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dark & light sourdough starters

Recipe by
Annastiina Salonen
Vanhalinna, Varsinais-Suomi

Sourdough starter is actually a very old and healthy way to make bread and the separate yeast is not needed since cultivating the yeast on our own is is a part of the idea. Using a starter is healthy because it lessens gluten while adding the useful bacteria and good flavors. It fits for all the recipes leavened with yeast. The starter will get a strong start with fermented raisin water. I have also written the recipe in Finnish, here:

yield 100 serving(s)
prep time 10 Min
cook time 23 Hr
method No-Cook or Other

Ingredients For dark & light sourdough starters

  • 100 g
  • 200 g
    water, lukewarm
  • ½ Tbsp
  • 120 g
    fermented raisin water; add water if needed
  • 240 g
    rye flour
  • 180 g
    water, lukewarm
  • Half
    dark sourdough starter
  • wheat flour
  • water, lukewarm

How To Make dark & light sourdough starters

  • 1
    Dark Sourdough Starter: Mix all the ingredients of the raisin water and cover the dish with a plastic wrap. Let it rest in the room temperature until you notice it bubbling and smelling alcoholic. Mix it daily. Depending on the weather temperature this might take 3-5 days. 1st Day: 1. Sieve the raisins out in the morning and take the fermented raisin water. The raisins can still be used for baking. 2. Add 60 grams of rye flour into the raisin water and mix it well. Still cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it in the room temperature. 3. Feed the starter in the evening, adding 60 grams of water and 60 grams of rye flour.
  • 2
    2nd Day: Feed the starter in the morning, adding 60 grams of water and 60 grams of rye flour. Put the starter in a sealable container and keep it in the fridge from now on.
  • 3
    3rd Day: Feed the starter in the morning, adding 60 grams of water and 60 grams of rye flour.
  • 4
    4th Day: The sourdough starter has succeeded and is ready to use if it bubbles and is stretchy.
  • 5
    Light Sourdough Starter: A working light sourdough is recommended to be started with rye first. Hence split your dark starter in two containers. For one container add some rye flour with water and for the other one use wheat. After this it takes a while until the light starter has been used enough to consist almost entirely out of wheat. Before that some mixed bread is being made.
  • 6
    Feeding a Starter: A sourdough starter is fed at least once a week though once every few days is most recommended. It happens by replacing the used starter in grams, half by water and half by flour. According to my experience wheat needs feeding more often than rye. It happens by replacing the used starter in weight, half by flour and half by water. Thus the yeast strain stays alive and the amount as similar. More or less water and flour can be added of course, depending on how much starter is needed. Tiniest amount of starter is needed to make more so you can add a relatively large amount of water and flour as long as it's allowed to ferment. Always remember to mix the starter even. As long as it bubbles it's a sign that it can be used again.
  • 7
    Replacing the Yeast with a Sourdough Starter: 1. 100 grams of sourdough starter is equal to 25 grams of fresh yeast or 8,3 grams of dry yeast. 2. The amount of other flour and liquid in the original recipe should be decreased with the amount found in the sourdough starter, to keep the texture similar. 3. A half of the starter's weight is water and thus it's easy to get the volume from the grams. For example, 100 grams of water is in 200 grams of starter. It's the same as 100 milliliters or one deciliter. 4. 100 grams of rye flour equals 182 ml (55 g/100 ml) and 100 grams of wheat equals 154 ml (65 g/100 ml). 5. The leavening time should be at least double compared to the original recipe because the yeast strain is not completely similar to the one bought in the store.
  • 8
    Active Sourdough Starter: An active sourdough starter is the beginning of a dough which is made by mixing flour and water into a small amount of sourdough starter from the fridge. It will be left into room temperature for 6-8 hours (overnight) and thus it's ensured that the starter is at the peak of its activity. This is how less sourdough starter is needed in the fridge and the recipe is more likely a success, compared to using the starter directly from the fridge. The active sourdough starter is also known as levain in French. The amounts are counted according to how much starter is needed, and what kind. 1. Moist starter: 1 part starter, 1 flour and 2 water. This makes sour bread with leavening of 4 hours. 2. Regular starter: 1 part starter, 1 flour and 1 water. Used for most breads with leavening of 6 hours. 3. Dry starter: 1 part starter, 2 flour and 1 water. Makes bread with a full taste instead of sour with leavening of 8 hours.
  • 9
    Dehydrating a Starter: If the starter is needed to be preserved for later use then it can be dried. 1. Spread the starter as a thin and even layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Let it rest uncovered in the room temperature for about 18-24 hours. 2. The starter is ready to be preserved when it clearly detaches as dry chips. The yeast will go dormant ja keep indefinitely in the room temperature, protected from moisture.
  • 10
    Rehydrating a Starter: 1. Weight the dry chips and put them in sealable container. 2. Add water by double the weight of the chips and close the container. Let the chips dissolve for about three hours in the room temperature. 3. Add water by the weight of the chips and flour by double the weight. Mix it well and seal the container. The bubbling should start after this. 4. Move the container into the fridge and feed the starter normally until it has awakened properly.