)

You’ll know it’s ready when you walk by it one day and think, Is there some beer in here? And you get all upset because you have teenage boys and they’d better not have any beer. Then you look around and realize it’s the starter.

Once the starter is ready, you can store it in the refrigerator. (Continue to cover with cheesecloth. You can use a rubberband, or a jar ring, etc, but do not seal it shut.) Stir it once a day.

After each use of the starter, replenish it by stirring in another 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup flour, and another teaspoon of sugar or honey. Allow starter to sit out for a day to ferment before putting back in the refrigerator. Wait at least a couple days before using the starter again. If you don’t use the starter for 10 days, stir in a teaspoon of sugar or honey to keep it active and stick it back in the fridge.

Never take more than two uses of the starter at a time. Each use is 2/3 cup starter per one loaf recipe. You can take out double that (1 1/3 cups) if making two loaves, and in that case replenish double, but no more than that or you’ll wear your starter down pretty quickly. (If you need to make more sourdough bread than that at a time, you might want to run two pots.)

You can keep your starter going for a long time if you take care of it. If you don’t and if you screw it up, just start over. It’s just yeast, water, sugar, and flour. It’s okay. If your house is very cold, it will not work. I tried to get some starter going one winter at the old farmhouse and it just sat there. Then I set it in front of the gas fireplace and it fried. There was no winning for losing there. I keep my new farmhouse at 67 degrees in the winter and it takes about a week to get starter going here, so unless you live in a freezing, drafty old farmhouse, you can probably ferment starter any time of the year. If you do live in a freezing, drafty old farmhouse, may I just say, I feel your pain and wait till spring to make starter. (I loved that old house anyway!)

Note: Always bring your starter to room temperature before using it in a recipe.

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How to use Sourdough Starter in Grandmother Bread recipes:

The standard recipe must be modifed only slightly to make up for the addition of sourdough starter.

One-loaf sourdough Grandmother Bread

2/3 cup starter
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups flour*

Two-loaf sourdough Grandmother Bread

1 1/3 cup starter
2 2/3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon (1 packet) yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 cups flour*

*Flour measure is approximate–you may need slightly more or less. Use what you need to get a good, pliable ball of dough.

Follow general instructions for making standard Grandmother Bread. See full standard Grandmother Bread recipe and instructions here. The starter goes in with the water/yeast mixture in the first step, and the baking soda is added along with the flour.

You can also add up to three tablespoons of homemade dough enhancer per loaf (particularly recommended if using whole grains).

Baking soda interacts with the starter, aiding the rise. And, in fact, you can eliminate the additional yeast in the recipe if desired–if you are feeling all frisky and everything, because the starter itself has yeast in it, remember. Your bread will rise without any additional yeast–if you’re willing to wait three to six or more hours. Sourdough starter is actually a frugal way to stretch yeast, and the longer rise will give you more of that tangy sourdough flavor. However, sometimes we can’t wait all day for bread to rise, so don’t feel bad about adding the extra yeast and getting on with dinner.

You can use sourdough starter in any Grandmother Bread recipe variation. Make cool San Francisco-lookin’ round or long loaves, or just make regular sandwich loaves. Make sourdough raisin bread. Sourdough dinner rolls. Sourdough cinnamon crispies. Sourdough cheesy garlic breadsticks. Sourdough anything!

Including sourdough pizza.

Pizza made with Sourdough Grandmother Bread.

Grandmother Bread makes great pizza, by the way. Each one-loaf recipe of Grandmother Bread will make two large thin pizzas. See the Sourdough Pizza recipe here.

Go sourdoughin’. It’s fun and nearly free. And hey, if you go out on a wild yeast safari, tell me about it!

See these recipes at Farm Bell Recipes and save them to your recipe box:
Sourdough Starter
Sourdough Grandmother Bread


See All My Recipes
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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 9, 2009  

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  1. 1-9
    4:45
    am

    Love sourdough bread. That pizza looks delicious – you need to share your recipe with us how you make it.

    I’m gonna try this recipe. Do you have your raisin sourdough bread recipe posted on the site?

