“My Ashram internship was the perfect opportunity to go further with my interest in sourdough. There are so many metaphors – balance, relationships. Starter is a delicious mix of harmonious microbes!”

– Molly Askey-Goldsbury, Kitchen-Garden Intern


Sourdoughs are fermented by a variety of lactic acid bacteria, called Lactobacillus, which consume sugar to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas. They also produce lactic and acetic acids, which give sourdough breads their distinctive flavour.

Correctly fermented wheat contains 18 amino acids (proteins), complex carbohydrate, B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and maltase.



Sourdough Starter Recipe

  1. Mix 1 cup flour and l/2 cup water
  2. Leave to rest at room temperature (25-30℃) for 24 hours, or until you start to see bubbles forming on the surface.
  3. At this point, add the same quantities of flour and water as before; stir thoroughly and leave for a further 24 hours.
  4. This time before you add the flour and water, remove and discard half of the mixture. (The starter is not yet stable enough to use.)
  5. Repeat this removal and replenishing each day for the next 7-14 days.
  6. Once you are confident that the mixture is reliably doubling in size after each feed, you are ready to try out your starter.

The temperature you keep your sourdough at has a big impact on both growth and flavour. Whilst you are establishing your starter, it’s important to keep it at room temperature, 25-30℃.


Starter Bread Recipe

Rye Bread

  • 1 cup rye starter
  • 5 cups rye flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp salt


other recipes
Gluten-Free Carrot Scones

  • 2 ½ cups rice milk
  • 2 cups gluten-free starter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sunflower oil
  • 2 cups grated carrots


Spelt Bread

  • 2 cups spelt starter
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 7 cups organic spelt flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame & flax)
Spelt Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 cup spelt starter
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen


Gluten-Free Millet Bread

  • ½ cup gluten-free starter
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup xantham gum
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flax & warm water
  • ¾ cup rice milk
  • ½ cup soaked millet


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About the Author

MOLLY ASKEY-GOLDSBURY  is on a five-month internship at the Ashram. For her kitchen study project, she investigated use of sourdough culture and artisanal methods. Her presentation – and taste treats – were well received. “Always into food,” the England native is on sabbatical from a whole food cooperative.