Is Your Sourdough Starter Alive & Well


It’s almost time to bake bread! In this six-part series called “Follow the Sourdough,” Chef John shows you how to make sourdough bread, from beginning... See more to end. Last time, you learned how to feed your sourdough starter to make it strong and healthy. Today, we’re observing the tiny bubbles that form on the top of the starter when it's alive and well. For bread makers, this is scintillating viewing. Because, guess what? You’re almost ready to make bread! Did you miss the previous episode? Check out How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter. Ready to move on? See How to Make the Sponge for Homemade Bread. Or start at the beginning with How to Make San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

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The Chatter


Mar 16, 2014 8:03 PM

Thanks...yup, all went well with the starter and my sourdough buckwheat waffles were truly amazing. Yikes, I sound about 12, but nonetheless, the waffles were everything we had hoped for. Turned out the little "floating" island in the middle of my starter was undissolved flour which had become a gummy "no man's land", just floatin' about a sea of sourdough goodness.


Mar 7, 2014 9:56 PM

OK...this isn't my first sourdough rodeo, BUT, I'm a bit concerned about my starter. The liquid I stir back in faithfully is a clear somewhat brown-tinged color. It smells great doesn't APPEAR moldy, but about every other day it has a small "patch" of solid starter floating on the top. One might say it looks a bit like the stuff you scrape off the counter when you dribble your starter whilst spooning it out for measurement. Does that make sense? It IS NOT PINKISH OR ORANGE and does not smell bad in the least. I just want to know if I should throw in the towel and start a new batch now or should I just keep on going, risking a waste of time later. Thanks for any help...I've lost my confidence. Oh one more thought, we have a you think I should be using distilled water just in case? Now, I'm starting to scare myself! haha


Feb 9, 2014 11:18 AM

Just want to give some words of encouragement to anyone struggling with trying to get their starter going. Mine took 8 days before it really started reacting the way it should. It smelled like beer (which is supposed to be good) but it produced quite a lot of hooch between feedings (which I poured off) and it didn't double at all. I kept the faith since it smelled healthy, and voila, it came to life on day 8. It's bubbling like crazy, doubling in size, and the hooch production has slowed down. I've read where some people took as long as 10,12 even 14 days, so I just kept feeding and watching. It paid off.Patience pays off! It's really true when they say "everybody's starter is different". As long as there's no mold and it smells healthy, I think you just persevere. Keep the faith my sourdough friends!

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