Sourdough Starter from Scratch – Mom’s Fascination with Sourdough


DSCN0663Funny how our senses can trigger childhood memories.  To this day, the smell of sourdough pancakes carries me back to some of my oldest memories.  Most mornings, I would wake to the heavy scent of pancakes or English muffins coming from the kitchen.  It was such a frequent ritual, that it took me until my adulthood to be able to eat them again!

Mom has a lifelong fascination with sourdough, collecting articles, recipes, cookbooks & stories.  I remember the ever-growing sourdough file, that turned into her own cookbook.  I remember it well, as I was the one hunting & pecking my way through each recipe on the old manual typewriter.  She had the pages copied & bound, then shared a copy with each of her daughters.  I still have my copy, complete with my many typos!

If  there’s such a thing as being a sourdough snob, well…she’d fit the bill (but I mean that in the nicest way) & here’s why.  Mom didn’t believe in using store bought yeast to make starter, and she made hers with wild yeast as the pioneers did.  She told me stories of pioneer families crossing the plains with their prized starter tucked away safely in a bag of flour.  They fed & nurtured their starters for years & generations.

So how does one collect wild yeast & create a starter of their own?  Here’s the method Mom shared with us.


 Recipe from the collection of:  Designs by Jeanne R

1.  Place 1 cup of milk in a glass container (never use metal!) and let it sit out at room temperature for 24 hours.  In order to collect the yeast, do not place it under a cupboard, and do not cover the container.

2.  Stir in 1 cup of flour.  Continue to leave it out & uncovered for 2 to 5 days at which time it will bubble & sour.  If it begins to dry at any point, add a little lukewarm water & stir.  The bubbling means the process was successful, & it’s ready for use.

3.  Place the starter in a crock or glass container with a lid, then store in the refrigerator.

4.  Try to use your starter each week to keep it active.  Each time you use your starter, you will need to feed it with equal parts of milk & flour.  If possible, leave on the counter for a few hours or overnight after feeding.  I usually skip this step, and pop it right back in the fridge.

5.  Try to maintain about 1-1/2 cups of starter.

–Note:  If a liquid forms on the top of your starter, just pour it off before you use or feed it.


As time permits, I’ll share recipes with you.  Some of the more traditional recipes will require a  lead time of a few hours or overnight in order for a sponge to form.  Others will use standard leavening agents for a quicker turn-around.

Stay tuned!

“Welcome to Tuesday!”

…or whatever the current day was at the time.   That’s what our son, Nick use to say when he was little. Instead of “good morning” or the like, he’d greet us with that wide-eyed face, spunky grin, contagious giggle, and say “Welcome to Tuesday, Mom & Dad!”  How could we NOT have a fantastic day after a greeting like that?!   So…Tuesday, already? Continue reading

As the saying goes, “Sewing is cheaper than therapy…”

I’ve seen that quote on Pinterest in various forms, and each time it made me chuckle to myself. Sometimes things are funny because they have an element of truth, no?  I’ve certainly turned to sewing (or another creative outlet) when I’ve needed to calm my nerves or clear my head.  In the same token, I turn to it when that inspiration hits me, and there’s nothing quite like creating to make me smile.  It’s the ultimate “me time”  that’s motivation in and of itself, to cross those chores off my list.  As I create, I push myself to learn new things, to improve the skills I already possess.  It allows me to express my love to my family in my own unique way…  (There’s nothing like a thoughtful meal to say you care).  Creating helps me understand myself… It’s the ultimate expression of who I am.  How can something so seemingly simple (looking from the outside) mean so many different things?




I Love Learning New Things

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time (what’s that you ask? Haha) is to watch sewing tutorials. I enjoy watching not because I necessarily plan on making what they’re making, but I can usually pick up some new tip or different approach.
Take this morning, for example. I was watching Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting:  (Episode#2312, featuring Mary Fons & guest Patrick Lose).

Fons & Porter’s Loverbirds Placemat

A couple of little things jumped out at me, the first was in regard to applique.
~ While stitching around a piece, do so at a steady pace, avoiding stops. This keeps the stitching smooth, and free of unwanted pointy edges.
~ When coming to a turning point on the piece (like the inside top of a heart shape), over-stitch by about 4 or 5 stitches, then turn with the needle in the right position. This creates a cleaner look at the pivot point.
~For mitered corners on a quilt binding, Patrick stops the normal distance away from the edge as he is using for the seam allowance (which I normally do anyway). Then he pivots by 45 degrees, stitching up through the corner edge without back stitching. Proceed with the corner, folding and back stitching as usual. He also teaches an interesting way of trimming the corner at the fold-line, clipping a few stiches, then trimming the dog ear.  It’s difficult to explain here, but it’s demonstrated very clearly on the show.   I can’t wait to try this technique on my next quilting project.

So many talented people, each with a unique approach.

Have you learned a new little trick or technique that has made a big difference to you?

A quick note to say hello…

Hi Everyone!  Since this is my first post, I’ll keep it brief.  My name is Jeanne, and I’m a full time, work from home wife and mom (to my husband Gene & teenage son Nick), with an Etsy shop as a side business. I’m the creative type by nature, I love to sew, quilt, cook, craft, garden & draw…probably in that order.  Over the next few months, I’d like to post video tutorials, share ideas, and chat with upbeat people who have similar interests.   Let’s get this party started with a video tutorial I’ve posted this morning!

Thanks for stopping by, let me know what you think of the tutorial, & please keep in touch! ~Jeanne