The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New to Fermented Sourdough

Ross Bread's picture
Ross Bread

New to Fermented Sourdough

Hello, All!


I am new to this site and baking bread in general 'my baking knowledge in general is elementary.'

Recently i've been researching the benefits of fermented sourdough bread and i wanted to see if anyone here could recommend and tips and tricks to making a fermented sourdough bread starter. The level of fermentation i am looking for is more for 'positive' health and gut microbiome benefits more so than for increased flavor. 


Any and all tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!!!



thank you



Danni3ll3's picture

for the pineapple solution on this site. Use rye flour. I had a viable starter and baked with it in 10 days. 

David R's picture
David R

There are a few sets of instructions around. All of them work. Not all work for the reasons they claim! But they all work anyway. 🙂

There's a lot of hype and misinformation around, regarding the details of fermentation. But you can certainly succeed in making good sourdough, and you will get whatever benefits there are in it.

The microorganisms (yeasts and bacteria) already live on the grain and in the flour. You don't go anywhere or do anything to find them or attract them or collect them.

The process of getting a sourdough culture going is a lot like growing a strange kind of garden - a garden that you aren't allowed to weed. Instead of weeding, you control the humidity, the temperature, and the fertilizer, so that the good things grow and the weeds are choked out.

The main things that grow in sourdough starter are certain yeasts and certain bacteria. These particular bacteria, which produce lactic acid, are the critters that the fermentation hype is about. All normal sourdough starters have them automatically - there's nothing you do to get them, other than make your starter and be patient. (And then be patient again when bread-making day comes, giving them the right amount of time to "do their thing" on your bread dough.)

Don't try to outsmart the instructions or the process. Don't skip steps, don't take extra steps, don't change the ingredients (not even to put in better ingredients!). Be literal. If you don't have one of the ingredients, go out and buy it - this is not a good time for substitutes. Take the instructions literally, including any parts you might not agree with. 🙂

Be patient, and observe. Whatever happens, notice it. If it doesn't work the first time, that's OK - it will still work.

breadforfun's picture

The advice from David is very sound. Starters are not hard to grow if you give it sufficient time. The yeast and bacteria are already on the grains and are just looking for the right environment to flourish. 

But you mention that you are seeking a healthy gut biome. While sourdough bread had been reported to be easier to digest, the reason is more likely that the beasties have had their way with the grains during the fermentation of the dough, breaking them down and making them more digestible. Unfortunately the temperatures at which bread is baked will kill them all off, so they won’t add or change the bugs in your gut. Other types of fermentation, such as yogurt, kimchi, and even some pickled foods, will. 


M's picture

And a committed overthinker, especially before I try anything for the first time, I bought my (rye) starter from Amazon no less along with a fancy fermentation jar to minimise the risk of getting it all wrong.

I converted it to a spelt starter from the get go without a problem.

If you are looking for a better digestion experience, then looking at ancient grains like Kamut or Spelt may be of benefit. I can't eat anything with instant yeast in it without significant digestive distress but can eat sourdough (yay !).

Finally ! My most recent lesson has been about being aware of the temperature of dough and the room and its impact on timings.

Martin Crossley's picture
Martin Crossley

that is the one you really MUST read - the trouble with sourdough is that there is so much myth, legend and half truth around. Read that post (and its sequel) first and you’ll be well equipped to know what’s what.

And yes, the flavour, quality and healthiness of sourdough is well, well, worth the effort. Trust me on this, I’ve never looked back.