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.
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 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, 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 rise the bread 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 all the great benefits of sourdough bread.
This sourdough starter using potato flakes will be used to make our Perfect Sourdough Potato Flake Starter Bread Recipe.
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.
White sugar is what feeds the yeast and bacteria. It is yeast’s primary food. You will need 3 tablespoons of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 at room temperature so the yeast and bacteria can go on a feeding frenzy.
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.
Step 9: Feed the starter every 3 to 5 days repeating steps 6 through 8.
Note: 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.
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.
Easy to Make Sourdough Starter Using Potato Flakes
- 3 tablespoons Instant Mash Potatoes
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup water (lukewarm)
- 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
- Step 3: Stir with a wooden spoon. Do not use metal because it can react with the ingredients.
- 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 at room temperature so the yeast and bacteria can go on a feeding frenzy.
- 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 the starter 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 starter. You will then place the rest of the starter in the refrigerator.
- Step 9: Feed the starter every 3 to 5 days using steps 6 through 8.
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.
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, a 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 Plastic Container?
Yes, you can use a plastic container if you wish.
Does this Sour Dough Starter make a Sour Bread?
No. This starter makes lightly sour bread that has a sweet taste.
My Starter is Watery and not A Paste like My Traditional Sourdough Starter.
This is normal. This starter will be watery and will not get thick like your traditional sourdough starter.
Also, try these delicious recipes as well:
Recipe adapted from The Southern Lady Cooks Website