Sourdough Starter, Day One: Getting it Together

Intro[Day 1] • Day 2 • Day 3 • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

We’ll start our brand new Starter adventure with quoting from Debra Wink’s article (quoted article is always in red) and follow along with photos and commentary.

“Basic Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter

by Debra Wink

If you are the curious, investigative type (or a sourdough purist 🙂 ), this can be done with just water in place of the juice throughout. But for many (not all), a vigorous gas-producing bacterium will grow on day 2 and quit growing on day 3 or 4, followed by a few days or more of agonizing stillness. The fruit juice or cider should keep this bacteria (and a few others that are smelly) from growing and delaying the process. Either way, the end result will be the same sourdough starter.”



Our Sourdough Starter Mis-en-Place:

We’re going to start off making our TWO starters, one ‘normal’ with just water and the other following the Pineapple Juice Method, side-by-side and see how they do compared to each other.

Walter will live on the left and get normal tap water (Walter, water.. get it?) PJ will be on the right and get unsweetened Pineapple Juice. Yeah, that’s a very large can of pineapple juice for three servings of 2 Tbsp each. No worries, it made good beverages for people too. Continue reading “Sourdough Starter, Day One: Getting it Together”

Sourdough Starter, Day Two: Mid-day Surprise

Intro • Day 1[Day 2] • Day 3 • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Day 2:

add . . .
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider

20090813_Day2A 20090813_Day2B 20090813_Day2C

Other than a slightly lighter/yellower colour and a slight aroma of pineapple in the right hand jar, neither mixtures show any change from how I left them the day before. Even the spatula marks in the goo stayed the same.

(Side note: As with nearly all photos on this blog, you can click on small ones to see them full size.)

I add the rye flour and appropriate liquids to both and set them aside for one more day. We now have 4 Tbsp flour and 4 Tbsp liquid in each jar. The kitchen temp is currently 79ºF/26ºC. We’ve turned the AC on at night.

Tomorrow is our last day to add rye flour and pineapple juice. This second/third day period is typically when “other” bacteria(s) start to perk up and give a rise while our desired yeast is still dormant, waiting for the environment to be just right. Wally’s jar might therefore show activity or a “false rise” which could last a day or two then die out, then not much happening for a few more days before the pH is at the point where the desired yeast decides to wake up. The “not much happening” part is what the whole Pineapple Juice system is there to counteract, as that’s where people think “I’ve killed it” and toss it out. Continue reading “Sourdough Starter, Day Two: Mid-day Surprise”

Sourdough Starter, Day Three: Trading Places

Intro • Day 1 • Day 2 [Day 3] • Day 4 • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Day 3:

add . . .
2 T. whole grain flour*
2 T. juice or cider

Peeked in on Walter at about midnight and he seemed to have peaked out pretty much where we last saw him. Here are the boys at feeding time today:


By the way, Walter still stinks… badly! PJ’s slight bubble production indicates he may be inching (millimetering?) into phase 3 already: developing more acid-tolerant bacteria. Continue reading “Sourdough Starter, Day Three: Trading Places”

Starter from Scratch, Day Four: Going on a New Diet

Intro • Day 1 • Day 2 • Day 3[Day 4] • Day 5 • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Starter from Scratch: Day 4:

(and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . . .
2 oz. of the starter (1/4 c. after stirring down–discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons)

** You can feed the starter/seed culture whatever you would like at this point. White flour, either bread or a strong all-purpose like King Arthur or a Canadian brand will turn it into a general-purpose white sourdough starter. Feed it rye flour if you want a rye sour, or whole wheat, if you want to make 100% whole wheat breads. If you’re new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best place to start.

Starter Day Four: an Overnight Jump

Yowza!! PJ has expanded a huge amount overnight! Continue reading “Starter from Scratch, Day Four: Going on a New Diet”

Sourdough Starter, Day Five: Waking Up

Intro • Day 1 • Day 2 • Day 3 • Day 4[Day 5] • Day 6 • Day 7 • Final Thoughts • Day 15

Starters, Day 5:

Starters on Day Five Starters on Day Five

Overnight activity has been noticed. In fact, at about 1 a.m., PJ had already doubled and was on the way back down so he got a midnight feed. Come feed time again today, he had once more doubled (where the dashed line is) and gone back down. Wally, on the other hand, has developed small bubbles and expanded just a wee bit. He still stinks although not quite the “OMG YUCK!” strength as before, he’s decidedly unpleasant.

Both were reduced to 1/4c of ‘old’ starter and the excess discarded, jars washed and 1 oz each (28g) of UAP flour and water added. Continue reading “Sourdough Starter, Day Five: Waking Up”