The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions: Sourdough Starter and Scales

butterflygrooves's picture

Questions: Sourdough Starter and Scales

I have 2 questions today:

1. What sourdough starter recipe do you use?  I checked the one in the handbook but have never made a starter so using pineapple juice sounds odd to me.

2. What scale (affordable) would you recommend?  It's high time I buy one for accuracy.

RobynNZ's picture


1. Starter  

I got mine going very easily with pineapple juice. Sourdough baking calls for patience and you will already need it in developing your starter. I waited for about a fortnight to allow my starter to stabilise before I baked with it. Over the course of the year since I have learned a lot about maintaining it through 4 seasons, but throughout the amazing range of breads made from it have been a great pleasure for me, my family and friends.

The pineapple juice is only used in the first few days to provide an environment that discourages the growth of the less desirable bugs present on the flour. Take a look at these two threads to learn about this:

and Paul's use of the method is documented in photos starting here:

Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it, once you get going, but don't neglect the amazing resource the archives here provide.

2. Scale.

Try the search box, there have been numerous threads covering this topic. Escali is often recommended. Mine is a Tanita which I purchased 25 years ago - very reliable, accurate, tare function and batteries last for years even though I use it almost daily.

Cheers, Robyn

LindyD's picture

Great that you're going to start scaling your ingredients!

In answer to your questions: 

1.  Debra Wink, TLF's resident microbiologist, developed the Pineapple Juice Solution a few years ago.  The link will give you some background.  The link to part 2 is at the very bottom.

You can mix flour and water and the flour will naturally ferment, but following the steps using Debra's technique is a better guarantee of success.   BTW, the wild yeast is present in the flour, so you don't have to be concerned with "capturing" it.

2.  Many folks here use the Escali digital scale, which has a tare function and offers measurements in grams and ounces.  It takes two AA batteries and will automatically shut off after a few minutes.  It's available at Amazon for under $25 and should serve you well.  

All the best for your new bread adventure!

flournwater's picture

Pineapple juice starter was my first successful experiment.  When I demonstrate bread baking to others it's still the only method I use or recommend.

A good scale is:

Rugged enough to withstand a bump now and then.


Easy to clean

Battery powered (preferably with 9 volt, AA or AAA batteries rather than those button cells)


Includes a Tare function so you can zero it whenever convenient or necessary.

Is small enough to store easily yet not so small that it gets lost beneath a mixing bowl.

I happen to like this one (it uses 4 AAA batteries):


Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I've used the pineapple starter method to make more than one starter and like it.

I have a Tanita kd 160 I bought a few years ago and the escali scale has the same features for less than half the price I paid.  The resolution and read-out is important.  These two scales read to 1 gram which is reasonable for the price.  With a tare feature (or just pushing the on button on mine), weighing ingredients in the same bowl is very fast.


flournwater's picture

Haven't tried the Escali but the described features look good and the price is right:

I especially like the removable stainless platform for dishwasher cleaning.