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This has been on my list of things to try for a while now. Kombucha is rich in beneficial yeasts and bacteria so I’ve been fairly certain it would make an excellent sourdough starter. Score! It does indeed make an excellent sourdough starter.
I’ve made native sourdough starter using organic grapes, pineapple juice or even nothing but a good stir and yeast from the air. These methods worked great, they just took a good week to establish a bubbly starter. But I want sourdough now! Using kombucha in place of water kick starts things so you have a bubbly starter usually ready within a day. Awesome for when I’m impatient.
The best part about this method is how easy it is to restart it. I’m notorious for forgetting about my starter and letting it die. This can be pretty horrible when I spent $13 or so on that starter. But if I let my kombucha sourdough kick it, it’s no trouble to just start a new one.
For the flour, you can use your favorite flour, gluten free or gluten full. I use an inexpensive rice flour for the starter part and a I save my more expensive gluten free mix for the rest of the flour in a recipe.
To make the starter simply take an equal part flour to kombucha and mix them together. Let set in a warm place until nice and bubbly, which for me was about 12 hours near my crock pot.
I will be posting a few sourdough recipes in the coming weeks but if you are antsy to try it out, here are a few recipes:
- 4 No Wait Sourdough Recipes from GNOWFGLINS (these are gluten full but I’ve made them gluten free by just subbing gluten free flour for regular flour).
- Wardeh’s excellent book Sourdough A-Z has a great section on gluten free sourdough baking and most of the recipes are easily converted.
- Orange Spice Dutch Baby Sourdough Pancake, so good! I have to make two of these when I bake it. It’s the perfect use for discarded starter.
- Gluten Free Sourdough Bread This recipe has a bazillion different flours but I just use a gluten free baking mix and it turned out lovely. 3 1/4 cups of gluten free bread flour (Pamela’s GF Bread Mix).
**Just a side note, I don’t have any experience with wheat flour sourdough bread making. While I know this works with wheat, all of my sourdough advice comes from a gluten free stand point.
Kombucha Sourdough Starter
- 1/2 cup strong kombucha (strong but not too strong)
- 1/2 cup flour (I use white rice flour)
In a jar, blend kombucha and flour well. I let mine rise in a Pickl-it jar but it’s not totally necessary. If you live in a warm place prone to mold, a Pickl-it would be helpful. A loose covered jar is fine.
Set in a warm place to rise for about 24 hours. You can use it at this point or you can feed it to give it a stronger sourdough flavor.
To feed your starter, mix 1/2 cup starter, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 water. You can build your starter by mixing an equal amount of starter, flour and water. If you need 2 cups of starter for your recipe, you’ll want to combine at least 1 cup starter, 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. Make sure your container is large to handle expansion. It can double in size or more, pretty quickly (check out this sourdough explosion).
You can either keep your starter on the counter and feed daily (twice daily for wheat starters) or you can take a break and place it in the fridge. It’ll keep refrigerated for a week. Longer than that and you’ll want to feed it. To get it active after refrigeration, just feed and keep warm for 12-24 hours.