Monday, March 12, 2012

The Life and Times of a Sour Dough starter named Ferdinand.

I've fancied making a sour dough starter for ages, but put it into the too hard basket. But, when my march Country Living arrived they had a recipe that was so simple even I could do it. Or could I?

Day 1
1 teaspoon of strong bread flour and 2 teaspoons of water. Mix together in a wee jar and put the lid on. Leave in a warm place

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

then it's ready.

Well I tried and the first batch got to day 4 when I admitted defeat. Nothing was happening other than a very strong vinegary smell.
I used ordinary white flour and it just didn't work. Drastic measures were called for. A trip to Bin Inn.
I asked the lovely lady there what sort of flour I should use and she suggested rye flour. I bought a wee bag, came home and started again.

It's day three now and it's going well, I think. But not as well as day 2. He grew loads then. Today is much colder, so I've put him near the stove.

And why Ferdinand? Well I read somewhere that as a starter is a living organism it does better if it has a name and who am I to argue with that!

Any tips gratefully received.


  1. Hi Laura,

    it is actually better if you remove half of it and feed the remainder up again. This way you give new microorganisms more space to grow. It will also dilute the bacteria you don't want in your starter. I also think 1 part flour to 2 parts water is too much water Usually you would either take equal parts or more flour than water.

    I started my starter with apple juice, really easy. Let me know if you want the recipe.

    And it might take longer than 5 days depending on temperature. The hot water cupboard is a good place to have your starter. They don't like ups and downs in temperature.
    If you need recipes, check out my blog

    Cheers and say hello to Ferdinand.


  2. thank you so much, Peter. Brilliant advice. I knew it would be a learning curve!
    We don't have a hot water cupboard - I wish we did cos I know that would be a great place. So tomorrow I'll not put any water in but just add some flour and see how that gets on. I'll let you know! If poor Ferdinand bites the dust I'd love to try your apple juice recipe.

  3. Good on you for giving it a go...its up there with soap making for me, on the list when my head is in the right place to try it........
    Ill look forward to seeing your first loaf...!
    You know, I looked on the internet for rose floral overalls for you lol.......and found none...I think there is a market for them! You will have to make your own!!!!!

  4. Hmmm .... sourdough babies ... I'm guilty of murdering a few. It's become a bit of a family joke - Julian and Abby peering at the latest dough baby and then roaring with laughter when it "dies" again! If you get this working, you must be PRECISE details - it's something I am determined to succeed at! Along with soap making :-) Good luck! p.s. I've read the same as what Peter suggested about tipping half out each day.


I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x