About this recipe: Use unwashed, organically grown red or purple grapes for this recipe. The white powder found on the skins of the grapes is used as homemade sourdough starter for bread. If you wish, you can switch to plain flour on the fifth day. The starter is fully active and ready to use in nine days.
This recipe produced a vital and active sourdough starter without any added commercial yeast. I use it at least once a week to keep it fresh and ready to go. It will raise a beautiful loaf all by itself. (Be sure to give it extra time.) I always replenish it with wholemeal flour and water and let it sit out of the refrigerator until it is good and bubbly. Then I refrigerate it until I'm ready to use it again. It makes absolutely heavenly waffles and biscuits. The waffles alone are worth making this starter. The instructions say to discard the dough during the initial fermentation process. I didn't, but used it in breads and quick breads with good results. The fermentation process was faster than I expected. Maybe the temperature was warm here. Also I started with grapes a bit on the old side. I think they had already started to ferment. - 14 Jul 2008
Most of the starter recipes you're likely to find either cheat, by using commercial yeast to kick start the process, or are - quite honestly - too fragile in their early stages. In the former case, you create a colony of whatever strain of commercial yeast that you used. Which sort of negates the point of making your own starter: using home grown yeast. In the latter case, you all too frequently end up with a smelly paste that is definitely not starter. This recipe, on the other hand, works perfectly, rapidly and dependably. It creates a batch of wild yeast - soon enough influenced by whatever yeast are floating around in your area - and creates a powerful starter. Powerful enough that no additional yeast is needed to leaven any recipe. Readers might be interested to know that this starter also well replicates the artisinal starters used in high end commercial recipes. Meaning that - quite often - I have seen professional bakers scrape together all manner of thin skinned fruit, let it sit for a few days and use the fermented juice as a starter basis. I really like this starter. - 14 Jul 2008
I used wine grapes from a local vineyard. This makes a very fast "sourdough" starter, with a less sour flavour than my regular sourdough. It has worked in all my favorite sourdough recipes that I have tried it in. - 14 Jul 2008