Sourdough bread - a possible failure, rescued

I decided to give it another try.
'Tis the season to make sourdough.
On the Forum, on Zoom, In your kitchen.
You gotta try this.

ZOG sourdough, what is it?

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First steps.
Making a starter.

This experiment involves strong bread flour, still spring water and nothing else.
No other ingredient or sophistication is required.
This procedure is very small scale.
All equipment is simple.
Quantities of ingredients are small.

The theory and science of this method will not be discussed.
It is ‘magic’ and will just work.
Just follow th instructions exactly.

A wild living thing sleeping in your bread flour will be woken up, cultivated and encouraged to grow.

The process will take four days to a week, when you will be able to make bread or store the Wild Thing in the fridge.


Two small clean glass jars.
A rubber band.
A tablespoon.


A bag of strong bread flour
A bottle of still spring water (cheapest from supermarket will do)


In one of the jars:
Add two tablespoons of spring water to one tablespoon of strong flour.
Stir in together.
Rubber band is positioned on jar level with top of mixture.
Mix, cover, place out of direct light. 20.8°C

It is up to the wild thing from now on. It will wake up and eventually make bubbles.
It will also make babies and the colony will grow.
Eventually the height of the mixture will rise as it expands.
Everything needed is in the flour which just needs water.

Next day add another tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of water.

Keep doing this every day. Observe and note the changes that occur. Amount of bubbles, volume of mixture will increase over time.

Day One (Thursday 29 06 2023)
temperature 20-21°C
To a jar I added one tablespoon of flour to two tablespoons of water, stirred them together.
After a couple of hours there were some bubbles showing.

Day Two
Temperature 20°C
Added another tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of water.
Stir in.
After an hour or so, more bubbles and bigger.
The Wild Thing is waking up.

Day Three
Temperature 19°C. Mixture is very bubbly.
Stirred in another tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of water.
So far five tablespoons of water and three tablespoons of flour have been added.
The mixture is a thick, bubbly, gloopy batter.
Moved rubber band up to the new level of the ‘batter’.

The temperature drop will probably slow things down.
(the temperature is staying down but bubbles are still forming and the yeasty mix is just showing a couple of millimetres above the elastic band after a few hours) :+1:

Day Four
Temperature 18.4°C. Mixture collapsed.
Last night, convinced I would be starting to make bread today, I added another tablespoon of flour as a booster and made a critical mistake.
A tablespoon of water I added with it was from the tap.
All activity in the jar has ceased.
Today, I have come to the conclusion that I must start again.
I have a number of irons in the fire right now, it is no good struggling to rescue this failed attempt.

In a few days I will start again, a little more carefully. It is a shame, after such good progress, but I have learned a lesson and will be careful to keep tap water out of the equation in the future.

(03 07 2023)
In addition the weather is forecast to be cool, so waiting until temperatures are in the 20’s would be a good idea.
Present temperatures at 18-19°C are low.
I’ll start a new thread which I hope will demonstrate how easy sourdough can be.

My apologies for taking you on this road to nowhere.

(07 07 2023)
Days later,
I did not discard the starter and it began to bubble again.
I put 4 tablespoons of the bubbling mix i a clean jar and added 1 tbs water and 1 tbs flour.
Within couple of hours the mix double in size.
On the evening of the same day I added a further tablespoon of flour and of water.
I think I can declare this is a true starter.
It is refrigerated now and will be used to make bread at a later date.

There will be more instructions with a bread recipe.

Most of the pictures were taken by Hilary.
The cute little girl was press-ganged into service from somewhere on the tintynet.


Space for more information.

  1. Appearance of bubbles.
  2. Larger bubbles.
  3. Bubbles increase volume a little and lift the surface.
  4. Surface rises to double original height.
  5. Starter ready to make bread.

If you want reliable results make sure to avoid using tap water, which has been treated to inhibit or destroy the sort of life forms we are seeking to encourage.

Use spring water or filtered water for your bread making to turn out well.

I might turn this into a PDF when it is done.


a 1.5 Kg bag of flour at £1.29 might appear expensive, but when you consider that is enough to make three loaves.
A 2L bottle of cheap still spring water will make about 8 loaves so it will add no more than 10p to the price of a loaf.
So a loaf made this way costs maybe 50p, not bad really, for tasty bread.


The Mrs buys 12.5 kilo bags of flour from the mill!
She’s a big fan of sourdough, cuts the roof of my mouth open eating it though. She did get a starter from some reasonably well known baker but I don’t know if it still going I seem to remember being told it was years old or years alive

I’m certainly a fan of the smell, and I like the crust that I’m giving half an hour after it comes out the oven :slight_smile: