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Jul 26, 2009 03:55 AM

source for sourdough starter?

is there anywhere in the boston area that sells sourdough starter--are any of the bakeries around town willing to sell bits of their own? i've made it before from scratch but had a hard time getting it stabilized, plus i hear that older ones have better flavor.

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  1. If I were you, I'd head over to my neighborhood bakery (go for a decent one, like Clear Flour or When Pigs Fly), and go early - like 7AM when they're still baking and ask really nicely. I've actually done this before back in Montreal and have always had success. A good baker will always want to share with those who love their wares, particularly since it means that they are doing something right.


    2 Replies
    1. re: nader

      Clear Flour might possibly sell some of their sourdough starter - it couldn't hurt to ask - but none of the Boston-area When Pigs Fly outlets do any baking on-site. I believe that all of their bread is delivered daily from Maine.

      This question has come up before on this board within the last couple of years, although a search wasn't me giving any useful results. I think the consensus then was the same - your best bet is probably to order some from King Arthur, who have a decent not-too-sour starter with a very old pedigree (over 250 years.)

    2. Try the baker that is nearest to you. If that fails, there is always mail order. King Arthur flour's website has sourdough starter. I have used it and it is pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PinchOfSalt

        There's a thread on KA's starter:

        I haven't tried sourdough starters for my breads, so I can't suggest any - I'm trying to remember where I read (just this weekend) about someone having gotten a great starter, but I'm not sure if it was here on Chowhound, or on the Fresh Loaf site. You could check there ( ) too. There's lots of mail order places for sour dough starters... but I don't know which are good.

      2. thanks for all the replies, i didn't find that previous thread in my searching. i know about the king arthur route, and may well end up going that way. i just didn't know if anyone had in fact successfully purchased starter from clear flour or one of the other bakeries in town, i.e. if that's something they will actually do. i guess i could call them and ask...

        3 Replies
        1. re: autopi

          Do you have some tupperware? If so, email me. I have tons of starter waiting for a home. [I used the Bread Baker's Apprentice starter method.]

          1. re: smtucker

            How did those starter instructions go for you? I'm on Day 2 and it seems wicked dry.

          2. re: autopi

            Michael Ruhlman ( had a great post on an easy starter last week.

          3. I, too have multiple startes, rye, "tangy" sourdough, and "less tangy" sourdough, and would be willing to send you some. The "less tangy" one makes the most delicious bread I've ever had. My neighbor figured out the proportions for making no knead bread with it, and in less ghastly heat we have about 2-3 loaves per week.