The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hello from a portlander

scormeny's picture

hello from a portlander

Hello! I am a Portland, OR dweller and felt very lucky to stumble across this site. My boyfriend is the real baker between us -- he makes about a loaf of bread a week, usually sourdough-based, and we often also make sourdough pancakes.

Floydm, I was hoping you might have a suggestion about whether any local bakeries will share or sell some of their sourdough starter. My boyfriend and I had a great starter that we'd originally gotten from King Arthur Flour in Vermont, that had thrived through two years of at best indifferent attention, but our recent move to Portland, and the extended inattention and non-refrigerated temps of the cross-country drive, killed it.

I can always mail-order another starter starter, as it were, from King Arthur, but figured it would be even cooler to try to get some locally.

Any thoughts? Thanks.


Floydm's picture

Hey hey -

Welcome to the site!

I've never asked, but I would bet someone at one of the bakeries in town would be willing to share some starter with you. I'd try the Pearl Bakery or Ken's Artisan Bakery or maybe Grand Central. I've spoken to bakers at each of them in the past and they've alway been excited to talk to someone else into bread baking.

Let us know if you have any luck.

bottleny's picture

Take a look at this site, where you also can find the photos & illustrated instructions. Theirs is very nice. All you do is to send them a self-addressed stamped envelope.

winsey's picture

I actually live in London so couldn't help you with finding someone with starter in Portland but I wanted to suggest that you try making your own from scratch. It isn't really that difficult but it's very satisfying. I had to do it because sourdough doesn't seem to be very popular here, which seems crazy considering how easy it is to develop a leaven in a damp London flat. But also, I was able to start a 100% rye starter to make tasty eastern european style dark rye.

There are instructions in a few different places on this site. I thought I might try to encourage you so good luck if you decide to give it a go.

SourdoLady's picture

I have a recipe for a homemade sourdough starter on my blog. It works really well. It is very important to use very fresh grain, so I suggest going to the health food store and buying a small quantity of whole berries. They have a flour grinder there that you can grind it on. When I made mine I used a combination of wheat and rye.

I also have Carl's starter and it is a very good one. Or, you can purchase starters from SDI ( ). They are quite pricey, though. I have about 8 different starters and I would be happy to share some dried starter for a SASE if you send me a private email message.

Floydm's picture

Yeah, here is the collection of sourdough posts on this site, including SourdoLady's starter recipe.

Hollie's picture

Hi Sara,

I use sourdough starter from the King Arthur Flour Company. It came from my husband's Aunt in the Columbia Gorge who has been keeping it alive for around a decade now. Mine has been with me since Thanksgiving last year, and it's yielded dozens of delicious treats. I live in Hillsboro, Oregon, right outside Portland along HWY 26. If you want to come out here and get some, feel free to drop me an email! My address is