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Easy to Make Sourdough Starter Using Potato Flakes

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Making Homemade Sourdough Bread can sound intimidating. Having to make a Starter is the number one reason some folks are hesitant to begin making sourdough bread.

In reality, it can be very simple and easy. If this is your first time, don’t sweat it. By using this easy-to-make sourdough starter using potato flakes recipe, you will be a pro in no time.

Close-up of Sourdough Starter

Why do I Need a Starter?

In order to make bread, you have to have a leavening agent. A leavening agent is simply the substance that causes bread to rise.

This happens when a gas called carbon dioxide is released either through a chemical reaction or when the yeast begins feeding on the sugars. This causes the dough to expand.

In this case, the sourdough starter is our leavening agent that causes our bread to rise.  

What is a Sourdough Starter?

A sourdough starter uses wild yeast and bacteria that are grown in what is somewhat of a science project. A sourdough starter is fermented, which causes yeast and bacteria to grow. 

We have all heard about how great fermented foods are for your body and gut, and sourdough bread is no different.

By taking water and flour, wild yeast and bacteria are grown in a symbiotic community. This creates a wholesome leavening agent to help the bread rise and in the same sense, flavors the bread the same way that yogurt is by giving it that sour taste. 

Types of Sourdough Starter

There are many different types of sourdough starters that all make great sourdough recipes.

The basic, more traditional way to make a sourdough starter starts with just flour and water.

Some starters are more sour, like a more familiar San Francisco-style starter. Some produce a sweeter, less sour bread similar to the one we are sharing today. 

The Flavor and Texture of the Bread Made with this Starter

This starter produces a very light and fluffy bread that is slightly sweeter and less sour than traditional sourdough bread.

The results will be similar to traditional white bread but will have all the great benefits of sourdough bread.

Sourdough bread made with sourdough starter using potato flakes.
Sourdough Bread made with a Sourdough Starter using Potato Flakes

This sourdough starter using potato flakes will be used to make our Easy To Make Sourdough Bread Using a Potato Flake Starter Bread Recipe and you can also make these wonderful Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls from this starter as well.

old-fashioned-sourdough-cinnamon-rolls
Old-fashioned sourdough Cinnamon Rolls made from using this starter

How to Make It

Starter Ingredients- What Ingredients Do I Need?

Instant Mash Potato Flakes

In order to make a fermented sourdough starter, you have to have something to ferment. In this case, we are using potato flakes to grow our yeast and bacteria. Any brand will do. I often use the Idahoan Potato Flake brand. You will need 3 tablespoons of potato flakes. 

Potato Flakes Used to Make the Easy Sourdough Starter

White Sugar

White sugar is what feeds the yeast and bacteria. It is yeast’s primary food. You will need 3 tablespoons of sugar. 

Granulated White Sugar

Active Dry Yeast

In this recipe, we jump-start the yeast with a Commercial yeast packet that you can buy from the grocery store. We like to use active dry yeast.

active dry yeast

This recipe starts with the commercial yeast but after it gets going for a while the wild yeast will take over. You will need 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast. 

Warm Water

You will need 1 cup of water that is lukewarm. This should have a temperature range of 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to use my instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. 

Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the water

Follow these steps to Make It

Step 1: Start with a clean glass container or a large bowl. I like to use a mason jar. 

Step 2: Add in the warm water, then add in your dry ingredients.

Adding in lukewarm water
Adding Potato Flakes
Adding Granulated White Sugar
Adding in Yeast

Step 3: Stir with a wooden spoon. Do not use metal because it can react with the ingredients. I am using the handle in order to stir because the mouth of the jar isn’t wide enough for the spoon to fit in. You could also use a hard plastic straw.

Step 4: Cover the dish with a clean dishcloth or cheesecloth, something where it can breathe. Do not refrigerate this mixture at this point. Leave it in a warm place for 5 days at room temperature so the yeast and bacteria can go on a feeding frenzy.

Already made starter on the left and the new starter on the right

Step 5: Stir the starter every day.

Step 6: On the morning of the 5th day, you will feed the starter. Add in 3 tablespoons of instant potato flakes, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1 cup of lukewarm water. 

Step 7: Stir this and continue to let it sit out at room temperature for at least 6-8 hours. 

Step 8: After it has sat out at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, remove 1 cup of the starter to make your bread. Make sure to stir the starter really well before you remove the 1 cup of starter. You will then place the rest of the starter in the refrigerator. 

