Rye sourdough starter

  • Other
  • Makes 1
  • 10 minutes
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This rye starter recipe from Jane Mason is the perfect guide on how to make a sourdough starter. By using a little and topping up the starter as you go there will always be plenty on hand whenever a bread craving strikes – try baking Jane's Pure rye loaf, or experiment with a dish of your own.

First published in 2016
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This rye sourdough starter should take just five days to be ready, although it can be left longer if you wish. If nothing has happened by day six, it could be that your house is just too clean, or the air where you live is polluted and sadly lacking in natural yeast (very unusual, but it happens). You could stop using bleach or antiseptic sprays on your kitchen surfaces, and revert to hot, soapy water for cleaning, and try again. Sourdough needs germs!

Recipe taken from Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason, published by Apple Press (£14.99)




  • 200g of whole rye flour
  • 400g of water


On the first day, mix 50g whole rye flour and 100g water together in a large bowl. Cover with cling film or place a dinner plate over the bowl, and put it on the counter for 24 hours
The next day, add a further 50g rye flour and 100g water to the mix in the bowl. Stir, cover it, and put it on the counter for 24 hours
After this time, add 50g flour and100g water to the mix in the bowl. Stir, cover it and put it on the counter for 24 hours
Repeat the process the next day, adding 50g flour and 100g water to the bowl, stirring and covering, then leaving on the counter for 24 hours
By day five your starter should be bubbly – if it is, you have a viable starter. If not, don't add any more flour or water, just cover it and let it sit for another 24 hours
You now have plenty of starter to use straight away in any recipe that calls for a rye starter. You also have plenty to put back into a container in the fridge to take out when you need it – when you put it back in the fridge use a large container, as your starter will continue to froth up before it calms down
First published in 2016

Jane Mason is a writer, baker and a social entrepreneur. In 2010 she set up Virtuous Bread to help people make, find and learn about good bread and in doing so forge the link between bread and virtue.

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