Sourdough Starter Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Peter Reinhart

Adapted by Oliver Strand

Sourdough Starter Recipe (1)

Total Time
4 to 8 days
Rating
4(2,169)
Notes
Read community notes

This is an adaptation of the instructions for making a starter outlined by Peter Reinhart in his “Artisan Breads Every Day.” It takes a little more or less than a week of mixing flour with liquid – Mr. Reinhart starts with unsweetened pineapple juice (though you could also use orange juice or apple cider), then switches to water – to achieve a vigorous, living starter. Once it is bubbling and fragrant, with a light yeasty-boozy scent, you can use it and feed it daily with a cup of flour and a half-cup of water. Or put the starter in the refrigerator and feed it weekly, always discarding (or using!) a cup of the original when you do. (All measurements are by weight.) —Oliver Strand

Featured in: The Slow Route to Homemade Pizza

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Ingredients

Yield:2 pizza recipes and leftover starter

  • 16ounces flour
  • 3ounces pineapple juice
  • 10ounces filtered or spring water

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

424 calories; 1 gram fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 89 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 2 grams sugars; 12 grams protein; 6 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Sourdough Starter Recipe (2)

Preparation

  1. Step

    1

    Make seed culture: Combine 1 ounce of the flour and 2 ounces pineapple juice in a large glass or small nonreactive bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature, stirring with a wet spoon twice a day. Bubbles should appear after 24 to 36 hours. After 48 hours, add 1 ounce flour and remaining pineapple juice, stirring to incorporate. Re-cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature, stirring with a wet spoon twice a day. When it is foamy, in 1 to 4 days, combine 2 ounces flour and 1 ounce filtered or spring water in a medium nonreactive bowl. Add seed culture, stirring to incorporate, and re-cover with plastic wrap. Stir twice a day to aerate.

  2. Step

    2

    When mixture has doubled in bulk, in 1 to 2 days, convert it into a starter: Combine 12 ounces flour and 9 ounces filtered or spring water in bowl. Add 4 ounces of seed culture mixture (discard the rest, or use to make a second starter) and mix until fully incorporated. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. It should have the consistency of bread dough. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl and let rest at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 4 to 8 hours. Knead lightly, then store in container with tight-fitting lid (container must be large enough to let starter triple in bulk). Store in refrigerator.

Tip

  • Every 5 to 10 days the starter will need to be fed with more flour and water. Follow the directions in step 2 above, substituting starter for seed culture.

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Private Notes

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Cooking Notes

Chris

PLEASE... When you cite measurements for both liquids and solids in "ounces" it's ambiguous--are we talking fluid ounces or weights? Please specify grams for each ingredient, as we baker's are being strongly encouraged to measure all ingredients in this more precise way. Thanks!

Mary Laves

See easier to follow recipe in a serires of posts.

Seed Culture:
1.Mix 1 oz. Flour & 2 oz. Unsweetned fruit juice (Stir twice day)
2.48 hours: Add 1 oz. Flour and 1 oz. Juice. ( Stir twice a day)
3.1 to 4 days: When foamy combine 2oz flour and 1 oz. Filtered water. Add seed culture, stir to incorpoate. (Stir twice a day)

DonR9

I'm confused. I now have the completed starter recipe in the fridge and it seems to have tripled in volume. What next? To make bread or pizza dough, do I now use that starter as is, or do I add it to more flour, water and what else; and, if so, in what proportions? Sorry to be so dense about this

Gemma Seymour @gcvsa

So far as I am aware, any acid will do. I prefer to start mine with actively fermenting apple cider. I buy gallon jugs of local sweet cider that has been lightly pasteurised, fit them with brewer's airlocks, and make hard cider. When it is in the early stages of ferment, I pour some off to make a new starter, if I've let my last one die. Incidentally, a thin sourdough starter can be cooked just like pancakes, with a touch of salt added. Best pancakes/panbreads I've ever tasted.

SteveB

Just to set the record straight and give credit where credit is due, the use of pineapple juice to inhibit Leuconostoc bacteria growth during the initial phase of sourdough culture creation was discovered by microbiologist Debra Wink and colleagues back in 2002 (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1 and http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2). Perhaps it should be called The Wink Method.

Paul

I used flour and water, added air and a little time, just like the Tartine recipe, no acid; it's alive and well 8 months later. I refresh it every 10-14 days if not baking (an excellent opportunity, by the way, to see if anything else in the fridge needs refreshing) or daily if I am, by mixing 1/4 cup starter with 1/2 each flour and water, while the French press steeps, the milk heats and the quail forage. It fits easily into the morning routine.

Sam Fromartz

72 F is a bit cool to get a starter going. You will get more activity at a warmer temperature (the sweet spot is 78-80 F). If you kitchen is below <72 F it will be very hard to get this culture going. One tip:mix in warmer water to start (around 90 F, so the starter mixture ends up around 80 F). Or place the starter in a cabinet high up in the kitchen. Or, in an oven next to the oven light.

Anna newton

If the US went metric it would be clear: liters and milliliters for volume and grams for weight.

