Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the sourdough adventure

This is where the culinary magic happens, people. Or rather the culinary DISASTER that was making sourdough starter.


Exhibit A: tried and true sourdough recipe that my mom uses week after week (originally from Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette).


Exhibit B: sourdough starter looking like sourdough starter should.


Exhibit C: sourdough starter freaking out completely. This happened x 2. I’m not sure why because I actually measured and followed the directions this time. Maybe because my apartment is abnormally warm? You might try using a little less than 1 T of yeast…


A starter is an easy way to have fresh bread at your fingertips without a lot of waiting around. Just mix up the bread (you only have to make the starter once) before going to bed and bake the next day after a short proof time. 

sourdough bread starter

Combine in a glass jar:

  • 1 T yeast
  • 2 cups of chlorine-free water (let a pitcher of water sit out overnight, and the chlorine will evaporate)
  • 2 cups of flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat)

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 48 hrs at room temperature, until it foams and develops a sour smell (for the record, my starter began erupting after 8-9 hrs, so watch it!). Place in refrigerator. Every time you use the starter, replace 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of flour and return to the fridge.

sourdough bread [2 loaves]


  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups starter
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 cup water

Dissolve salt in a mixing bowl (non-metal). Add starter and flour and knead into a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise overnight. In the morning, punch down and shape into 2 loaves. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 4 hrs. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes.

[Read about the benefits of sourdough bread in a previous post].

Fresh sourdough bread is awesome with black bean hummus.


black bean hummus [adapted from Dreena Burton’s recipe]

  • 2 cups rinsed black beans
  • 1 small clementine
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together via food processor and enjoy.

Have you ever made sourdough bread or used a starter before? This has been quite the adventure, but it is homemade and non- processed, and that makes it worth it to me.



  1. oh wow, that's awesome! what an adventure in bread making for sure! i've never made sourdough bread, but i love the flavor of it.

  2. Making bread still intimidates me too much to try it!

  3. Wooooo, great job! It looks scary that starter. I havent tried making sourdough yet because i was afraid not being able to get a good starter. I have to try your method now. :)

  4. I've never used a starter! The bread (and hummus) look EXCELLENT though!

  5. I've never made sourdough bread before, but it sure does look like it was an adventure, ha! I'm glad it finally decided to go your way :)

  6. I may have to try this one. Seems like quite the adventure, but I'm up for trying it!

  7. wow looks like that starter has a life of it's own!! bread making does look really cool tho!!

    and those crepes we got were soo good!! i've started going to the new lulu classes gain in frontenac & they're awesome. still as crowded as ever but at least the space is larger now.

  8. Yumyy :) I love sourdough bread. I made a starter once with wild yeast. It takes about two weeks on the counter and it goes through a range of gross smells before it finally smells good. I was so excited when my first loaf of bread actually rose! And then a couple loaves later I forgot about it in the fridge and it died :( I really want to start again now!

  9. i did NOT know that it was that easy to make a sourdough bread starter!!! there's this sweet potato sour dough bread i've been wanting to try (Spanish recipe)!!

  10. Hehe I love that your sourdough is freaking out! Also, that loaf of bread looks beautiful!! :)


  11. Nice! We have been meaning to do this. The black bean hummus looks good too.

  12. My mom makes a really good sourdough bread, but I've never done it myself! I really want to try making my own bread soon :)

  13. I've never made sourdough starter, but it is definitely on my "to do" list. LOVE sourdough bread! I'm definitely putting this post to use in the near future :)
    Definitely let me know when you visit St. Louis. A Local Harvest lunch with you would be fabulous :)

  14. seriously: good for you. i've always been too scared to try and make bread...well the kind that doesn't come in a box at least. i really should try because i LOVE sourdough bread!

  15. I've never made sourdough before, but we're learning all about it in my experimental foods class:)

  16. dang that sourdough looks AWESOME! i love baking bread from scratch but sourdough is one i haven't yet tried!

  17. I think it blew up because your apt is so warm. Put the starter in a much bigger jar/bowl and then keep it in your refrigerator between uses.
    I have been too tired at night to make it - but this post is inspiring!!

  18. I think I'll try making the starter. When we lived in the sub-Arctic I baked sourdough all the time but I was given the starter to work with.

    With your round loaf, was that from a round pan or did you just free-form it on a cookie sheet?

    Kidlet's renal diet allows sourdough and she loves it so...

    OK ... no need to be ascared. What's the worst thing that can happen?

  19. I have never, ever heard of a clementine in black bean hummus or that sounds so good I absolutely MUST try it!! I love sourdough bread too; such a great invention!

  20. Ah! Sourdough starter attack ;)
    Love the bread picture and the black bean hummus, YUM !

  21. This looks so good! I love sourdough but I suck at baking...don't know how it would come out.

  22. Yikes, watch out! But the bread looks beautiful. I'm a bit nervous to make my own bread, although this makes it sound much easier so I may have to give it a go soon...

  23. Well despite the disasters at first, it looks like the bread turned out great! I have never made my own bread, other than quick-breads, but I Will be using a "starter culture" soon when I make my own yogurt. I'm nervous! I am just using store-bought yogurt as my starter. One with a lot of cultures in it, maybe Stonyfield.

  24. Whoa, sourdough is totally intimidating to me. I can't believe the starter erupted. That is terrifying! The loaf looks great though. mmmmm, I want some now.

  25. Ok you really inspired me. After a number of weeks without any fresh sourdough I finally did it tonight. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

  26. I love that you documented the mishaps! if I did that, i'd need a second website.

  27. haha its a science volcano sourdough experiment!! wow the finish baked product looks FANTASTIC!!! and im equally impressed with the hummus that you can serve with it!!!

    btw i added you to my new blogroll- would love to be on yours too if thats cool with you too?

    XOXO <3

  28. I've never made sourdough before. This is so cool!!! :)

    I love your blog! :D


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