hmmm… sourdough!

No, it was not oatmeal, nor crumbled paneer, though those are good guesses!
I thought it looked a little like crushed saltines, too.
It is dried sourdough starter.

This summer I was lucky enough to taste *real* sourdough pancakes made by a pro who was also kind enough to give me some starter. The whole concept and process reminded me of fermenting a batter for dosas.

dried sourdough starter
dried sourdough starter

sourdough starter and food - warm water, flour, and sugar
dried sourdough starter and food – warm water, flour, and sugar


So Nabeela guessed it, and Maneka did too, for by definition, sourdough is “a leaven consisting of dough in which fermentation is active” — it uses wild yeast from the air. The use of sourdough as rising agent is old, but this was a new experiment for me.

On Sunday, the dried starter was mixed with about half-cup of warm water,
1 TB flour and 1/2 tsp sugar.

sourdough starter mixed
sourdough starter mixed with warm water, flour, and sugar

It was covered and left to rest in a warm place, then each day for three days
I fed it a little more flour — about 1/4 cup at a time.
Today, the third full day, it finally seems to be cooking.

sourdough day 3

I added flour once more, and gave it all a good stir.
Now the “sponge” seems to be taking off nicely.

sourdough day 3
the sourdough “sponge” is really bubbling now

This goes into the fridge for a few days. It will be removed daily, and fed more flour and warm water if necessary.
Hopefully, by the weekend, it will be ready for sourdough pancakes and biscuits. Then perhaps I will tackle a real loaf of bread!



  1. RP said

    hmmmmm……… πŸ˜‰

    You take the best photos for us to guess RP – waiting on your next one πŸ˜‰

  2. linda…..what r u up to???????????????? i can hear a big clattering from ur kitchen!!!!!!!!!!

    hmmm… maybe the cats? πŸ˜‰

  3. Vaishali said

    Is that crumbled Paneer in the first picture, Linda? Oh God, this is too much excitement for me. –bites nails
    What I love most about this post are the ‘hmmmm…..’s. πŸ™‚

    I guess we’ll have to get a manicure together, Vaishali! πŸ˜‰

  4. shilpa said

    I am very bad at guessing. So will wait for your answer πŸ˜‰

    Lucky for me the guessing game turned into something real Shilpa… I wasn’t sure for a day or two that it would work!

  5. Asha said


    Ah, the answer was napping too Asha πŸ™‚

  6. mm said

    Is this oatmeal?????

    Probably the only thing I will never write about mm, is oatmeal πŸ™‚

  7. hey i got it..i got it… it is yeast for sure..!

    It is a kind of yeast, Maneka! Great guess πŸ™‚

  8. Nabeela said

    is that a sour dough starter? are you making sour dough bread??? If you are, I’ll definitely need to know how it went…cuz then I’ll be making some myself over here…the hubby loves’em you see πŸ™‚

    Nabeela, you won the prize — yet to be determined πŸ˜‰

    It is a sourdough starter, and happily it woke up! Will definitely let you know how this goes…

  9. Lera said

    Linda, something different ..looking fwd to see the end products of your sourdough!!

    Hi Lera, I hope the end is edible! πŸ˜‰ Will post when I’ve tried cooking with it…

  10. shaheen said

    interesting linda. i like sourdough bread so waitng to see how urs turned out.

    Hi Shaheen — will certainly put up a photo and recipe when I give it a try, thanks πŸ™‚

  11. Vaishali said

    Wow! I would have never guessed that. Also because I never thought that you would take the trouble of doing that at home. I have read about sourdough somewhere and I know it is a lengthy procedure, which kinda convinced me that it is to be done only by bakeries. πŸ™‚
    Btw, it goes on to show that Nabeela is big way into baking. Applause, Nabeela!

    Hi Teach! Unfortunately I’m rarely satisfied unless I try some things myself… even if I fail miserably. Will hope for a good mark with sourdough… I have another expert advisor helping me with that too πŸ™‚

  12. Luv2Cook said

    yay…cool..learnt something new πŸ™‚ never knew about this…

    Hey Sam… nice to see you πŸ™‚ I’m learning about this myself… will see how it turns out!
    PS Am also working on ghee-not-butter dish for your JFI πŸ˜‰

  13. Nabeela said

    Oooh, you must be excited with your bubbling starter… I know I would! Sourdough pancakes are something I never heard of…but they sound interesting.
    P.S: Vaishali, when you spend as much time as I do in baking books, you would know about it too :)…I’m sure my Professors would be delighted if I spent the same amount of time in my course work instead of poring over cookbooks πŸ™‚

    I fed it again tonight, Nabeela, and it’s looking great. You’re right — I am excited. Now I’m sure you’re spending as much time crunching numbers as you are crunching delicious baked goodies!? πŸ˜‰

  14. Hema said

    Hi Linda,
    I tried making my own starter about 6 months back and it bubbled up just like yours. I even kept it alive for about 4 months. I tried making bread twice and both times it wasnt just the right texture. Maybe the starter couldnt catch the right guys here in Florida. Maybe I did something wrong. Let me know if you bake a bread and it turns out well. I probably should buy some starter the next time.

    Hi Hema,

    I have read that different climates, time of year, altitude etc can affect sourdough and how it acts when used in baked goods. That’s why I mean to begin with something simple like biscuits and pancakes — so I can see how it works here in New England. If I make a good loaf of bread, I will certainly post about that too.

    Took a peek at your blog just now — very nice! Hope you don’t mind if I add your link πŸ™‚

  15. Arjuna said

    Now that I know how much of effort goes into making sour dough bread.. I will probably never try to make it at home πŸ˜€

    Hi Arjuna — so far it’s been more time consuming than anything — but I’m still nervous about it! Love your “big grin” πŸ˜€

  16. Asha said

    Great sour dough starter for making any kind of bread!! Looks time consuming but bet you get beautiful soft bread!! It’s all worth it in the end!Thanks!!

    Thanks Asha πŸ™‚

  17. […] in September, THIS happened! I read through the post at least 3 times before I left a comment. Few days later, she […]

RSS feed for comments on this post

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: