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Hi all,

not sure if theres much interest, but I’d be happy to post some starter to people (UK based) who are looking at getting into sourdough baking (also it’s realllllly good for pancakes...). Only thing I’d ask is if postage is covered (should be like £3 second class).

also I’m happy to post my go-to formula (yes it’s a closely guarded secret), and schedule to help out people. Not trying to take over the other sourdough thread but thought this might be better for people to see if they do want some starter and some recipes etc. 

Just let me know!

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Hi all, not sure if theres much interest, but I’d be happy to post some starter to people (UK based) who are looking at getting into sourdough baking (also it’s realllllly good for pancakes...).

Right so the sourdough pancake recipe. It's kind of bastardised from the completelydelicious one: Ingredients: 240ml milk (any will do, I normally use semi-skimmed) 155g plain flour

Stick to wood. .)

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17 minutes ago, joey24dirt said:

Does it go off? Will I need to do this straight away? emoji3.png

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Nah not really - fairly hardy stuff. I'd suggest if/when you receive it, feed it (will explain later) and leave it on the worktop for a day, then discard some & feed again, then plonk it in the fridge and it should last for months in there.

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12 minutes ago, Rickv said:

Yes please. I want to try sourdough for pizza emoji487.png crack out the ooni oven

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No probs, although I don't actually have a pizza dough recipe - sure one could be concocted though.

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I'm by no means an expert, probably equally as much as I am an expert in coffee (so I know the grand total of nothing). But I am a bit of a sourdough enthusiast, and have been doing it for 6-7 months or so now. This bit will tell you a bit on how to look after the starter that I will hopefully be sending out to people should they wish. 

Generally, I keep a small amount of my starter on the go most days, as I normally bake a few loaves on weekends, and will try to do one mid-week bake. If I knew I was only going to do a bake on two consecutive weekends, and nothing in between, I'd keep it in the fridge. I'll explain below how to keep a starter healthy, although it's really not that hard. They're quite hardy things, and people have "revived" year-old starters that were long forgotten.

Feeding/Reviving your starter:

What you need: Starter, Flour (see below), bottled water (so as to not kill the yeast with hard water!)

I'm going to ship out some starter in increments of 10g or so. The only thing you need to do when you get it is feed it a 1:1:1 ratio (Starter:water:flour). This would mean you would feed it 10g:10g:10g. This will therefore be a 100% hydration starter - you are putting in equal amounts of flour and water. People keep their starters "stiff" (ie. lower than 100%, so less water than flour), and some keep their starters higher than 100% for things such a ciabatta. I like to keep it at 100% - it's easy. Ensure you keep the starter covered, I use old candarel/sweetener jars to keep mine in as they have little vent holes in the top that I can pop open to let some air in, stops it being so pungent when I open it! Also, an elastic band or hair band lets you see how much its risen, if you put it at the initial height. Leave it on your worktop for 24 hours.

So, you've fed your starter - great. It's now 24 hours later and you notice a bit of a smell, or you've seen it double(ish) in size (anywhere between the 6-10 hr mark normally), and its now on its way back down. What that means is your starter (or rather the yeast) is producing a lot of lactic acid (due to anaerobic respiration) that is now killing the gluten structure it has created. It's about this time that I feed. Some people feed just after it's "peaked" (ie before it starts killing itself), some people leave it two days. I've left starters on a worktop for a week before and revived it - it stunk, but it revived. There was also alcohol on top, you can either mix this back in, or you can tip it in the sink and carry on your usual feed.

You're now re-feeding your starter, you have 30g in there in total (10+10+10), so I'd suggest a 1:1:1 ratio again. There's no discard at this point. Re-feed and leave for another 24 hrs if you're not planning on using it.

Now - you have decided that you'd like to bake with it. You only need 150g total starter for your recipe. With a 1:1:1 feeding, this would mean you would use 50g:50g:50g, right? But you have 90g starter... So, you chuck 40g! Mine goes in the sink most of the time, but I've recently gotten into some recipes like sourdough pancakes and biscuits - would seriously suggest both of these. You are now ready to bake in 6-8 hours, you could even use a 12 hour old starter (since fed) and would be fine - I do this very often.

Most recipes call for a "peaked" starter, meaning you catch it when it's doubled in size and most active - you learn about your own starters and when it is start to go up/down. Higher hydrations like 100% tend to not peak as high as a stiffer starter that may have been fed with wholewheat or rye, at a lower hydration. Please bear in mind, this is not the hydration that is referred to in recipes, that refers to the whole amount of dough - the other reason I keep my starter at 100% is due to ease of calculations later...

