Handling a Sourdough Starter

Jamie Huizenga

Jamie Huizenga › Floral designer Jamie Huizenga and her Dutch husband, Luit, started a flower shop in Dallas, Dr. ...


A sourdough starter is like the fermented holy grail for some amateur home bakers. You’ve heard about it, you’ve wondered about making your own… but you are stuck by the uncertainty of where and how to begin.

Jamie Huizenga recently detailed her efforts at creating a sourdough starter of her own. She shares her very helpful notes and gives some tasty ideas on how to use the dough, such as pancakes and pizza crust.

I read a great book several years ago, World Sourdoughs From Antiquity by Ed Wood and had wanted to make my own sourdough starter. He explained the regional nature of individual sourdough starters, being made from yeasts native to a certain local, and I wanted my own Powderhorn strain. I found the book and here are my notes written in the inside cover of how I made the starter.

June 26, 2009

Two cups organic Rye flour and 2 cups filtered water placed in a bowl with a flour sack towel covering it. Placed outside on the fence in Powderhorn during the day. Cover put on the bowl at night and brought inside and placed in a warm spot.

June 27, 2009

Added 1/2 cup live kefir whey, added 1 cup water and one cup rye flour, stirred well, placed towel on bowl and left outside for the day. Brought inside for warmth at night. Transferred to two 1/2 gallon mason jars because it is easier to put the lids on at night, and during the day to put a cloth over the jar opening and screw just the lid band over the towel, keeping it well covered and safe from anything besides the yeasts from getting in.

June 28, 2009

Added one cup flour and one cup water. The starter was beginning to show signs of fermentation bubbles. (outside in day with cloth covering, inside at night with solid lids on.)

June 29, 2009

Added one cup organic whole wheat flour. (Ed Wood stated in his book that a sourdough starter works best in the beginning stages using rye flour and then you can change to your preferred flour after fermentation begins, and from then on.) Showed more signs of being bubbly.

June 30, 2009

More bubbly, added some whole wheat flour.

July 1, 2009

Added more whole wheat and was very bubbly. Sourdough started complete.

I have had my original starter ever since and have shared it with many friends.

This is how I take care of the starter and how I make bread.

1. Always keep your sourdough starter in the refrigerator. As I said before, it had been a while since I had used the starter and there was a lot of hooch on the top. Many sources tell you to pour off the hooch, but Ed Wood says in his book that traditionally this was not done, nor does he recommend it, so I just stir it in well. Pour everything into a clean 1/2 gallon mason jar and shake very well. Now you will divide your starter in half, one half being what you will use in your recipe, and the other half you will feed and put back into the refrigerator as your continued starter.

Click here to read the rest of the article over at grassfood.

This article originally appeared on grassfood. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

Photo Credit: Jamie Huizenga