  2. 1-9
    5:20
    am

    OK — you can make pizza dough with Grandmother Bread??? Now I’m really gonna have to try to make some of that stuff — your own “wonder bread”!

  3. 1-9
    5:51
    am

    My last excursion roping wild yeast did not go well…. I am going to try your method this time! Thanks for all you do each day for us here!

  4. 1-9
    5:54
    am

    OH does that pizza look GREAT!!!

  5. 1-9
    6:07
    am

    Is it really OK for chickens to do the yeast rodeo thing???

    The Frugal Gourmet had a starter recipe some years back that was terrific. He also made pancakes from the starter, and they were dynamite! Best pancakes EVER!

    We kept the starter in an old, blue jar with the glass and lead lid on it. We didn’t leave the jar open, and it did just fine. We put plastic under the lid, and then just tipped it occasionally.

    Starter is pretty indestructible except for the temperature thing. Can you imagine those pioneers carrying some across country in their wagons? It probably REALLY grew, getting jostled around all day as it did.

  6. 1-9
    6:38
    am

    ticka, my raisin bread with Grandmother Bread recipe is here:
    http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2008/09/26/raisin-bread/
    To make it sourdough raisin, all you do is make the modifications listed above–instead of starting with 1 1/2 cups water, you start with a bit less, 1 1/3, and then go with the recipe other than adding the 2/3 cup starter and the 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

    Pete, the jar can be covered other than while catching the “wild” yeast, though it needs some air! I use cheesecloth with a jar band.

  7. 1-9
    7:46
    am

    It all looks wonderful – esp the pizza. use to eat cold pizza for breakfast as a teenager. I LOVE LOVE LOVE BREAD OF ANY KIND – but now I have a yeast infection in my gut and mouth and cant get rid of it so I am limited to bread – my fav thing in the whole world too. I am on the third one pill antibiotic to see if it works – stress related the doc says. my tongue is all white.
    had a starter once and came home and it was all over the counter, down the side and on the floor – kept doing that too – got rid of it. it was the blob taking over my kitchen!!!- the bread from it was unreal though- so beware- put those 3D glasses on

  8. 1-9
    8:25
    am

    So now I have sourdough drool on my keyboard. Great. Coco the guardian really gets into her job, doesn’t she? :catmeow:

  9. 1-9
    10:15
    am

    You make it look so easy . . . and now I’m hungry. I need to remember to buy yeast!

  10. 1-9
    11:13
    am

    I have a recipe for how to maintain your sourdough starter for 30+ years — they refer to it kind of like a pet. There’s even instructions on how to give sourdough starter “babies” to newly married couples.

    It’s an intriguing idea, but I’ve really got enough pets.

  11. 1-9
    11:13
    am

    That sure sounds like a good starter and that is my favorite kind of pizza… pepperoni and jalepeno! The versitality of that dough is pretty neat and now I am going to have to make some!

    Jane,

    I feel your pain, my daughter and I have suffered from yeast problems and it can be unbearable. We have found some great sources of relief from antifungal perscription drugs as well as natural suppliments. If you are interested I would be glad to give you more specific information. You can contact me at claudia@thomasgsmith.com

    Claudia

  12. 1-9
    11:46
    am

    I’ve never made anything with yeast! Shocking I know but my mom never did and I was always afraid to try lol. When my mom was young her sister did lots of the cooking and she did lots of the cleaning and that’s what she still likes doing. I hate cleaning (sigh).

  13. 1-9
    12:17
    pm

    Great post. I’ve tried and tried until I’m blue in the face to make homemade sourdough bread. I can make pretty much any other type of bread, but not sourdough. I’ve tried well over a dozen recipes and they all come out tasting the same…like crap. Honestly, it smells like a hog pen in the middle of July. I’ve tried the easy method of fermentation, and I’ve tried capturing the wild yeast. I never did have a problem getting my starter to take off, but oh my oh my, does it ever stink. I’ve even made it using potato’s at one point, and the end result is always the same, an inedible loaf of stinky bread. So, for now, I’ve resolved that I will never be able to make good homemade sourdough bread, and am forced to make a weekly pilgrimage to the Charleston Bread Company to buy theirs.

