Sour Dough Culture

$19.25 inc. GST


When stored correctly freeze dried cultures are typically viable long after any date on the pack.

Room temperature weeks
Refrigerator months
Freezer years

The basic principles of sourdough making.

Essentially sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water, rich in bacteria and yeast, either added or naturally occurring from the environment, that is used to make sourdough bread. Most bread cultures are used to control the indigenous bacteria naturally present in the flour, which might produce unwanted characteristics such as excessive sourness or a spoiled taste. Adding the cultures will ensure a uniform and more complex flavour development with minimal batch-to-batch variations.

The variety of flour used influences the characteristics of the sourdough and it is possible to make sourdough with wheat, rye and other types or mixtures of flours. Other important parameters influencing the attributes of the cultures are time and temperature during the processing. Additionally, it is possible to produce sourdough adding milk, oil, sugar and salt, which also will influence the result.

Most commercial bakeries start off with a fresh batch of water, flour and culture each time, so as to ensure no cross-contamination and completely consistent results from bread to bread, day-to-day. At home, you may want to follow the directions below and keep your sourdough going for as long as you choose.

Wild fermentation is a different thing altogether. That is when you mix flour and water together and then let it sit for several days and wait for wild yeasts and bacteria to develop. These microorganisms were either already in the flour, or in the air in your environment. While this does work, as you can imagine this is not within your control. If it works, that’s great. If not, you will get something that does not look or smell great and you will have to throw it all away and start again. I have done a few fantastic wild ferments and had one very smelly disaster. 

There are two basic steps in making sourdough bread.

Making your sourdough starter (pre-dough or mother).


Making your starter: (Small batch)

Step 1. Preparing the initial pre-dough.

  • Mix 500 grams of flour with 500 ml of water (one part flour to one part water) to make one kg of pre-dough.
  • Add 0.25 grams, or one pinch if using our mini measuring spoons, of the starter culture. The starter culture can be dispersed in a small amount of water and then be added to the flour, mixing in well.
  • Cover with a wet tea towel and allow to rest. Depending on the required effect (acidity and flavour development) and type of flour, the resting time for the wheat pre-dough should be up to 24 hours at 20-30°C. At 25°C, 12-18 hours are recommended whereas at 20°C the time should be increased. For pure rye pre-dough it is recommended that the resting time should be more than 24 hours at above 37°C. The shorter the resting time the less sourness (acid production) and flavour components are developed. The dough should be stirred from time to time.


Sourdough Bread



The second step is to feed it 

Step 2. Feeding the Mother.

  • Discard 500 grams (half) of the mother. This discarded mother can be used to make your bread. 
  • Mix 250 grams of flour with 250 ml of water.
  • Take your now 500 gram Mother and blend this with your new mixture of flour and water giving you one kg.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature or pop it in the fridge. In the fridge, you will need to discard and feed once a week. Out of the fridge you will need to discharge and feed event day.

This can be scaled down if not planning to make lots of sourdough at a time.

Maintaining your pre-dough for years to come.

The second step in sourdough bread making is to maintain your pre-dough. While the remaining pre-dough can be stored in the fridge, it will need to be maintained by feeding it once a week. Your pre-dough is alive and it needs to be fed with a mixture of flour and water.

For example, if you started out making a kilo of sourdough pre-dough and you used 500 grams in a bread recipe, you would then need to make 500 grams of 50% flour to 50% water mixture and feed this to your pre-dough by mixing it into the remaining 500 grams of starter.

If you do not make bread one week, and therefore do not use any pre-dough, you will still need to feed your pre-dough once a week. It is common practice in this instance to discard a portion of your pre-dough and feed the remaining pre-dough, keeping it alive.

If your pre-dough is left for too long without being feed, it will die. Don’t panic. If this happens, simply start again with a fresh batch of flour, water and bacteria. As the bacteria (culture) is stored in the freezer it will be alive for years to come and can always be pulled out to start another batch if necessary.


Basic Bread Recipe.

Sourdough mothers improve with age as over time they will get contaminated, in a nice way, with wild yeasts endemic to your area. If your sourdough mother is young you may wish to add some optional baker’s yeast.


  • 750 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 1 tablespoon of dried baker’s yeast (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 500 grams of sourdough pre-dough
  • 1 1/4 cups of water (as every flour is different, you may need to add more water to get the correct consistency).


  • Place the flour and salt into a bowl and mix. Make a well in the centre and add in your sourdough mother (leaven) and mix in. Add one cup of your water and mix in. Add additional water as necessary until a smooth dough forms. If using yeast, mix this with the water prior to adding to your sourdough starter/flour mix.
  • Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes. Knead until it is smooth and elastic. Under kneaded bread can collapse so don’t skimp on this step.  
  • Once your dough is the right texture, place it in a clean, oiled bowl to rise. This is not a quick bead where you add commercial yeast. You are using sourdough mother, so expect this to take some time.
  • Once your bread has risen for the first time, punch it down and then turn it out again and cut the dough in half and form into loaves and place them into two oiled bread tins. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rise for at least six hours. The longer you leave the bread the better. The best results come when you make the dough on one day and bake it the next leaving it to rise for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Bake your bread in an oven that has been preheated to 200° to 220° C. This should take about one hour. Your bread is done when you can remove it from the tin and tap it on the bottom and get a hollow sound, like a drum. You can also use a temperature test to see if your bread is cooked through. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature which should be 90° C. Once done remove your bread from the tin and allow to cool on a rack so that air can flow around the bread.

The use of bakers yeast will result in a lighter, fluffier bread, a shorter rising time and a milder flavour

2 in stock

Additional information

Weight.50 kg
Dimensions10 × 15 × 5 cm
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