Pro Tip: On the 5th day, you are ready to use the starter to make your bread so be prepared for this last step. You will use this to make bread every 5 days. You can make bread every day if you feed it each morning and then remove the 1 cup of starter at the end of the day to make the bread. 

Feeding The Starter

Feed the starter every 3 to 5 days-Keep it refrigerated until the day you feed it.

Step 1: Add in 3 tablespoons of instant potato flakes, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1 cup of lukewarm water. 

Step 2: Stir this and continue to let it sit out at room temperature for at least 6-8 hours. 

Step 3: After it has sat out at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours, remove 1 cup of the starter to make your bread. Make sure to stir the starter really well before you remove the 1 cup of starter. You will then place the rest of the starter in the refrigerator.

If you are not going to make bread at least every 5 days, you can still feed the starter and then discard the 1 cup. There are also recipes that you can use the discard for as well. 

Other Ways To Use the Discard Starter

  • Discard Pancakes
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Amish Friendship Bread
  • Sourdough Yeast Rolls
  • Give a Cup to a Friend

Give your friend 1 cup of starter. Then on the 5th day, they will start with steps 6-8. Print the recipe off and give it to them along with the 1 cup of starter.

FAQ’s

Once I make the starter, do I leave it sitting out or refrigerate it?

Once you make the starter, you will leave it sitting out on the counter for 5 days. You will feed the starter on the fifth day and then 6 to 8 hours later after feeding, you will take a cup of starter off to make bread with. The remaining starter in the container will then go in the refrigerator until you are ready to make bread again.

How Much Bread will this starter make?

Once your starter has hit its maturation on the 5th day, you will remove the 1 cup of starter. The 1 cup of starter will make two loaves of bread if you are using normal-size loaf pans.

How Often Do I Have to Feed the Starter?

In order to keep the sourdough starter active, you will need to feed it every 3 to 5 days using steps 6 through 8. 

Feeding an old starter

How Long will the starter last?

This starter will last for many years as long as it is taken care of. The current starter I am using is about 2 years old. I have read of people having it for over 30 years.

How Should I Store the Starter?

You can store the starter in a glass jar. Do not use a metal lid. You can use a lid off of an old mayonnaise jar and punch a few holes in it. You could also cover it with plastic wrap, cheesecloth, or even a paper towel.

I personally use a paper towel over the lid with a rubber band to hold it on. Do not use the metal lid and ring from the mason jar or aluminum foil.

Can I Use This Starter to Make Another Type of Bread?

Yes. You can make Amish Friendship Bread with this as this is very similar to the Amish Friendship Bread Starter recipe.

What if I Forget to Feed it on the 5th day?

Feeding it on the 5th day is just a recommendation. I personally have skipped feeding it for a month and it still turned out great. I would not make that a habit but it should still be fine.

What Can I Do With the Discard?

You can make many great recipes with the discard. One popular one is pancakes. Another very awesome one is cinnamon rolls.

Can I Use a Plastic Container?

Yes, you can use a plastic container if you wish.

Does this sourdough starter make really sour bread?

No. This starter makes lightly sour bread that has a sweet taste.

My starter is watery and not a paste like a traditional sourdough starter.

This is normal. This starter will be watery and will not get thick like your traditional sourdough starter.

Closeup of what the starter looks like

I hope you enjoy this Easy to make Sourdough Starter using Potato Flakes. I am sure you will make lots of homemade sourdough bread with it. If you feed this sourdough starter on a regular basis, you will have a starter that will last a lifetime if you wish.

-Ronnie

Easy to Make Sourdough Starter Using Potato Flakes

Easy to Make Sourdough Starter Using Potato Flakes

Making Homemade Sourdough Bread can sound intimidating. Having to make a Starter is the number one reason some folks are hesitant to begin making sourdough bread. In reality, it can be very simple and easy. If this is your first time, don't sweat it. By using this easy-to-make sourdough starter using potato flakes, you will be a pro in no time.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Instant Mash Potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup water (lukewarm)

Instructions

  1. Start with a clean glass container or a large bowl. I like to use a mason jar. 
  2. Add in the warm water, then add in your dry ingredients
  3. Stir with a wooden spoon. Do not use metal because it can react with the ingredients.
  4. Cover the dish with a clean dishcloth or cheesecloth, something where it can breathe. Do not refrigerate this mixture at this point. Leave it in a warm place for 5 days at room temperature so the yeast and bacteria can go on a feeding frenzy.
  5. Stir the starter every day.
  6. : On the morning of the 5th day, you will feed the starter. Add in 3 tablespoons of instant potato flakes, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1 cup of lukewarm water. 
  7. Stir and let the starter remain for 6 to 8 hours before using it on the 5th day.
  8. After 6 to 8 hours after the starter has been fed on the 5th day, remove 1 cup of the starter to make your bread. Make sure to stir the starter really well before you remove the 1-cup starter. You will then place the rest of the starter in the refrigerator.

