Sour Dough Starter

Prep time: About 10 minutes
Expanding time: Overnight
Makes: 8 cups expanded starter



  1. Put ingredients into a large bowl (I use a round aluminum dish pan.) Blend and add enough water to get the consistency of hot oat meal.
  2. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise overnight in a warm place to expand at about 80 - 90 degrees Farenheit. My oven with the pilot light on is fine when I keep the oven door open about one inch.
  3. The next morning, save out 2 cups of this expanded starter. Put it into a 1 quart jar (like a Mason jar) and gently cover the top of the mixture with 1 cup of white granular sugar. Do not mix. Loosely cover jar and put in the refrigerator. The sugar will nourish the yeast in the sour dough starter for up to 6-7 weeks. When you bake again, use the contents of this jar as your starter.
  4. You can leave the remaining expanded starter in its mixing bowl if you intend to make Early Colonial Sour Dough Bread. You can also use it to make sour dough waffles or biscuits but will probably not need all the expanded starter.

Transporting Starter

To give someone your starter, put a heaping tablespoon of starter mixture in a small jar. The recipient will then rinse it into a larger jar with 1 1/2 cups warm water. Mix in 2 cups of white flour, 1 T. of granulated sugar and 1 t. of instant potato flakes. Cover with a damp cloth and set it overnight in a warm place (a gas oven with the pilot light on and the oven door open about one inch.) The next morning, pour 1 cup of sugar on top of the starter. Don't mix it in. Lightly cover and store in the refrigerator.

If you don't have a sour dough starter, ask a friend for some. I got mine in 1990 when a friend gave me the starter for Amish Friendship Bread in 1990. I used it as the "Transporting Starter". You could also use the procedures given in standard cookbooks. Several appear on pp. 755-757 in the 1997 edition of the "Joy of Cooking".


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