The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Where to buy sourdough culture?

robin.masters's picture

Where to buy sourdough culture?



yesterday I've seen a great danish film about a baker who had 18 types of cultures and the light bulb has been switched on in my head. I've a working culture from Reinhart's book and using it with great success, but would like to experiment with new ones. 

Do you have any idea where can i buy sourdough cultures? I've googled and found this:

Is there any other source to get sourdough culture? And let me forgive my newbie question. Generally, sourdough starters are made from whole wheat exlusively or it can be made from white flour? As I'm prefering the ww ones. 


Thanks for your time.



sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)

They will give you some.  You will have to pay for the shipping though.

mtkd's picture

Is there a starter exchange anywhere? w0uld be useful - people could then send a bit to each other so no refunding for shipping ...

Also are there any small containers with one way valves for shipping?

loydb's picture

The King Arthur New England starter is fantastic and very sour, should you choose to go the commercial route.


Dwayne's picture

I am currently using this one and I am very pleased with it.  I went the route of making my own starter a number of times.  They all had great raising powers but were just not very sour.  The KA one has provided that.



LindyD's picture

Since your location is Budapest, perhaps a local bakery would share a small portion of their culture.  I've read that sourdough bread is available at the Great Market Hall food market.

As to the wheat used, generally sourdough cultures are created with white flour.  Sometimes a small percentage of rye or whole wheat is added.

Here's a thread on the WW sourdough starter topic, which you might find helpful:

codruta's picture

Hi, Csaba. I'm from Timisoara. I have a white flour starter since april 2009 (I made it) and ~6 weeks ago I split it in two and I've been feeding the other part only with rye flour. The rye starter smells sour, it's very strong and active, but the flavor in bread is surprisingly not very sour. The white one smells mild, delicate and is very active, too. I keep them at room temperature, feed them twice a day, with organic flours. Both are 100% hydration.

Few days ago, I decided to share it with my readers, or with anyone who wants them. I made a special post about it on my blog. I already have 12 requests (including from London, USA and France). I'll be very happy to send you some dried starters, if you want (you can paypal for post and packing, but that's optional), or even some fresh starters, if you ever come to Timisoara. You can read more details on my romanian blog  link here Apa.Faina.Sare. on the (click) dedicated page, or on the (click) dedicated post. (hungarian automatic translation is available, too - I hope is readable).

Contact me if you like.



robin.masters's picture

First of all thanks for the great replies from all of you. As i wrote I've got a working starter and it's just great, working pretty well. But for curiosity I want to try different starters from other parts of the world and being a whole wheat starter is a major point for me. 

I just got a reply from Sourdough International that their only ww starter is a South African one. Maybe i'll try that one. They've got ancient ones, so if anybody is interested in white flour starters it's definitely a must

The NYbakers seems also promising, they've got a ww starter, too. Thx Sheffield

Lindy, checking the local bakeries would be a good idea, but to be honest i've tried all of the whole wheat breads in the town and still my homebaked one is much better. And it's rather a critic for them as I've been baking for half a year only. 

It's very kind of you Codruta, but i'd prefer a ww only starter. Great blog anyway, I'll subscribe for it as you've got the translation. 

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Most starters take on the characteristics of the yeasts found in the flours they are fed during refreshment. More than a few folks have commented on TFL on how their commercially available starters changed in flavor characteristics over a period of time, most in less than 6 months and quite a few in much less time than that.

If you were to feed a seed from a white flour starter with whole wheat flour exclusively during refreshment, you would effectively have a whole wheat starter after the third refreshment. The time frame for this to happen could be determined by your willingness to pay for the WW flour, discard or use up half your culture with each refreshment, and your enthusiasm for building up a new starter. It shouldn't take longer than 72 hours to get your new starter alive and kicking but it's reasonable to assume that the flavor characteristics would take longer to develop and you to discern whether you like them or not.

So save your money, buy the flours you enjoy using, and build your own.


Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Sheffield,

I agree with Postal Grunt.

Try cultivating your own starter. There are plenty of threads here on this site. I never had much success with starting my own culture starter until I used the pineapple juice method. Now I have two starters on the go. One is a white culture and the other is a white/wholemeal spelt flour mix. Now that they are up and running I use filtered tap water instead of pineapple juice and they live in the fridge. Except on baking day. Both starters are at 100% hydration. ie equal amounts of fluid to equal amounts of flour.

Hope this helps. Its not difficult just a bit of TLC (Tender Love and care)..........................Cheers........Pete.

Doc.Dough's picture

Some advantages of the KA starter are that it comes wet and healthy, is known to be good, and is inexpensive.  You can transition it to rye or whole wheat if that is what you want.

Wyatt's picture

I've been baking bread exclusively with natural ferments for about 30 years, you can manipulate about any starter to get what you want out of it but some are more conducive to certain applications

Sourdough international has a number of Starters for sale, some rather unusual. The middle eastern ones are interesting but take more maintenance I've found. The French one is also interesting in that it develops quite a bit of flavor before becoming sour which I've found helpful in some situation. I wasn't impressed by the San Francisco one to be honest, rather bland, and found my homemade starte that I started in San Franciso to be a lot better. The Russina one was touted to be great at fermenting rye but I found the Austrian one to be much better.

One strange peculiarity of the Saudi Arabian Starter was that it tends to impart a yellow color to the bread, tasted great and probably the best flavor for flatbread I've tried though it wasn't really a very strong fermenter and tended to go bad rather quickly