    Maybe I’ll give your recipe a try, it is very similar to some of the other recipes that I’ve tried, but who knows maybe this will be the one. Any idea’s on what I may be doing wrong?

    Thanks for the always thought provoking…and humorous…posts.

    Matthew

  14. 1-9
    12:44
    pm

    Matthew, making bread is a lifelong adventure! If you love sourdough, don’t give up on it–you learn something every time you make bread. It sounds like your starter has been going bad, maybe.

  15. 1-9
    1:37
    pm

    There is so much variation among our kitchens and appliances that it is almost impossible to replicate anything exactly which requires specific temperatures, air quality, etc. We just each have to figure out how to get there with what we have.

    I sure like the cheese cloth and metal band idea. In our refrigerator, it would probably allow the inclusion of too many airborne goodies. (There always seem to be a couple of good science experiments going on in there.) But it sounds much better than my way, although it seems to work fine here as long as the jar is tipped or used from at least once a week.

  16. 1-9
    1:43
    pm

    OH BABY, BABY!! Thank you from the bottom of my little pea-pickin’ heart!! :snoopy: :hungry:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  17. 1-9
    1:57
    pm

    I am SO excited to see this post. San Francisco is my city (close to where I grew up) and sourdough is my fav bread. My hubz grandma makes sourdoughs (pancakes) when she visits and the entire plate of them is consumed every time. She knows exactly what volume of what is required.
    Now I can replicate using your starter and make me some bread!! This is what I will be doing tonight! What better way to spend a snowing evening?
    Thanks Suzeanne.

  18. 1-9
    2:26
    pm

    The bread and pizza look delicious!

  19. 1-9
    2:40
    pm

    ugh….i’m a bread-maker-loser! so i tried making grandmother bread and it never rose. i think i messed up the yeast, so i tried it again. this time it rose once, and the second rise only made it halfway. after waiting 1.5 hours, it didn’t seem like it would rise anymore so i decided to bake it. it had been sitting in the oven (the warmest place), but when i took it out to preheat the oven, the little rising it did do collapsed and never rose again….it was a dense yucky loaf in the end. help!!!!! please :wall:

  20. 1-9
    2:54
    pm

    Shannon, the most likely cause could be that you didn’t knead enough after the first rise. Did it rise to double its size the first time? I’m thinking your yeast was okay if it rose properly the first time. If you’re not sure if it rose properly the first time, it could be that the yeast was damaged by water at the wrong temperature when it was added to the yeast. Don’t give up–learning to make bread is worth the effort! Every time you make bread, you’ll learn something and your bread will get better every time. It’s like anything else–it takes practice, so don’t be disappointed if it takes a few times to get a good loaf!

  21. 1-9
    3:07
    pm

    I never thought of using it for pizza! :wall:

  22. 1-9
    3:12
    pm

    Anyone try it with whole wheat flour? I’m trying to be a weensy bit healthier this year, no white bread or sugar – much! look deeeelish! :sheepjump:

  23. 1-9
    3:29
    pm

    I’ll definitely have to try this! We are HUGE pizza lovers in our house. Glad to know I’m not the only one who like jalapenos on pizza. *G*

  24. 1-9
    4:05
    pm

    Last fall I did the capture wild yeast sourdough starter… even took pictures of the process but never got around to posting about it. I may just have to get those pictures resized and get a post written up.

  25. 1-9
    5:30
    pm

    It’s almost enough to persuade me to bake… almost. I love sourdough bread. I love bread. I had pretzel rolls for lunch at our local German restaurant along with a beautiful raum schnitzel (pan fried with no batter on it with a cream sauce). But to make up for it, I had a salad and spinach as my sides. I didn’t eat the WONDERFUL oven potatoes baked with cheese that I LOVE there. If anyone is ever in Plano Texas… visit the Bavarian Grill. It’s a great place and I had a 20% of coupon too. :snoopy:
    P.S. We’re being inspected on Saturday to see if we have a “fit home” for a rescue dog. I hope to have a new doggy next week or soon after. It’s more complicated than going to the pound, but this way we hopefully know more about the dog.