Another point worth noting, is that I feed my starter 66% strong white bread flour (Dove's farm), and 33% wholewheat rye (Dove's farm). It tends to do better at 100% with a bit of rye flour. This would mean in a 10g feeding, I'd put in 7g wholewheat and 3g rye.

Now at this point, you realise you aren't going to bake for 2 weeks - holidays or whatever get in the way, or you have a big work commitment. So, feed your starter a 1:1:1 ratio, maybe even a 1:2:2 ratio (double the amounts of flour and water in comparison to starter), leave it out for an hour to get some yeast going, and then put it in the fridge - it should be good for months, maybe even years.

This is not an exhaustive list of starter advice, but covers the basics - any questions just ask!

Bits of kit to buy:

Starting this sourdough adventure is definitely not as expensive as coffee kit, until you buy a Rofco oven. But the main bits of kit I'd suggest you have:


  • Small brush - used to brush excess flour off dough prior to baking, after being turned out
  • Pizza/Dough Peel - Makes getting the dough into the oven easier, generally used with a baking stone. I use a chopping board!

And that about sums up these bits, sure there's more bits and bobs you can buy, but you should be able to get by on the above.

Tl;dr: Feed the starter bottled water and strong flour in the same amount of starter that you have (1:1:1 ratio). Feed for the amount the recipe calls, discard extra or keep for other recipes. If kept in the fridge pull it out 2 days or so before, and feed every 12 hours to bring it back to life. Need to buy:

  • Flour
  • Dough scraper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Scales
  • Baking Stone/Dutch Oven/Baking Cloche
  • Bannetons
  • Bread Lame/Grignette
  • Proving Container
  • Tea-towels.
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First I'm gonna give you the recipe (or formula). Basically bread recipes are normally shown in %, relative to the total weight of flour only. Also, water amount is generally referred to as hydration percentage, as the starter is 50/50 flour and water this can affect the %age, I generally take the starter ingredients into account, but some people tell you the hydration before adding starter which is a bit confusing if you ask me. The %age system lets the baker upscale or downscale the quantities as required for the amount of bread they want! Fairly simple. So basically I have a recipe of:

900g White Flour (Generally Doves Farm Organic)

100g Wholemeal Rye (Has a different gluten structure but makes really tasty loaves - again Dove's farm)

750g Water

20g Salt

200g Levain/Starter/Poolish/Mother/Sponge/Biga etc. (they all mean the same thing basically)


That would equate to a bakers formula of:

90% White Flour

10% Wholemeal Flour

2% salt

20% Levain

This is all at a total (post starter-adding) hydration of 76.19% (or 76%) - calculated by half of the starter as water/half of the starter as flour, added into the total amounts, and divided. If you calculated it before you used starter, it would be 75% as 750g (water) divided by 1000g (total weight of flour) is 0.75 yada yada yada.

Now, my schedule is (assuming I want to bake on a Sunday) is:

Main Stages (in order):

  • Feeding Starter                            (Friday & Point 1 on Saturday)
  • Mixing/Autolysing                       (Point 2 on Saturday) This can be done overnight but without starter.
  • Bulk Fermentation                       (Points 2 to 7 on Saturday)
  • Pre-shaping                                   (Points 8 & 9 Saturday)
  • Shaping                                          (Point 10 Saturday)
  • Retarding (Cold-proving)             (Point 11 Saturday)
  • Baking                                             (All of Sunday)



  1. 7:00 am - Remove starter from fridge (if kept there) and feed 30g starter with 30g filtered water and 20g white flour/10g rye. Leave covered on kitchen worktop.
  2. 9:00 pm - Discard all but 30g starter and repeat the same feeding as above. P.S Would recommend looking into discard recipe such as crackers and pancakes - I have a few good recipes!


