Starter is an apt and simple name for the thing that makes sourdough bread rise. It is, quite literally, the starter of the leavening process.

There are lots of ways to make and manage sourdough starter - and there are a few of them here on this website. This section is all about looking after sourdough starter - what to do when things go wrong, how to understand them and so on. I recommend that you have a look at the articles here to give yourself a better understanding of 'the pet that lives in your fridge'.


Starting the Sourdough Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starters

The Place Where Sourdough Starts...

Have you ever wondered how bread rises? To any home baker, including myself, the experience of watching the dough double in size is still one of the great things about breadmaking.


It's also a sort of preliminary litmus test as to how successful your recipe or technique has been. But to get the dough to rise, we need to create a fermentation process. Fermentation involves the culture and growth of naturally occurring funghi (yeasts), as well as bacteria and other micro organisms. When fermentation occurs in the dough carbon dioxide is given off as a natural bi product. Sourdough Starter is the thing which begins and feeds the fermentation process in dough, as it is rich in bacteria, enzymes such as amalyse and naturally occurring yeasts. This combination provides a perfect medium for the process called leavening.


Spelt Sourdough Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

As a Starter, Spelt Rocks!

In this website, I've gone into quite a bit of detail about how to get a starter established (go back to 'sourdough starter' - there are a bunch of posts on the subject, and you'll need to scan them all to make sense of this one).

I've been experimenting with spelt flour in starter, and it's actually a very viable grain to use. Spelt contains a lot of wild yeasts, and that's why it's so good in starter.


Using a Desem starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

Using Dough  Sourdough Starter

Desem, or 'dough' starter is one of the easiest ways of making sourdough bread at home. It requires substantially less feeding than a regular liquid starter.

However, to establish a desem is a bit difficult from a young liquid starter - many people tell me that they end up with a chunk of odourless dough which, when they use it, doesn't produce outstanding results. This is often because the fermentation they had to begin with in their liquid starter wasn't yet strong enough to handle the change to the dryer environment of a dry dough starter.


Foods for the Ferment

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

There are at least a dozen ways to make a sourdough starter culture. This site has already covered some of them, and will continue to explore variations, and hopefully provide you with reasonably accurate information - like everything else here, I test ideas out, and when I'm satisfied they are workable, I write and publish here accordingly.

An area of interest for lots of us has been discovering what a starter likes to eat. Like all creative types, home bakers are, if anything, keen experimenters. I get some great stories about what works, and why, so I'd like to share some of them now.

'Dough' Sourdough Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

Dry dough sourdough starter'Dough' Sourdough Starter is one for the keenest sourdough bakers among you.

It makes great sourdough bread, with a deep, rich SOUR flavour, which, despite the capitalisation, isn't harsh at all. It's just 'deep', in the same way that a mature wine is 'deep'.

It can be made from scratch, or you can convert liquid starter, or even  a chunk of old dough.

Dough sourdough starter keeps for at least 2 weeks between feeds, once established and at the correct consistency. 


Healing Your Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

From time to time, starter gets a bit out of balance. Either a bit too acid, or a bit too alkali. Mostly, this comes as a result of neglect, but it can also come about from the home baker not being able to read the starter correctly.

People sometimes 'over feed' their starters, and it can end up with this process being the remedy as well. Often, they'll just throw it out and start again. I advise against this course of action, due to the simple fact that the essence of a starter doesn't ever die - it just gets out of balance. By throwing it out, you are throwing away the flavour you want to get by making sourdough bread in the first place!



Maintaining a Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

Keeping your sourdough starter alive seems to be the thing that takes new sourdough bakers the longest to master. There's a good reason for that - I think it takes people a while to grasp the fact that sourdough starter is actually alive, not just flour and water. As such, it has its own rhythms and requirements, and it doesn't always conform to our own.

Active liquid starter


I'm working on the premis that you've managed to get some life into your own starter, and that you've read the articles in this website (the recipe '7 day sourdough starter' is probably the most comprehensive, but navigate around the site and you'll find more information of a general nature as well).

Sourdough Breadmaking Classes and Workshops

It's one thing to follow a recipe - but it's entirely a different thing being shown. If you find this stuff interesting, why not book a place in an upcoming Sourdough 101 Workshop, held in Newcastle every month?

Introduction to Sourdough Starter

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

 The thing about Sourdough Bread which makes it unique is the Starter it is made from.

Starters are living things - they eat, sleep, multiply and, if looked after correctly, can be very productive. Starter is tough, too - in the case of my own starter, it has had a long life (over 20 years), and while it's had a few close shaves, so far it's lived to tell the tale.

Sourdough Breadmaking Classes and Workshops

If you like the site, why not book in for a sourdough workshop at my Newcastle Bakery? They are a full day, and cover all the basics to make great sourdough bread at home!

Making a Sourdough Starter from Spelt

Written by Warwick Quinton. Posted in Starter Recipes

As a Sourdough Starter, Spelt Rocks!


On this website, I've gone into quite a bit of detail about how to get a starter established.

Lately I've been experimenting with spelt flour (triticum spelta) in sourdough starter, and I've discovered it's really is a very viable grain to use. Quite often I'll use different grains in starters and try new methods of handling them - mainly because I'm endlessly curious, but also because there are different strokes for different folks...check out 'Introduction to Sourdough Starter' for more on this.




Breadmaking Classes