The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Barbp's picture


I was talking to my 88 year old Aunt the other day and sourdough came up...she told me that "back-in-the-day" when you had a sourdough starter, you put it in a box made out of old barn wood...she said the "yeastie-beasties" were in the wood and made great sourdough.  She suggested we get an old, old piece of wood and just put it on top of our starter jar....has anyone heard of this????

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There are as many myths about sourdough starters as are there are people who make them, this myth being one of them.

The yeasties and bacteria are everywhere, from barn wood to your eyebrows and beyond.



Doc.Dough's picture

The human body exists solely as a home for the bacteria that reside there.  Everything humans do is to preserve that functionality and propogate the population within.

Pass it on!


LindyD's picture

The yeast we're after is found in the grain - and the flour milled from the grain.  

While old barn wood is beautiful, it has lots of splinters.  Yes, roughage is good for our digestive systems - but I personally prefer other forms of fiber!

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I wonder how true this is.

I wish I could find an authoritative source on if this is, in fact, the case.

I rather think it's racism speciesism:

  • We don't want black people in the pool!
  • We don't want that yeast in this sourdough starter! We must treat that yeast as separate but equal! Different starters for different yeasts!

I jest, but I would really like to know if there's any truth (at least any appreciable truth) to the claim that the yeast we want are those that are acclimated to this or that grain.

I bet I have tens of hundreds of species of yeast wafting through my kitchen that would love nothing more than to land in a vat full of flour and water. Heaven! We've made it! Nom! Nom! Nom!

clazar123's picture

I find that if I am making a starter from scratch and it seems to be taking its time, I stir the starter with a CLEAN finger,once or twice a day (as opposed to a spoon). It seems that is enough of an introduction to get it going.

Before anyone gasps in horror-remember we knead our dough with CLEAN fingers! At least I do!

dabrownman's picture

don't bother to clean their fingers or hands before kneading.   Once the bread hits 450 F everything is dead eventually after a half hour or so.

sustainthebaker's picture

I read about someone who took their starter everywhere they traveled and let it sit outside to gather any yeast present in that location. I am currently in central WA visiting family and forgot my starter. However, I have a mixed up a 100% hydrtation "starter" and have it resting outside. We are in a rural area with lots of animals about and I am hoping to capture any wild yeast and bacteria. I feed the starter with whole wheat flour every 6-8 hours. When I return home, I will slowly feed my Mother starter  (at home) with this in hopes I captured yeasties.