Uncle Jack's Sourdough Starter

Serves: 5
Total Calories: 178


2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
warm water


To make your own starter, mix flour, sugar, salt and vinegar in enough warm water to make a creamy batter. Leave it in a warm place for four days to a week until it begins to sour, or "work." If it is ready, it should have bubbles on top. Pour some in a dish and mix a dash of soda with it if it is active and ready to use, it will respond like hotcake batter. (Batter should rise to about double, looks kind of like meringue).

Sourdough "works" because of a culture similar to yogurt. It forms an acid which will attack most metal containers and could poison you, so keep your starter in glass, crockery, or plastic. Stainless steel is OK for mixing batter, but it’s not best to leave it in that, or even in a fruit jar with a regular ring and lid. It is imperative to never use any metal pot or metal spoon with sourdough EXCEPT stainless steel, as it causes a chemical reaction. A wooden or plastic spoon is a good idea to go with the sourdough pot. Gas bubbles (carbon dioxide) are released as the starter "works," so don’t close the lid too tight!

Sourdough rises because of the gas bubbles, same as bread dough with yeast. The baking soda you add to the batter causes a rapid reaction with the acid in the starter to make the light hotcakes, and also, neutralizes the acid taste. There is no reason for sourdough to taste sour. A slight soda taste is OK, but if you get too much, it makes the bread look yellowish.

When you plan to use your starter, take it out of the refrigerator the previous evening and mix flour and water with it to batter consistency. Let it set out overnight to work. Then you take out as much as you will need for the day, but be sure there is a cup or more left, and put it back into the refrigerator. If you forget it and it molds on top, simply get two or three tablespoons of clean batter from the bottom of the crock and mix with new flour and water.

Never add anything to the starter but flour and water. No yeast, no leftover batter, no potato water or any of the other stuff you hear about. A slightly lumpy starter will work itself out overnight, so it’s better to leave it that way than way too thin.

A Back Country Guide to Outdoor Cooking Spiced with Tall Tales - Bread in Camp

Nutritional Facts:

Serves: 5
Total Calories: 178
Calories from Fat: 0

This Uncle Jack's Sourdough Starter recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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