  26. 1-9
    8:38
    pm

    If you love your starter and plan to keep it around…be sure to name your pet. It lives in the fridge but does share a life of its own with you and will provide you with years of yumminess. Suzanne, you are wonderful. You continue to share and keep alive so many old practices. Thank you.

  27. 1-10
    12:33
    pm

    In regard to today’s picture: we’ve had 15 hours of snow today, and your view still wins!

  28. 1-10
    6:55
    pm

    I’ve got a sourdough starter going that I use to make our bread. I used wild yeast to start it. It took a couple days to get bubbling real good, and it did manage to bubble out of its container on the day it was done. I make three loaves at a time and throw two in the freezer so I only have to do it about once a week. I’ve made the bread with half whole wheat flour the last couple times, and it turned out great. I’ve been thinking about how to make pizza with it, so now I can try!
    ~Jenny~

  29. 1-17
    4:22
    pm

    I haven’t made the bread as yet, but I love your website. Gotta go round up some Wild Yeast!

  30. 2-2
    12:35
    am

    So it bubbled up nicely, but it fell after the first stirring. Now its still flat. Did I kill it? Should I start over again? How soon after you make it should you stir it?

    Thanks for your wonderful site!!

  31. 2-12
    6:22
    pm

    I will give this post a more serious read in a minute but I just wanted to tell you that I am still giggling about the cheesecloth keeping the cat hair out. It’s funny because I can SO relate. Thanks for the chuckle!

  32. 2-13
    9:46
    am

    Suzanne,I hope this hint is helpful to some. (the ones with drafty farm houses.) I have grown starter in the oven, DO NOT TURN IT ON THOUGH. Just keep the oven light on. That little bulb will be enough warmth to grow your starter. warning, take it out before pre-heating your oven for other uses. especially if you are using plastic containers to grow your starter. LOL ask me why i am even telling you this. You got it I melted the plastic containers full of my lovely wild starter all over my oven.
    Janett

  33. 2-13
    2:27
    pm

    Why not use quick-rise yeast?

  34. 2-13
    2:46
    pm

    Hi, Wendy! Sourdough is all about flavor, so you’re not looking for faster rise times as this hampers development of flavor.

  35. 3-12
    10:13
    am

    I thought the point of sourdough starter is that you don’t have to use add’l yeast, but you add more. Is the starter just for flavor? Curious.

  36. 3-12
    10:28
    am

    If you don’t add yeast, the dough takes a long time to rise. The longer the rise, the more sourdough flavor, of course–it’s the long rise that gives it so much flavor. You can still get sourdough flavor from a shorter rise, though, and I often don’t want to wait up to 12 hours for my bread to rise. Thus, extra yeast. (Obviously, I need to add a note to the post about it. Thanks!)

  37. 3-19
    10:06
    pm

    I just started my starter and I think I used unbleached bread flour instead of all purpose. Will this work ok or do I need to start over?

  38. 3-20
    4:17
    am

    Unbleached flour is fine! (I prefer it, really, but I buy flour in large quantities and can’t find unbleached in the bulk sizes.)

  39. 4-8
    12:03
    pm

    Hi Suzanne! I found your blog while searching for answers to making sourdough starter in a cold house!
    We too keep our house around 66 or 67, and I have had a sourdough starter sitting out for 6 days now. It looks almost the same as it did when I first put it together–only maybe some of it has evaporated. :-( I don’t know what I’m doing, but my husband keeps saying how wonderful his mom’s homemade bread was, and how I should make us bread . . . .
    So, you think, 67 degrees should be warm enough?? Should the starter look any different after 6 days? or does it suddenly grow overnight? We are having company from out-of-town this weekend, and I was hoping it would work!!!

