sourdough starter

sourdough starter

mother sourdough bread


Sourdough breads have been around for many centuries, and all of them start with a 'mother' or starter. It's simply some flour and water that has already been colonized by some yeast. It's kept in the fridge, and some bakeries have 'mothers' which have been alive for over a century.

These starters create breads which have a lovely tang to them, and produce really crunchy crusts. Making one of these 'mothers' is easy, and will use yeast that is floating in the air in your kitchen, so your sourdough breads will be unique to your home. Homemade, indeed!


4 cups of white all purpose flour

3-4 potatoes

6 cups of water

2 tablespoons of honey

2 teaspoons of salt


A medium sized bowl ( not metal), a cup, spoons, a basket that can fit over the top of the bowl, a jar that can hold 8 cups of fluid, a refrigerator.

Homemade Sourdough Starter

Printer-friendly recipe

The first step is to create 4 cups of potato water. Wash the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Chop them into three or four pieces each, and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the water cool until it is no longer to hot to touch. Strain the water, placing four cups of the potato water into the bowl. You won't need the potatoes for this recipe.

Now add the rest of the ingredients. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring. The result will be a mixture the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. If it is too thick to stir with a wooden spoon, add some more potato water or plain water.

Capturing the Yeast

Now we need some yeast. Fortunately, yeast is pretty much everywhere, literally floating in the air in your kitchen. However, there's also lost of dust and other stuff in the air, so it's wise to cover the bowl with a porous lid. I use a basket since the yeast is so small it can fit through the holes.

Place the covered bowl somewhere warm in your kitchen - beside the stove, on top of the fridge, or just on a counter. Now you can walk away for a couple of days, giving the yeast time to find the flour.

It's Alive!

On day two, lift the basket. If the yeast has colonized the starter, there should be bubbles and some extra liquid on top. It may also smell bad, which is just the side effect of the fermentation process. If you don't see these signs, put the lid back on and check in the next day.( If you want to see what this should look like, watch my video).

Once the starter has been activated, place some plastic wrap on top, and leave out for one more day. Then pour the starter into a jar and place it in your fridge. Congratulations, you have given birth to a mother!

Feeding Mother

To keep mother alive, she will need to be fed weekly. One cup of flour is all it takes, and you just stir it in and place it back in the fridge. If you're making bread every week, you won't have to do this since you'll be replenishing the starter anyway.

Now that you have a starter, it's time to make some sourdough bread. Please check out this recipe and video to become a sourdough baker!