Feeding The Starter

  1. Add in 3 tablespoons of instant potato flakes, 3 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1 cup of lukewarm water.
  2. Stir and let it sit out on the counter at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Stir really well then remove 1 cup of the starter to make your bread with. Place the remainder of the starter back in the refrigerator until you are ready to make bread again.

If you are not going to make bread at least every 5 days, you can still feed the starter and then discard the 1 cup of starter. There are also recipes that you can find to use the discard starter for as well.

Notes

On the 5th day, you are ready to use the starter to make your bread so be prepared for this last step. You will use this to make bread every 5 days. You can make bread every day if you feed it each morning and then remove the 1 cup of starter at the end of the day to make the bread.

If you are not going to make bread at least every 5 days, you can still feed the starter and then discard the 1 cup. There are also recipes that you can use the discard for as well. 

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Also, try these delicious recipes as well:

Marinade for Smoked Beef Jerky
Chicken Bog | A Traditional South Carolina Dish
Southern Food Junkie Chili
Brunswick Stew
Home

Recipe adapted from The Southern Lady Cooks Website

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Heather

Monday 19th of February 2024

I fed my starter but accidentally left it out for 12 hours instead of 6-8 before discarding and putting back in the fridge. Is it ok?

Ronnie Williams

Monday 19th of February 2024

Hey Heather, If it were me, I would still be ok with it. I think your starter will be fine to use. Thanks, Ronnie

Kent

Saturday 27th of January 2024

I've made traditional breads for years and no problems with rise etc. I've made several attempts with potato yeast and followed the directions exactly. The yeast after feeding is very active with bubbles. I use the amount of yeast to make bread but the rise is very slow and only about half the rise of my traditional breads. I've tried in my bread proofing oven, in my warm garage where my traditional bread goes crazy rising. I've even tried adding some additional yeast when making the bread and even that doesn't help. Any ideas on what may be causing the bread not to rise much? TIA

Ronnie Williams

Monday 29th of January 2024

Hey Kent, It sounds like you have done what you should. I am not sure why it is not rising for you. I have never had an issue with mine rising following this method myself. How long do you let the starter sit after feeding it? I typically recommend 6 to 8 hours after feeding before taking the cup of starter to make bread. Is that what you do as well? Thanks, -Ronnie

Marti

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I live in Virginia, USA. Of course I had to try this recipe during an extremely cold week of our winter.😞After the second day, my starter appeared to give up. No action at all. My kitchen temp is usually in the mid 60’s. Did I kill it? It’s not even 5 days old yet.

Ronnie Williams

Thursday 18th of January 2024

Hey Marti, No your starter should be fine. This sourdough starter doesn't really bubble much if at all. Stick with it and it should turn out fine. The only thing you may see is the potato flakes float to the top. Also, it will be watery and not thick like traditionally sourdough starter. I hope these tips and encouragement helps. -Ronnie

Kala J

Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

Hey. I spaced out and fed my starter then put it back in the fridge. I didn't take a cup out to bake or discard. My brain just wasn't working. When I want to bake Friday, what should I do? Just feed it and leave it out like normal or take a cup out first? Thanks for any advice.

Ronnie Williams

Thursday 4th of January 2024

Hey Kala, I would take a cup of the starter out now and discard that (throw it away). Then if you want to bake on Friday, you need to feed it again today (Thursday), I would say this morning. That is what I normally do. I feed it and let it sit out 6 to 8 hours then mix up my ingredients that evening and let proof over night for the first rise. Then when you wake up, you can punch it down, divide the dough, and let it proof for the second time. This should put you baking around lunchtime. I hope that makes sense. Thanks, Ronnie

Linda

Thursday 23rd of November 2023

I can't find this answer anywhere. when you put the starter in the refrigerator, do you cover it with a paper towel or do you seal it with a plastic lid?

Ronnie Williams

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

yes cover it but with something that can breath. I like to use a coffee filter as they are breathable and very durable.

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