  40. 4-8
    12:23
    pm

    Hi, Becky! It can take up to 10 days for it to ferment, depending on the temperature in your house. 67 degrees may be borderline here…. If it doesn’t start smelling like beer soon, try again! (It’s gonna warm up soon!)

  41. 4-27
    12:15
    pm

    Hi…Great blog! Want to try the cinnamon raisin bisquits. Right now I’m trying to make sourdough starter…have the same problem as Cindy. It starts bubbly (I’ve had it for about 2 weeks, and used it once and have been adding water and flour). It’s nice and beery smelling and a bit bubbly but never really expanded the way yours did? Is it still usable?

  42. 5-10
    12:26
    pm

    Did not know how it is to fine a recipes for sour dough bread
    I need one please
    Genie

  43. 5-10
    12:31
    pm

    need a good recipes for sour dough bread using starter only!!!
    Genie

  44. 5-10
    1:22
    pm

    Hi, Genie! You can use this recipe, just don’t put in the additional yeast.

  45. 8-22
    10:33
    pm

    Yikes! I started my starter 5-6 hours ago, before going out to a birthday dinner, and when I came home, it was already out of my two quart jar! I used half organic all-purpose flour, and half organic whole wheat flour, which was surprisingly finely ground. Seeing how fine it was, I looked closely at the bag, and it said for hand or machine baking. Would that make the difference?
    My honey was warmed to liquify it. The yeast says active dry, not rapid rise?I couldn’t find my cheesecloth, so I covered the jar with -weave dish towel. Will I need to start over? (And if so, what is important to change?) Or can I just keep stirring it back down and cleaning the mess and wait for it to smell beery? Thanks!

  46. 8-23
    3:59
    am

    It sounds like good, excited starter to me! I’d just put it in a bigger bowl!

  47. 8-28
    8:26
    am

    I just discovered this blog and am LOVING IT! For those with drafty cold houses, I came up with a variety of ways to warm up my starters when I spent 9 long winters in cold Michigan. If you have a gas oven, just put it in there when the oven is OFF. The pilot light is enough to warm it up. Same with the warmth from your water heater and maybe even your laundry room. If your house is really chilly, you can try putting your jar on a heating pad on low for a short time. That takes some attention though. You can’t keep it on the heating pad all the time or you will kill it. I have even been known to give my starter a quick burst in the microwave (GASP!) on 50% for 30 seconds at a time when it comes out of the refrigerator just to give it a head start on heating up. Once you get used to caring and keeping a starter, it is actually hard to kill them. And if you do, it is not a huge deal! It is fun, however, to have one that you can say “I’ve had this starter going since….” LOL! (and then you can tell who your real foodie friends are because they are the only ones who will care!)

    Happy baking!

    Michele in NC

  48. 8-30
    9:00
    pm

    So happy to find this post. I have been wanting to make a sour dough bread and didn’t have a starter. I asked our large grocery store if they sold it but they don’t. I am going to make your recipe in the morning. Thank you!
    Kindly, ldh

  49. 10-8
    2:34
    pm

    You are making me miss the sourdough pancakes I grew up on. My dad had a jar of starter in the fridge and every Saturday night he’d mix up a batch of pancake batter, so it’d be ready for making pancakes or waffles for breakfast on Sunday morning. My husband doesn’t like sourdough, which makes me cry because I’d love to get my own sourdough starter going. Not much point when it’d just be me eating it.

  50. 10-26
    5:43
    pm

    Starter is so easy to make and it isn’t really a big issue to keep it going. I keep mine on the counter because I use it often. I feed mine regularly. I have two different starters…my own and a 150 year old started that I got from Friends of Carl Griffin’s. Just google the name and you can get some of his starter, if you would like it…What I do is keep mine in quart jars in my cabinet…I replinish it every couple of days…I remove a cup from each jar to use and replinish with more flour and water for each jar…usually 1/2 cup of each…unless I know I have a big baking session coming up and I might do a whole cup in each. My own starter is every bit as good as Carl’s but I love the idea of having a starter that is 150 years old. The starter that I remove is what I use to make bread. I make my bread at night or later afternoon and I let it rise all night long…It works beautifully that way…The second rise doesn’t take as long so I have bread easy by the early afternoon.

