“Sourdough starter” it is a frightening, confusing, amazing word for a POOR BEGINNER BAKER…..This is why, my friend and I we went to this class “sourdough bread” to go step by step over the procedure. If you look around in internet, there are many, many posts, tips, advices, personal experiences and so on. This confused us even more.

We went to this class in Vermont, KING ARTHUR FLOUR CENTER and it was a great teacher. We understood what’s all about sourdough. We kneaded, baked and ate a lot of bread and butter, it was a lot of fun, that day!!!
We came home with a small amount of their starter: 4oz., she gave it to us.  


Once we get it home, we have to maintain this “sourdough starter”: it is a small task, and you chose: keep on kitchen counter and feed every day, or refrigerate and maintain=feed, twice a week.

Sourdough is yeast dough: to keep the yeast alive and potent, you have to feed, or maintain. Room temp is the preferable environment for the starter: you can keep it refrigerated, but you have to feed twice a week.  Deep freezing is not a method of choice: as the teacher said, what you prefer: to have a heart attack and be saved or NOT TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK! 

The feeding process is adding equal amount of white, all purpose, unbleached flour and warm water:  4oz. flour (= a cup of flour, very loose, not leveled, and not pressed)  + 4 oz. of warm water (= half of cup)

 This way you have 2 cups of "starter", that you can maintain at room temp, or covered with plastic wrap, refrigerated.

Next feeding time you discard one cup (or use it in a recipe) and add (=feed) the remaining starter, with 4oz. flour + 4 oz. warm water.



Daily maintaining "the starter", at room temp:

If you want to bake bread every day, feed the starter, once a day, as follow:
       Stir the starter well, removing all, but 4 oz. Add 4 ounces of water and 4 ounces of flour, stir well until smooth, and cover with a cloth.

Maintaining your" starter" in the fridge:

If you feel, feeding and baking everyday is too much, you can  feed the refrigerated "starter" twice a week, as  above:
       Stir the starter well, removing all, but 4 oz. Add 4 ounces of water and 4 ounces of flour, stir well until smooth, and cover with a cloth.
        Allow the starter to work at room temp, at list one hour, before putting back to refrigerator, for another 3-4 days.

Now the notion of "fed" or "unfed" starter that you find in some recipes,  become clearer: 

"unfed starter" is the  discarded starter, or the starter just before is the time to feed;

"fed starter" is the starter that you feed and keep  at room temp at list  6 hours, to have   enough time for yeast to feed and divide, multiply.

All this process is a step to make a SOURDOUGH BREAD. If you understand the process you can manipulate the starter to your desire, to get a sour or not so sour bread.....

That means that is up to you, to bake a bread as sour as you like it... If you use this method that I described it here, the bread is almost not sour at all, but it became fluffy, crunchy and  chewer because of presence of sourdough starter added to the dough.

A starter left on a counter in a very hot kitchen ( around 85F and up) will ferment like crazy and you can use it as a sour starter at a certain point, or you have to feed very frequently to prevent to became overripe: very bubbling, sharp smell.


"While sourdough starters and bread made from starters has been around for thousands of years, the term "sourdough" has a pretty short history. It is an American term that came into use during the California Gold Rush days of the late 1800's.
Before the advent of commercial bakers' yeast, the folks who traveled and settled the Western U.S. in the 19th century carried starters with them for making bread.  Over time, it was discovered that starters from St Francisco area produced bread with a unique and particularly sour tang. Thus the starters and bread from that area because known as "sourdough". "

Understanding the microbiology of the “STARTER”:
The wild yeast, which grows on top of grains, fruits and vegetable, is present into the flour and this process of "STARTER" is a benefactor of co-existence of the wild yeast and Lactobacilli in the "Sourdough starter".
In a healthy sourdough starter, they both are feeding on the sugars (the starch) from the flour, with a different end result that is beneficiary to each other.
The  lactobacilli create an acidic media from lactic and acetic acid end product that is very beneficiary for the wild yeast to grow and act as "an antibiotic" for other organisms. For instance the commercial BAKER YEAST can't live in such an acidic content.

The wild yeast end products are a bit of ethanol (alcohol) and some carbon dioxide (which is what causes the bread to rise).


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