The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Favoirte Recipes Using Starter? - Needing Inspiration

bakebakebake's picture

Favoirte Recipes Using Starter? - Needing Inspiration

Hi Everyone!!

 I began a starter in April with the help of folks here and have been making consistently good sourdough bread since.  I bake some type of bread about 2x a month and try to use my sourdough in at least on one of these.  My starter seems very hardy and thankfully understands when I don't feed him for awhile - I just refresh before beginning and there has been no trouble with rises.

I would like to use the starter more frequently.  Can everyone list their favorite starter uses?  I have tried the sourdough english muffins from this site, and sourdough pancakes (yum!).  And can you tell me how to use the starter in "regular" yeast bread recipes?  I made regular "packet yeast" ciabatta with herbs the other day and it was fantastic!  Can I use my starter as a substitution for yeast in this and other breads?

Thanks everyone!!


Paddyscake's picture

Take a look on Mike Avery's web site: He has been a frequent poster here and has some great recipes..Sourdough English muffin bread, sourdough blueberry muffins, as well as tips for converting recipes from yeast to sourdough.


leucadian's picture

Janedo has a blog here, and on her own site ( She has converted lots of commercial yeast recipes to sourdough (levain), with very impressive results.

Don't forget that sourdough is still yeast. Probably a different yeast than is in your commercial packaged yeast, but still very similar. Of course it also has bacteria that gives us the sour taste. But I think the big difference in converting from a commercial yeast to a sourdough starter is that the commercial yeast is very concentrated, and you can add a lot of yeast to a dough all at once with your teaspoon. With sourdough, that yeast colony has to be grown by you, and you can't get anywhere the concentration that you can achieve with your teaspoon of instant yeast. Commercial baker's yeast is a relatively new (100 years or so) development, which means that just about any bread can be made with what we call sourdough. And there are ways to minimize the sourness if that's your goal.

You'll see a lot of recipes for artisan hearth breads that start with 1/4 tsp yeast, and a long fermentation (longer with retarding) in order to get the maximum flavor from the wheat. Any of those recipes are good candidates for conversion to sourdough starter, since they start with a low yeast concentration.