Little Sourdough Cookbook

Sourdough Starter

The first starter:

4 cups flour

2 cups warm water

1 pkg. dry yeast

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water according to directions on yeast package. Add the remaining water and slowly blend in the flour using a wooden spoon. Place in a warm glass bowl. Do not use any metal with sourdough starter as it will leave an acrid taste. Place in a warm place overnight such as a cupboard. Remember that yeast rises so make sure you have used a bowl with plenty of room for the starter to rise or be prepared to clean a mess. The starter will have a clean sour odor in the morning. If the batter stands several days the liquid will separate but this is normal. Place 1 cup starter in a jar and place the lid on it. Store in the refrigerator for later use.

To set the sponge and keep it going always take the starter out of the refrigerator and add 4 cups of warm water water and 4 cups of flour. Place in a large glass bowl and keep warm and free of drafts overnight. To share the starter simply give away 1/2 to 1 cup of the starter. Never add anything else to the starter. Some people in Alaska have starter that is a hundred years old.


Baking soda is used in sourdough recipes to cause gas and make your baking lighter. Follow directions for soda carefully as too much soda makes the baked product brownish colored and too little soda makes the product sour. Always add the soda to dough just before baking. Never add soda to the starter. Always set the sponge (starter the night before you are using it)


After setting aside the 1 cup of starter you may make:

Original Pancakes

3 eggs

2 Tbs. oil

2 tsp. soda

2 tsp. water

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. sugar

4 TBS. powdered milk (optional)

Dissolve the soda in the water. Beat your sponge with a wooden spoon and add eggs, oil, salt and sugar. Just before using the batter add the soda mixture. Bake pancakes on a hot griddle and turn only once after they have bubbled on top. You may add a 1 cup of any of the following as long as you add one more egg to the recipe. Cornmeal, branflakes, wheat germ or wheat flour.


To make sourdough waffles add 4 more Tablespoons of oil to the recipe and then add the soda mixture. Begin baking them in the waffle iron immediately after adding the soda.

Richer Pancakes

2 cups sourdough starter which you made the night before

1 cup lukewarm milk

3 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter or oil or melted shortening

1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Mix eggs, milk and melted butter together. Combine and sift dry ingredients together in a glass bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the oil mixture to the well and beat with a wooden spoon and gently mix until well blended. Allow the batter to rest for ten minutes. Cook on a hot griddle until top is bubbled. Flip only once.



set the sponge 6 to eight hours before using.

Use 1/2 cup starter

2 cups flour

2 cups water

When ready to use the sponge return 1/2 cup to original starter for pancakes.

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup powdered nonfat milk

1/2 cup oil or melted shortening

1 or two eggs

1 tsp. soda

1 Tbs. water

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup raisins, frozen blueberries or cranberries

Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Mix egg and oil together with the sponge. Pour this mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Add the soda mixture and fruit just before placing in muffin tins. Fill the greased muffin tins 3/4 full and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. 12 large muffins.

My favorite Sourdough Bread

This recipe came from the old Blue Bird bakery that was once in Soldotna. The owner gave it to me years ago after I admired his bread.

1 cup. scalded milk cooled to luke warm.

1 Tbsp. salt

3 Tbsp. shortening

1 1/2 cup starter from the sponge you set the day before

4 cups of flour

Add the salt and shortening to the milk while it is cooling and stir to dissolve. When it is lukewarm beat in the flour until it is to stiff to handle. Place on a floured board and knead adding remaining flour until you have a soft pliable dough. Knead for 10 minutes longer. (I use my kitchen aid mixer but if you do this make sure it is one with a large motor or commercial type or you will burn out your motor like my daughter did). Place in a large greased bowl. Oil the top and sides of the dough. It will rise slowly so cover and place in a warm draft free area. When the dough is doubled in size punch dow and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape into several balls and place on a large greased cookie sheet. Grease dough and allow to rise. Bake at 350 until bread is golden and sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Sourdough Bread

There are many types of bread but this is the basic white bread recipe the extension service used to hand out.

2 cups of sponge set the night before (starter)

Mix together with

2 Tbs. melted shortening or oil

Sift together:

4 cups flour (you may need a little more)

2 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

After dough rises the first time you will use the following ingredients

mix 1/2 tsp. baking soda with 1 Tbs. warm water

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient and pour the sponge mixter in the well. Blend and knead together until you have a soft dough. Knead for 15 minutes. Oil top of bread dough and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until double. This may take four hours or more. Mix the soda and water and knead into the bread dough. When thouroughly kneaded and mixed, shape into loaves and place in greased pans to rise. lightly oil top and sides of bread. When doubles bake at 375 for 50 to 60 minutes. Sourdough is often shaped into round loaves and baked on a cookie sheet. I generally use margerine or butter and rub the hot baked loaves and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to keep the crust soft. Place the wrapped loves on a baking rack to cool.

My way of making the bread

I use a cross between the two recipes. I usually make the french bread recipe and shape in round loaves. I treat it as regular white bread as it raises faster and is less time consuming if one doesn't use the water process but just greases the dough and the loaves. I also add the soda mixture to the batter before the first rising and grease the baked loaves. I bake the bread at 375 degrees without raising and lowering the temperature. It depends on what you want as a finished product.

More hints:

The sourdough French bread can be made into round loves for clam chowder or chilli bowls or used to serve spinach dip. Just cut the top of the bread and hollow out the center. The crust is crispy so it will hold the pea soup or other thick types of food items you wish to serve in it. You may also shape the french bread or white bread into shapes you wish to dry and varnish for an ornamental bread basket.. It has no preservatives so it will dry well if you make sure air circulates around it.

Sourdough French Bread

Make this bread the same as white bread but mix 1 pkg. yeast in the sponge. I treat the dough the same way but if you want a crisp crust you divide the dough in two before shaping into loaves. Roll the each loave into a 12 by 15 rectangle. Start with the wide end and roll or twist the dough towards you. Pinch the ends together and tuck under. Place diagonally on a greased cookie sheet which has been lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. let the dough rise until doubled. Brush the dough with cold water and cut several diagonal cuts on top of loave about a 1/4 inch deep. Bake in 400 degree oven. Place a can of boiling water in the oven while baking to keep bread from drying out. Remove the bread in 15 minutes and brush with water. Lower the oven to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Remove bread from oven brush one more time with water and bake three more minutes.

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