Sourdough Starter

READY IN: 672hrs 30mins




  • Wash the grapes and wrap them in a muslin or fine cheese cloth.
  • Loosely tie the open end with a string or elastic band and lightly crush the grapes inside with a rolling pin.
  • Combine the flour and water in a large plastic, ceramic or stainless-steel bowl.
  • It is best if you can find one with a lid.
  • Squeeze some of the juice from the grapes into the flour and water mixture, before completely burying the little bag inside the mixture.
  • Cover with the lid or a plate and leave for 10 days to two weeks at room temperature, around 20 C or 68 F.
  • The grapes should start to ferment and the bag should balloon slightly with the gases being given off by the grapes.
  • Pull the bag out of the mixture and squeeze any juice back into the white mixture.
  • Throw away the grapes and the bag.
  • Stir the starter, which should now be slightly pink and have a sour, grapey smell.
  • Now you should pour away about a third of the initial starter mixture and stir in one batch of its food.
  • In the beginning, you will have to feed your starter twice a day (best done at regular intervals) for two weeks.
  • Just before you feed the starter, make sure you also throw away 200ml of the basic mixture.
  • This might seem like a waste but if you don't you will have far too much starter!
  • After two weeks, your starter should really be alive and kicking.
  • Taste a bit and it should have a slight fizz to it.
  • If the starter doesn't taste fizzy, keep feeding it until it does.
  • A slightly lower room termperature can slow things up a bit.
  • When it tastes fizzy you are ready to start making bread.
  • To keep your starter going (it is a living thing, after all) you should only need to feed it once a week and leave it in the fridge, unless you are making bread more than once a week.
  • If you are not making bread very often, you can leave feedings for two weeks.
  • Make sure you keep it in the fridge, which slows the starter down.
  • If it is kept at room temperature, it will need to be fed every day.
  • Between making bread, give the starter at least a day to recover.