  51. 11-2
    6:34
    pm

    :woof:
    Grandmother Bread with Sourdough Starter is the best bread
    I have ever made. I did not use the sourdough starter receipe from this web site tho, I tried to make it, but it didnt work. I made a
    Sourdough Starter capturing my own yeast, it had grapes and rye flour. The starter turned out! I substituted the grape and rye starter in the Grandmother Bread recipe, OMG, soooo good!

  52. 11-10
    4:25
    am

    I wonder what would happen if you replaced the water and yeast with beer?

  53. 11-15
    5:23
    pm

    Hi from Honduras, Central America,

    My granddaughter is working on a science project. It is about what causes the action in the starter. Do you know of a sight where I can find information on the chemical action that is taking place? This is beyond me.

  54. 11-15
    6:46
    pm

    Hi! I wish I knew of a site to help you, but I don’t. Good luck to your granddaughter on her project!

  55. 12-12
    2:31
    pm

    I made the starter a few days ago. This first night it escaped the jar and I transferred to a larger one. I am still stirring but it’s not growing anymore. Is it dead?

  56. 12-12
    2:46
    pm

    Try taking out the amount you’d use for a recipe and replenishing it. That might get it going again. If that doesn’t work, then start over. You can always make more!

  57. 12-20
    6:57
    pm

    I don’t own a cheese cloth, is there anything else I can cover it up with?

  58. 1-17
    3:50
    am

    For the woman asking for sites about the actual yeast… this one has pictures of varied yeast cells.

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=Gyl&q=saccharomyces+cerevisiae+yeast&revid=306827801&resnum=0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=Xs5SS-flBofllQf-oIDGDg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CB0QsAQwAw

    Using the word saccharomyces in your search engine will eventually link you with a website that shows the microscopic activity.

  59. 6-24
    8:44
    pm

    May I ask what is wild yeast? And how is it captured?

  60. 6-24
    8:54
    pm

    Wild yeast is what is in the air! You capture it by sitting your bowl outside and waiting!

  61. 9-17
    4:30
    pm

    i have the same problem as one of the other posters. mystarter bubbled nicely the first day, but after i stirred it it remained flat and pancake batter like..maybe thinner. this is day 8 and its phoenix during the summer. no bubbles….do i need to start over?

  62. 9-17
    6:28
    pm

    Yes, that sounds like starting over is in order!

  63. 10-15
    11:48
    pm

    Thank you for this simple starter recipe! I have been looking everywhere and all I could find were strange complicated recipes, which often times involved grapes.

  64. 12-12
    9:08
    pm

    I just found your blog. I have my own starter going and I’m on day 4 here (4 pots going–hoping to make 8 loaves with starter left over). Thanks for the storage instructions/re-feeding instructions. I do have a question: you said not to use metal. 3 of my starters are in glass and one is in metal…seems just fine, bubbling away. Why do you say not to use metal? Thanks.

  65. 12-12
    9:12
    pm

    Mandy, if it’s doing fine, then you might not want to worry about it. It’s just generally recommended to NOT put sourdough starters in a metal container as it can inhibit growth of the starter.

  66. 4-4
    8:48
    am

    Hello.
    I started my sourdough starter yesterday, following your instructions. This morning, I stirred and fed the starter. It smells very strange and kind of nasty. Did I mess it up, or is it supposed to smell that way after the first day?

  67. 4-4
    8:59
    am

    Oh actually, I didn’t follow your instructions. I followed those of a different website. I just mixed up a cup of water and a cup of flour and put them in a jar covered with cheese cloth. Would that work, or do I need to follow your instructions?

    I don’t have regular yeast….just instant yeast. Would that work?

  68. 4-4
    9:05
    am

    Amanda, no, don’t use instant yeast, only regular yeast. If you didn’t add any yeast, you’re trying to catch wild yeast and that may take a while.

