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Lisa Fritz–Food Files

Lisa Fritz

Food Files

June 11, 2003

Get going on your starter bread

Dear Lisa: Can you please help me find a recipe for a starter for making bread? I had the recipe a long time ago and cannot find it. You keep it in the refrigerator and add to it when you use some of it out of the container. It keeps forever in the frige if you keep using it and feeding it. Hope you can help! — Jayne

Dear Jayne: There are hundreds of starter recipes for bread; including sourdough and the sweeter “friendship” variety. Starters are fun to use and share, but get used to discarding some. Starters double with every feeding, and you soon will have every vessel in your home filled with it. This sourdough version is good because you can use the starter anytime within two to 14 days from its previous use. As the starter ages, its flavor mellows, imparting progressively more sourdough flavor each time it's used. If cared for properly, your starter should last indefinitely. Sourdough Starter One package dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons sugar 2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees) Dissolve yeast in one half cup warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Combine one half cup warm water, flour and salt in a medium-size nonmetal bowl; mix well. Gradually stir in 2 cups warm water. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or cheesecloth and let stand in a warm place (80 to 85 F.) for 72 hours, stirring two to three times a day. Place fermented mixture in refrigerator and stir daily; use within 11 days. To use, remove starter from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour. Stir well and measure amount of starter needed for recipe. Replenish remaining starter with starter food (recipe follows) and return to refrigerator; use within two to 14 days, stirring daily. Repeat the procedure for using and replenishing starter. Makes about 2 cups.

Starter Food

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

Stir ingredients into remaining sourdough starter and refrigerate. Sourdough Bread 1 cup sourdough starter 2 1/2 cups water 5 cups flour 3 tablespoons melted shortening 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1/2 to 1 teaspoon baking soda (depending on sourness of starter) Melted butter or margarine In a large bowl, combine the starter, water and flour. Cover and leave overnight at room temperature. The next day add shortening, sugar, salt and soda and stir until well blended. Turn out dough on a well-floured board; knead thoroughly, adding more flour as needed. Divide dough in half; shape into two loaves. Place each in a 9x5x3-inch greased loaf pan; let rise until nearly doubled (may be as long as three hours, as this bread rises more slowly than yeast bread). Brush loaves with melted butter; bake at 400 F. for 40 minutes.

Turn out of pans to cool. Amish Friendship Bread Day 1: Mix in a non-metal bowl the following: 1 cup all purpose flour 1 cup milk 1 cup sugar Cover lightly. Day 2: Relax. Day 3: Mixture is bubbling. Stir. Day 4: Stir. Day 5: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar. Day 6: Relax. Day 7: Mixture is bubbling. Stir. Day 8: Stir. Day 9: Stir. Day 10: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar Take out 3 cups of starter and pour one cup into each of three containers. This is the starter. Give starters to friends (keep one cup for yourself). They should then begin with the instructions given above, starting with Day 2. To the remaining batter, add: 1/3 cup oil 2 cups flour Three eggs 1 cup sugar 2 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 tsp. vanilla Stir mixture well (do not use an electric mixer). Pour into a greased bundt pan or two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least an hour. You may also add raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, or fruits before baking.

• Lisa Fritz is a food and nutrition educator at Bryan High School. She answers readers’ questions about food, cooking and recipes. Her e-mail address is


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