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Dec 30, 2006 11:14 PM

How to use Sourdough starter in no knead recipe?

Can you advise on how to incorporate sourdough starter in this recipe, using 3 cups flour, 1 5/8 water etc?

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  1. Father Kitchen, who posts frequently here about this bread, has stated that he uses 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of starter, made to the same consistency as the dough.
    (I just found this by searching on this "Home Cooking" board.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      Thanks very much. I've got my first try ready for baking in a few minutes. Happy New Year. FJM

      1. re: FJM

        Please let us know the results! I want to try sourdough too, very much.

        1. re: blue room

          Thanks all for your responses. With this first sour dough attempt I included about 1/4 cup of 4-day old sour dough starter, combined with 30% whole wheat flour in the total recipe. The loaf came out great, the sour dough flavour was mild. I expect as the sour dough culture matures over time, it will lend a stronger flavour. However, in sum, the loaf is very satisfying.

    2. the post above is a good rule of thumb. There are different types of sourdough... stiff and liquid sourdoughs. Technically, just figure out the water content of the sourdough and factor that into the dough. If it is a normal sourdough, where you use equal amounts (by weight) water/flour to replenish. then just throw in a 1/4 cup of the starter, as the other posters have said. (this is because that recipe calls for, about the same ratio of water to flour).

      If you happen to maintain a stiff sourdough, just figure out the water content of the amount of starter you plan to use (1/4 is a good amount) and subtract the water and flour amount from the recipe. But, frankly, if only using 1/4, it even just throwing it into the normal recipe won't screw up this recipe, as it is pretty forgiving.

      1 Reply
      1. re: adamclyde

        I agree that the recipe is very forgiving. I suggest you not worry too much about ratios. I reduced the flour by 1/4 cup and added somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of starter (didn't bother to measure). Once you've baked a few loaves you get to know what the initial dough is supposed to look like, so when you mix the dough just add a little water or flour at the end as needed.

        I have found, however, that my sourdough loaves take a bit longer to rise than when I use commercial yeast. So don't get hung up on a fixed rise time. If it still looks a little flat, let it go another hour or two.

        One more tip. Even though you don't need to knead, stretching and folding the dough once or twice during the rise will give you a chewier loaf.

      2. I came on here looking for sourdough starter and found this thread. I would love someone, anyone, to post how to do their starter. I've done it a zillion times myself without a good result. it's either not yeasty or not sour, it is just bland and I end up tossing it after a hundred years. can you help with a sourdough starter recipe?
        I went into that Levy Blanathal [really the way wrong name] but anyway, to check out her 'fed' starter but for the life of me, I can't find the recipe to start the starter.

        6 Replies
        1. re: iL Divo

          It may have something to do with where you live. It's said that San Francisco sourdough is so good because of the wild yeasts and other bugs that are native to the area. If you live in Arizona, for example, I wouldn't be surprised if you had a hard time making sourdough starter regardless of what method you use.

          1. re: Zeldog

            Will the sourdough be as good if the starter is made a few miles from San Francisco proper? If I make a starter in Palo Alto, will it have the same tang and characteristics? Or should I mix the starter at Fisherman's Wharf and carry it there every day for a week to expose it to the sea air? I ask this seriously.

          2. re: iL Divo

            "Levy Blanathal," are you referring to Rose Levy Berenbaum, the cake baker? Or Jim Lahey, the bread baker? Or Heston Blumenthal, the English chef? Or maybe someone else, of whom I have no clue.

            Check this link for tons of sourdough starter recipes, advice, hints and tips, plus formulas for breads made with starter. The best starter I ever made was simply with rye flour and water:

            This link is the first lesson:

            This link is posts from the freshloaf community; don't let it overwhelm you:

            Father Kitchen, a very knowledgeable chow poster, and bread baking aficionado, has a bit to say about the freshloaf, and starter in general, in this thread:


            In lieu of making your own, you can buy dried starter from a few websites, KAF for one, or maybe get some starter from a local bakery that produces sourdough bread. I think the fun is in making your own, though.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Addendum: whether you buy starter or make your own, please read the freshloaf lesson link, as you will still need to be familiar with how to maintain it.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I can maintain. I can't seem to make bread with mine.


            2. re: iL Divo

              The easiest way to get a starter that tastes great is to go to your favourite sourdough supplier and ask them for a bit of theirs. That's what I did and I've been making great sourdough for a couple of years now.