Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sourdough Starter (Recipe)

Over the weekend I decided to bake another Sourdough Coffee Cake.  The sourdough starter needed to be "fed," and I can't see discarding a cup of it instead of using it.  Especially when one of the choices involves cake!

bubbly sourdough starter
I remember saying, last summer, how super-active the sourdough starter was during warm weather.  I wasn't thinking about that on Friday evening when I gave the sourdough starter a spoonful of flour and a little water, just to jump-start it.

On Saturday morning, Mooseman and DH were in the kitchen earlier than I was.  The first thing I heard was, "Mom has some cleaning up to do!"  The starter had overflowed the glass bowl.  Still, that wasn't going to stand between us and cake!  I prepared the cake and got it in the oven, then transferred the remaining cup of sourdough starter to a larger container before replenishing it.

In about two hours (at 78 to 80 degrees room temperature), it looked like this. I think the yeast is thriving at this temperature!  I quickly returned it to the refrigerator.

In any case, I've been looking around online and although I've found numerous recipes for sourdough starter, I haven't found this one.  It's from How to Cook Everything (1998 edition, Mark Bittman), and it works for me.  I've had this batch going for more than a year, in spite of my being lax about feeding it weekly.  I know that "real" sourdough starter is made without commercial yeast, but I don't have a problem with using a pinch of yeast for insurance.
Sourdough Starter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. instant yeast
1 cup warm water

Stir together.  Cover loosely, and let stand at room temperature.  Stir every 8 to 12 hours.  The mixture will become bubbly and eventually develop a sour smell.  If your kitchen is warm, this may happen in 24 hours; usually it takes a couple of days.

To maintain the starter, add about 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water to the remainder and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate.  [I usually leave it at room temperature until it bubbles, so I'm certain that it's still "alive."]  Use within a week or add a little more flour and water to keep it going.  If you always take half the starter and rejuvenate it this way, it will last forever.
Now you can use this to make sourdough coffeecake, sourdough bread, or other recipes.  I've heard of sourdough waffles, sourdough chocolate cake, and more:  it's not just for bread!

Do you have any favorite recipes for sourdough?

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you click through my link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting my blog!


  1. I'll have to try the waffles! I got stuck in the sour dough starter loop last year and ended up freezing it to break free so I've been wondering what to do with it when I pull it back out.
    I also like the idea you left out my site about freezing the dough and being able to pull it out any time to use. That will be awesome in December with all the unexpected company!

  2. My dad makes sour dough and it tastes pretty good. I just wanted to stop over and say a huge Thank you.. I loved my Birthday wish but most of all I really enjoy your thoughts you had to share. Have an amazing day..

  3. Oh how I love sourdough. There is so much you can do with it. My favorite is sourdough pancakes.

  4. I love sourdough, I've done it in the bread maker but never this way. How fun is that!

    Sorry about the mess you had to clean up.

  5. i will have to add this to my "need to try ONE DAY" list...
    lol, wish I lived near ya... I would just head on over to your place for lessons

  6. At California Adventure they talk about Sourdough Starters and I have always wondered how to make one. I knew it couldn't be too difficult since the miners made it,but it was always a mystery to me. Thanks for the recipe.

    Katharine @ Kat's Almost Purrfect World

  7. Such an easy way to make bread. I love sourdough. Thanks for providing the starter recipe.


I love to hear what you're thinking, so thank you for leaving a comment!

Spammers are unwelcome here, and spam comments will be deleted.