Sourdough Bread Starter Recipes

By Staff

Sourdough Bread Starter Recipes

Recipe Box for GRIT’s March/April 2014 issue included one starter recipe used with Amish Friendship Bread and other baked goods. We’ve searched our recipe archives for other bread starter recipes, and we’d like to share them with you. Several different Sourdough Bread Starter recipes are included, here, as well as a Herman base. You can also use Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipes pulled from our archives. (Photo by

 • Sourdough Bread Starter Recipe With Wild Yeast

 • Sourdough Bread Recipe With Starter

 • Overnight Sourdough Starter Recipe

 • Sourdough Bread Starter Recipe Variation 

 • San Francisco Sourdough Starter Recipe

 • Herman Bread Starter Recipe


Sourdough Bread Starter Recipe With Wild Yeast

Wild yeast from the air begins the process for this Sourdough Starter Recipe that is ready to use in 3 to 7 days.  (Photo by

2 cups flour
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix well in a crockery container. Cover with a towel, store in a warm place and stir at least once a day. Wild yeast is present in the air, so the starter will start bubbling and develop a nice yeasty smell in 3 to 7 days.

Sourdough can be contrary, though, and sometimes fails to ripen. If you don’t mind cheating, add half a packet of dry yeast to the flour, water and sugar mixture, and it’ll probably be ready the following day.

Whenever you use your sourdough starter, the amount taken out should be replaced by an equal amount of the flour and water mixture. And, yes, you can store starter, covered, in the refrigerator.


Sourdough Bread Recipe With Starter

This bread starter recipe also includes a Sourdough Bread recipe so you can turn out a few delicious loaves. (Photo by


2 cups thick potato water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups (more or less) flour


2 cups sourdough starter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup warm potato water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups (more or less) flour

Starter: Boil 1 or 2 potatoes in jackets until they fall to pieces. Remove jackets; mash potatoes well and allow to cool. Add more water to make sufficient liquid, if needed. Put all starter ingredients in a pot or crock; beat until smooth. Cover and set in warm place to ferment. Can be used in 3 days, but is better if allowed to ripen longer. As you use the starter, it needs to be replaced.

Bread: Mix starter, sugar, potato water and oil. Add half the flour and set in a warm place until doubled in size. Add salt and enough remaining flour to make a dough that is easy to handle, smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Knead down; let rise until doubled in size. Form into loaves and slash the tops. Bake at 500 F for 10 minutes; reduce temperature to 400 F and bake an additional 45 minutes.


Overnight Sourdough Starter Recipe

This sourdough starter uses active dry yeast to start the process and will be ready overnight. (Photo by

1 yeast cake or 1 package active dry yeast
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water

In glass or plastic jar, thoroughly mix yeast, flour and warm water. Don’t use metal. Set mixture aside in warm place (85 F to 95 F) for overnight, at least. By next day, mixture should be bubbly and have pleasant yeast smell. This starter should be ready to use for anything you want to make. To keep starter going, feed it by adding 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend well. After you feed starter, do not use it for 24 hours.


Sourdough Bread Starter Recipe Variation

There are many variations of the Overnight Sourdough Starter Recipe. This one will be 2 to 3 days before it is ready to be baked into homemade bread. (Photo by

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar

To start your own sourdough pot, crock or cookie jar, simply mix all the ingredients together and allow to “work” in a warm corner of your kitchen for 2 or 3 days.


San Francisco Sourdough Starter Recipe

Sourdough bread starter turns into delicious loaves of San Francisco Sourdough Bread.

1 package yeast
2  1/2 cups warm water, divided
2 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir in remaining water, flour, salt and sugar. Beat until smooth. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Stir three times a day. Cover at night to prevent drying. The starter should have a strong, yeasty smell. Store unused portion in a covered container in the refrigerator. 


Herman Bread Starter Recipe

Try an old-fashioned starter recipe; your ancestors may have called it a Herman. (Photo by

1 envelope dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar

Use a large plastic or glass container; do not use metal. The mixture will bubble up, so use a large enough bowl to allow for this.

Dissolve yeast in warm, not hot, water. Stir in flour and sugar and beat until smooth. Cover tightly and put in a warm place overnight. The mixture will separate into a liquid on the bottom and a thicker substance on top. It will have a yeasty aroma. Stir and refrigerate.

Stir each day for five days (you might want to mark the days on a calendar). On the fifth day, divide and give half to a friend. The half remaining is your starter. This starter must be fed and stirred for 10 days before it is ready to use.

The starter must be kept in the refrigerator and stirred every day. It must be fed on the first and fifth days with the following: 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and 1 cup milk. Mix well.

On the 10th day, take 1 cup of the mixture and set aside. Give 1 cup to a friend. Use the remaining 2 cups for biscuits, cinnamon rolls or coffeecake.

The cup of Herman set aside must be fed the sugar, flour and milk mixture on the first day to start a new Herman. Repeat directions.

For more great recipes, check out Recipe Box: Sauces for Dipping and Using Bread Starter.

  • Published on Feb 21, 2014
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