Lucy

No, the pineapple juice is definitely for acid. See Debra Vink's excellent description of the microbiology that led to the development of the pineapple juice starter, here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1

MP cormier

I thought I understood what this was: instructions for a sourdough starter. But rereading instructions & some comments, it isn't clear to me what part of the instructions are a starter and what part is Pizza dough. Is step 1 the starter and step 2 the pizza dough? Are both steps the starter. And if so, why does the note at the top of the recipe refer to Pizza dough? I hope some can help soon, because at the end of step 1 and I'm not sure where to go next.

George

Silly silly silly...one cup of unbleached flour, one cup of spring water mix in a non reactive bowl, leave in covered on the counter for two days, stirring the mixture occasionally. Add a cup of whole grain flour and a cup of spring water; adding a tablespoon of pineapple juice if you'd like it might speed the process, or 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast if you don't mind breaking the rules...otherwise just wait for the bubbles.. So simple

Sharala

IMPORTANT: This is VERY forgiving process. Not rocket science. I read a lot of recipes and determined ratio when feeding is one part seed to one part water to 2 parts flour. More or less. Lol. I put back in same jar in fridge. (I keep the empty jar in fridge overnight while feeding the starter.) So far no problems with spoilage. Got this idea from guy in Alaaka on YouTube. Also, brown liquid on top is ok. Byproduct. Just stir it back in.

Dick Voelkel

Why throw away any excess starter? Use it all to make the bread except 1/4 cup for the next starter! Waste not; want not! Works for me.

tom mcmahon

My question also. VERY unclear! I thought 'starter' WAS 'seed culture.' If not, what the heck is the difference? And what yeast beast now lies in my fridge? It's just dough not starter, right? And why aren't there ANY replies to all the confused posts? Makes me want to punch some dough - really hard.

Lilikoi

For pineapple juice, substitute water potatoes were cooked in. Makes a wonderful starter.

Robin Fireman

I’m confused at when it’s a starter? I’m in the 1-4 day period currently.

finoula

I looked up Reinhart and it is flour by wt (28.5 g per oz) and liquid oz for liquids. And there is a reason to use pineapple juice. was shocked to see this kind of carelessness. Why is NA so slow to grams?

Ariel

What is "seed culture mixture"?

Lynne

I am a baker (but not bread) and am confused ... what is "seed culture?"

TJS

adding the pineapple hastens the process of activating starter without adding in sweetness. I use gold yeast, just a pinch to continue the process in the dough. The pinch of gold yeast is to stop the competition for hydration by the added fruit sugar. Works great

Mimi

For seed culture in metric weight: 1. Mix 28g flour & 57g unsweetened fruit juice (Stir twice day)2. After 48 hours: Add 28g flour and 28g unsweetened juice. (Stir twice a day)3. When foamy (between 1 to 4 days): combine 57g flour and 28g of filtered water. Add seed culture, stir to incorporate. (Stir twice a day)To convert it into a starter: Combine 340g flour and 255g filtered water in bowl. Add 113g of seed culture mixture (discard the rest, or use to make a second starter)

Liz in Arizona

My starter is five years old, and I have never used juice. It is simply unbleached flour and dechlorinated water. It is amazingly resilient, forgiving lapses in feeding. It has also survived absences of three weeks, when its babysitter failed to feed it. It makes outstanding pancakes and bread. Read up on the King Arthur website. Wild yeast don't need no stinkin' juice! ;)

Dave M

Will canned pineapple juice work, or should it be "fesh"?

Alan

Since Chris's complaint about "ounces" measurement has 822 thumbs up, evidently quite a few of you are similarly confused. Liquids (juice and water) are in fluid ounces; flour is by weight. But given that "a pint's a pound the world around," it's not gonna make any difference either way.

James

For this recipe: While the recipe is ambiguous in terms which 'ounce' weight OR fluid, you'll only be off 4% which will make no difference whatsoever for a starter. Also hopefully you have a scale with fractional measurements of ounce so, for this recipe, it will be as good as grams.

peter

What is seed culture? Thank you for your help.Peter

Lori Glier

Have made this sourdough starter from scratch. Just love it ! They say if you don't give your starter a name it is bad luck . So I named my starter Doughbalina! I have made waffles from this starter, dill sourdough crackers. Also my English muffins are in the fridge and they will be ready tomorrow!Thanks for this great recipe!

Craig

As to the pineapple juice amount: what you want at the start is a thin slurry. I accomplish this with 60 grams of fresh pineapple juice and 30 grams of King Arthur unbleached white flour. At the next step I use KA whole wheat flour. Then I sort of go my own way after that. My starter is about 5 years old now and it’s never gone funky or let me down.

Noah

my starter always starts to get moldy after about 3 to 4 days. what to do?

Joahna

I used fermented apple juice, not sure how to make cider. And the starter looks more like bubly dough, it was too dense to mix in a batter to make a no knead bread. However, I used a bit of the seed culture to add moist since the recipe asked for 100% hydration of the starter. I have to say that my bread came up really good to be the first I make. I am now trying the milk bread recipe with the same starter. My only question is, how do you feed the starter? The recipe says to follow the step 2?

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Sourdough Starter Recipe (2024)
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