Use unwashed, organically grown red or purple grapes for this recipe. The white powder found on the skins of the grapes is yeast. If you wish, you can switch to bread flour on the 5th day. The starter is fully active and ready to use in 9 days.

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Recipe Summary

Servings:
1
Yield:
1 cup starter
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Ingredients

1
Original recipe yields 1 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stem grapes into a medium mixing bowl. Crush with hands. Cover with cheesecloth, and set aside for three days at room temperature.

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  • After three days there should be bubbles in the grape juice, indicating fermentation has begun. Strain liquid, and discard skins. Return to bowl, and stir in 1 cup whole wheat flour. Set aside for 24 hours at room temperature.

  • Measure 1 cup starter, discard any extra, and transfer to a 1 quart glass or ceramic container with a lid. Stir in 1 scant cup bread flour and 1 cup water. The mixture should resemble a thick batter; add more water or flour if necessary to achieve this consistency. Cover loosely with lid. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Repeat the following day. Some activity should be noticeable: the mixture should be starting to bubble. Repeat twice more. You will need to discard some of the mixture each day.

  • Starter should be quite active. Begin feeding regularly, every 4 to 6 hours, doubling the starter each time. For instance, if you have 1 cup starter, add 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup water. Alternatively, store in the refrigerator, and feed weekly.

Nutrition Facts

729 calories; protein 19.4g 39% DV; carbohydrates 167.8g 54% DV; fat 4.9g 8% DV; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 15.1mg 1% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (32)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2003
Most of the starter recipes you're likely to find either _cheat_ by using commercial yeast to kick start the process or are- quite honestly- too fragile in their early stages. In the former case you create a colony of whatever strain of commercial yeast that you used. Which sort of negates the point of _making_ your own starter; using home grown yeast. In the latter case you all too frequently end up with a smelly paste that is _definately_ not starter. I know this to be fact as I've tried made and discarded many substandard batches of starter in my career. _This_ recipe on the other hand works perfectly rapidly and dependably. It creates a batch of wild yeast- soon enough enfluenced by whatever yeast are floating around in your area- and creates a powerful starter. Powerful enough that no additional yeast is needed to leaven any recipe. (My advice to substitute this starter for packaged yeast in any bread recipe- leave out a cup of flour add a cup of the starter. Add more flour if needed to get proper texture.) Readers might be interested to know that this starter also well replicates the artisinal starters used in high end commercial recipes. Meaning that- quite often- I have seen professional bakers scrape together all manner of thin skinned fruit let it sit for a few days and use the fermented juice as a starter basis. I really like this starter. In fact I've just pulled a batch of it from stasis in the fridge- make certain to pour o Read More
(185)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
06/12/2007
I don't know what I did wrong but my grape juice mush started growing mold by the third day at room temperaturen and I had to throw it out. If you know how to avoid this the reviews sound great but watch out. Read More
(16)
34 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 24
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2003
Most of the starter recipes you're likely to find either _cheat_ by using commercial yeast to kick start the process or are- quite honestly- too fragile in their early stages. In the former case you create a colony of whatever strain of commercial yeast that you used. Which sort of negates the point of _making_ your own starter; using home grown yeast. In the latter case you all too frequently end up with a smelly paste that is _definately_ not starter. I know this to be fact as I've tried made and discarded many substandard batches of starter in my career. _This_ recipe on the other hand works perfectly rapidly and dependably. It creates a batch of wild yeast- soon enough enfluenced by whatever yeast are floating around in your area- and creates a powerful starter. Powerful enough that no additional yeast is needed to leaven any recipe. (My advice to substitute this starter for packaged yeast in any bread recipe- leave out a cup of flour add a cup of the starter. Add more flour if needed to get proper texture.) Readers might be interested to know that this starter also well replicates the artisinal starters used in high end commercial recipes. Meaning that- quite often- I have seen professional bakers scrape together all manner of thin skinned fruit let it sit for a few days and use the fermented juice as a starter basis. I really like this starter. In fact I've just pulled a batch of it from stasis in the fridge- make certain to pour o Read More
(185)
Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2003
I used wine grapes from a local vineyard. This makes a very fast "sourdough" starter, with a less sour flavor than my regular sourdough. It has worked in all my favorite sourdough recipes that I have tried it in. If you live in a dry climate, as I do, start it in a large jar, instead of a bowl, to reduce the surface area for evaporation of juice. Read More
(66)
Rating: 5 stars
02/12/2004
This recipe produced a vital and active sourdough starter without any added commercial yeast. I use it at least once a week to keep it fresh and ready to go. It will raise a beautful loaf all by itself. (Be sure to give it extra time.) I always replenish it with whole wheat flour and water and let it sit out of the refrigerator until it is good and bubbly. Then I refrigerate it until I'm ready to use it again. It makes absolutely heavenly waffles and biscuits. The waffles alone are worth making this starter. The instructions say to discard the dough during the initial fermentation process. I didn't, but used it in breads and quick breads with good results. The fermentation process was faster than I expected. Maybe the temperature was warm here. Also I started with grapes a bit on the old side. I think they had alreay started to ferment. Read More
(48)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2003
I used store-bought red grapes with good luck. The flavor is truly San Francisco sourdough. Read More
(46)
Rating: 5 stars
10/24/2007
I am on day seven and getting worried that it wont turn out! It seems such a weird way to make sourdough starter! But I have my fingers crossed and a tasty sourdough biscuit recipe all ready to be used on day nine! UPDATE: Well my fears were unfounded. It is now about three weeks later and I have used the starter to make pitas rolls and bread. I wasn't sure about the amounts to feed the starter so I just guesstimated and added equal amounts of flour and water each time. The consistency is viscous and the smell is very sour. I use a cup of starter mixed with milk and flour and put it in the oven overnight and the next morning I mix up pitas rolls whatever and it works every time. Read More
(39)
Rating: 5 stars
11/04/2003
I was glad to find this recipe as I had only read references to this starter. It resulted in a nice tangy starter and was interesting to make Read More
(26)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2005
This worked great. I did it in late fall, and the temperatures in my kitchen were pretty cold, so I let it sit an extra day. It is bubbly and active now, about a month after I started it. Two cups of starter will raise two loaves of 100% whole wheat bread right over the tops of the pans! It has taken this long to develop the sour flavor--it was only mildly sour at first. A long, slow, cool-temp rise will make your bread more sour. Also, the bread becomes more sour as time goes by--on the second or third day it's pretty sour! Read More
(24)
Rating: 1 stars
06/11/2007
I don't know what I did wrong but my grape juice mush started growing mold by the third day at room temperaturen and I had to throw it out. If you know how to avoid this the reviews sound great but watch out. Read More
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
07/12/2007
Talk about quick! I am only at step 2 and have already watched the flour mixture rise rapidly in the first couple of hours. I did forget the grape mush til day 4 however. Can already smell the pleasant sour smell. Read More
(12)
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