  1. 10:00 am - Re-feed starter with desired amount - if using the above recipe, feed 75g:75g:75g (flour should be about 50g white and 25g rye). Keep this in a warm area - I use my boiler cupboard and its good. I guess this is around 28 deg.C (finger in the wind though).
  2. 5:00 pm - Mix first the starter into lukewarm water, then plonk in all your flour and mix until just combined (basically no dry bits of flour left) it's important not to work the dough too much at this stage. It should be a "shaggy mass" at this point. Plonk this in the same warm place that you kept your starter in. This is probably described as a "fermentolyse", I'd just call this an autolyse (but strictly speaking this would not be correct as it should just be flour and water, with no starter.) NB: Salt is NOT added at this stageLeave it covered with a tea-towel
  3. 5:30 pm - Grab the container and put the salt in, you want to incorporate with a "pinching" technique, basically just don't work it too much again, and ensure it's fully incorporated - you should be able to feel the salt grains disintegrate. Some people hold back some water for this stage and mix the salt in with some water and then re-mix, but I find it makes a lot of mess and takes too long to re-incorporate with the flour having to absorb more water. Transfer this dough into a clean container (not necessary but is definitely advised). Keep it in the same warm cupboard. Leave it covered with a tea-towel or a tupperware lid if you're proving it in tupperware
  4. 6:00 pm - Take out the dough again and perform a set of coil folds - people can do coil folds, stretch and folds, slap and fold etc. I found coil folds to be the best for me - have a look at what it is on youtube there are plenty of videos. One set is basically going around all 4 edges. This develops the gluten structure. Put it back into the warm cupboard. Leave it covered with a tea-towel or a tupperware lid if you're proving it in tupperware
  5. 6:30 pm - As above Leave it covered with a tea-towel or a tupperware lid if you're proving it in tupperware
  6. 7:00 pm - As above Leave it covered with a tea-towel or a tupperware lid if you're proving it in tupperware
  7. 7:30 pm - As above (Basically, you'll have done a total of 4x Coil folds) - You'll now be leaving it for 1 hr 30 mins (in the same warm cupboard!). Leave it covered with a tea-towel or a tupperware lid if you're proving it in tupperware. Ensure you handle the dough more gently as you do more coil folds - pop any large bubbles on surface.
  8. 9:00 pm - Take dough out of container and turn out onto lightly flour-dusted worktop. It should be "puffy" and rounded at the edges, be careful not to aggressively knock too much air out. This should be enough dough for 2x 500g batards, proved in a small oval banneton. I tend to loosen the edges of the dough with a dough scraper before turning it out, make sure it turns out over its own weight, not with your help! It'll get there, just let it flop onto the bench!
  9. 9:10 pm - Pre-shape the dough into a ball (look up pre-shaping), this loosely aligns gluten fibres and makes it slightly taught - it shouldn't tear. Rest this for 20 mins on the worktop.
  10. 9:30 pm - Move dough back onto lightly floured surface and gently pull the pre-shaped dough (should have relaxed a bit by now) into a circular shape, and then shape into your desired form - I'd say boules are easier to shape, as its the same shaping procedure as pre-shaping, and then batards (which are proved in an oval proving basket). Leave this to rest on the counter for 1-2 mins, seam side down, before transferring to a well floured (with rice flour) banneton, seam-side facing up (turn the dough upside down). Cover and leave for 30 mins on bench.
  11. 10:00 pm - Leave covered and move into fridge.


  1. 12:00 midday - Turn oven on to 250C non-fan, and ensure that your baking device is in there (pizza stone, cloche, dutch oven etc.)
  2. 2:00 pm - Gently turn dough out onto baking paper (flour surface of dough before turning out or stuff will stick). Score (there's a technique, I can tell you this later when you get to this point!), and then transfer into oven. If using a pizza stone, you'll need to have a tray pre-heating with the pizza stone in the oven. Put about 200ml of water in there at the same time as putting the dough into the oven. Bake for 25 mins.
  3. 2:25 pm - Put temperature down to 200 (still non-fan), and cook for another 20-25 mins (dependent on how you like your bread). Make sure you take out the water pan.

I know it's a bit long but hopefully this should see you well - it's my go-to recipe. Give me a shout if you need anything, might plonk this on a general thread on the forum for others to follow if you like it! There's a lot I haven't covered like shaping techniques and scoring, but there are plenty of videos, and give me a shout if you need a hand with it - I can get pictures etc. There's ways of testing your dough too - such as the poke test - have a read up of it, but it's not 100% accurate on cold dough.

As for mid-week baking, instead of leaving the starter out and putting into the warm place on Saturday morning, feed before work and leave on worktop, ready to mix when you get home from work - it should be good to use. Also you can leave the dough in the fridge when it's retarding (proving in the fridge) until you get home from work to bake.

It's worth noting that you can also develop the "sour" flavour of the bread by either using a starter that is past-peak (ie. it is on its way down, but not inactive - think 12 hrs at room temp as opposed to 6-8). You can also bulk ferment at a lower ambient temperature, for longer. This develops the flavours more.

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So - I'm going to finalise the list tonight of people that want starter. Have me mum primed to send it out when I've done it all - probably in a jiffy bag in a container wrapped in clingfilm. So far the list is:

@joey24dirt, @mctrials23, @np123, @Rickv, @Dunk, @Nagata, @Soll

Please add your name to the above list if you need/want some. I'll send a PM out later for my paypal if that's OK for the £3 (TBC) cost? @MildredM, @Rhys do you see any issues with this ref. forum rules?

Cheers all!

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