Prairie Style Sourdough Starter

Making a Sourdough Starter is so simple!

We have this great book that breaks down many of the prairie activities throughout the Little House series. I love it and can’t wait to try lots of them with the girls over the years.

Today I decided to give the Sourdough Starter a try.

It’s extremely simple and yet completely complicated. It’s really chemistry at it’s simplest–but you can ask my 10th-grade lab partner, I’m no good at it. Somehow I managed to get a bachelor’s without ever taking it again, not sure how.

Anyway, my mother in law got this book and I’m anxious to move in that direction with our bread, but the simple instructions provided in the Little House book are a bit too long…

Sourdough Starter Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup water (between 80-95 degrees)

How to make the sourdough starter:

I put the ‘batter’ of water & flour in a quart jar and with a rubber band around the top (which helps you notice rising/bubbling). It’s covered with a piece of cheesecloth and sitting on our back patio. There are a lot of factors that can go wrong, not sure what exactly, but any pointers are welcome. I’m sure some of you have tried this!

In case something goes wrong…

I have the back up of this sweet blogger’s offer to share her starter, but I wanted to witness this process…if you need the inspiration to make good bread, Joy has it!


This starter was destroyed by our cat. Apparently, she too likes sourdough, and while she almost certainly would blame other local pests (as it was outside absorbing humidity). The footprints led directly to her favorite nap-spot…hmm. Back to square one!

10 years later: MAJOR UPDATE!!

While I did have to start over,  we did successfully use this starter (or one like it) for years to make countless loaves of fresh sourdough sandwich bread. Yearly we dump our starters for Passover, and this year was no exception.

This year, we’ve got an added layer of Covid-19 Pandemic and the succeeding quarantine. An obsession with home baking, shelves emptied of all yeast, and a new urgency to make sourdough.

So… after a few years hiatus, we’re back in the sourdough business! We made a new starter last week (using the above method), and have made some beautiful loaves–including a new favorite–French Style Baguettes.

Also, our online community has become a drop zone for loads of informational videos on the things we’re doing around the farm–including a Sourdough Challenge that’s been such fun.

SOOOOO many beautiful starters + loaves are being shared! Join us there! 

Tips and tricks for making sourdough starter

In the years that we are on hiatus we learned some tips and tricks that we would like to share to you.


  • Start your sourdough in glass–plastic containers always have a film of fat/grease that interferes with the ferment.
  • Keep out of reach of pets – please do this unless you want to start over.
  • The top of the fridge can be a GREAT place to keep your starter as it remains warm.
  • The window sill is a great place to start, but generally too warm to keep it permanently.
  • Feeding isn’t rocket science–if it’s liquidy, add flour.
  • Place in the fridge to slow the need to feed.
  • You want a consistent pancake batter consistency.
  • You can make SO MUCH more than just bread with a sourdough starter. Biscuits, banana bread, pancakes, crackers…
  • THIS book is my fave. And you can’t beat $3.95!

Make your own sourdough starter now!! Share to us what you have made and if you have discovered some great tips we would love to know them.

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  • Joy Posted August 10, 2010 8:17 pm

    What a fun experiment! There are instructions in Baking Bread With Children for making your own starter too, but there was something compelling from bringing my starter from class which has relative starters in at least 9 different countries. 🙂 Good luck! I can't wait to see how it goes.

  • school house oils Posted August 10, 2010 8:30 pm

    that is cool Joy!

  • My Life Under the Bus Posted August 16, 2010 5:36 pm

    LOL ! I absolutelty stink at bread making…I've got a science degree and this is just one skill I can't seem to overcome : (…oh and making fried chicken….I would love to make real awesome fried chicken…I'll have to add that to my bucket list.

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