  69. 3-13
    7:45
    am

    I love sourdough bread so I thought i’d try this out! I mixed up a batch of sourdough starter 2 days ago and it looked great to begin with, it bubbled up to the top of the container within about 30 minutes, but then it went back down and did not bubble up again. My kitchen is nice and warm. I stir it a few times per day but it keeps separating into something like batter and brownish liquid. Does this all sound normal or did I do something wrong?

  70. 3-13
    8:09
    am

    It should bubble back up after being stirred down. You might need to start over.

  71. 6-4
    11:11
    am

    I guess I am doing something wrong, but I don’t know what. I made this starter yesterday, I am using active dry yeast, with an exp date of Dec 2013, warm water, and all purpose flour. I followed your directions and mixed it up in a plastic bowl, then transferred it to a 2 qt. plastic container. It bubbled up to almost double, but had decreased somewhat by the time I stirred it for the first time. I haven’t seen it bubble up again, and it separates into a clearish liquid on the top. Should it be like this at this point, or ? Could it have anything to do with the container? Any pointers would be helpful as I am now comfortable with making grandmother bread and want to move on to the sourdough versions. Thanks, Peggy

  72. 9-19
    6:22
    pm

    Not sure I’m understanding the process correctly…Will the time it takes to bubble up depend on how warm your kitchen is? I made the starter last night around 7pm…It’s less the 24 hours later and I’ve not seen it grow in size yet. I live in Northern California, and the house gets into the mid 60′s at night right now. Should I give it a few days or start over?

  73. 9-19
    6:24
    pm

    Adrienne, the 60s is pretty cool for starter!

  74. 9-19
    6:36
    pm

    Thanks for the quick reply! If I warm my oven a little bit, but turn it off, do you think that would be a good place to stash it to get it to work? (I’m assuming I need to start over with a new batch, correct?). Thanks for your help!

  75. 9-19
    6:47
    pm

    You could go ahead and try that batch. If it doesn’t start bubbling by tomorrow morning, then start over. Yes, a warm oven, turned off, shut the door, and see if that works.

  76. 2-4
    10:23
    pm

    Hi I just came across your site and registered.
    I am a brand new at Bread baking and am at my 4th bread ever.
    I don’t enjoy white bread at all unless the occasional French Baguette or other small shaped “Pistolet” or “Semmeln”.

    So I tried today a sourdough bread replacing it with 1/4 rye flower. I read all above your post but could not find the correct time for backing. That’s what I am after. The exact baking time per pound. I even came across a site that put the dough in a plastic overnight in the fridge…it’s a never ending world of discovery.

    I made a 3pound bread with my Black and Decker bread kneading but have stopped baking in the machine since my 1st bread.
    This 4th bread looks great (have not tasted or cut it yet).

    But I am concerned I hope it will taste as good as it looks.
    I baked it 45min at 375F and 5min at 400F as it was getting well and brown on top.
    This bread has grown up much bigger than any others before who always had a tendency of being a bit tight.
    (Bavarian bread like tight, very small rye like as per pictures)
    http://visualsenses.smugmug.com/Food-food-macros-and-cooking/HOME-BAKED-Bread/27735184_ztqBZF#!i=2351330564&k=QnqQNVp

    Program setting: 9 (Dough Only)
    “BEST EVER SWEET DOUGH” recipe

    1/2 cup of water (80-90degree F) 29C
    1/2 cup of sourcream
    3 large eggs room temperature
    6T spoon of sugar (changed to brown sugar)
    6 T spoon of butter in pieces
    1 T spoon of salt
    4 1/2 cups of Bread flower
    (changed to 3 1/2 cups of bread flower and 1 cup Rye flower)
    3 t spoon bread machine yeast
    + added
    2 T spoons of raw shelled hemp hearts
    2 T spoons of black sesame seeds
    2 T spoons of premium “Chia” seeds

    Kneaded in machine than taken out painted with egg white
    sprinkled with white sesame
    baked in oven at 375F for 45min & 5min at 400F

    in Teflon lined oil covered with thin layer of white flower

  77. 2-4
    10:24
    pm

    Forgot to say I am in Vacouver BC Canada

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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