How I do Sour Dough ~ Part 2

When we left off, our barm was fed and sitting on the counter. After a few hours, when we open the bowl we find a bubbly mess. This shows the barm is active and ready to be used. Yay!

To Make the Starter

Now before I go to bed at night, I make up my sourdough starter. This is again only a few minutes of work. I mix 4 ounces of barm, 4.5 ounces of bread flour, and 1-2 ounces of water. Weigh all this in your Kitchen Aid bowl, and mix with the paddle attachment. I drizzle a little olive oil on the dough before pushing it off the paddle so that it won't stick to my fingers or the bowl. I leave the starter in my Kitchen Aid bowl and cover with a suction lid. (If you don't have a Kitchen Aid, get one. Just kidding. Although, seriously it makes so many things easier in the kitchen. Or you can use a spoon to mix up the flour, water, and barm. It'll be an arm workout, but get it really mixed up so that the dough looks wet.) That's done for the night.

Not quite finished, though! Now I need to feed my barm again since I took some from it. If you take some barm, you must give some back. So I feed it equal parts again of flour and water, cover it and leave it on the counter.

See? Easy! Now in the morning comes the most amount of work, but it's only about 20 minutes. And if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, it's mostly hands-free work. But we'll get to that later.

Some Notes:

If you feed your barm and don't want to use it right away, you can put it in the fridge after a few hours. It stays fresh for about 3 days, which means you can use it within those three days without an additional feeding. If you don't need it in those three days, you can leave it in the fridge for a while (I've left mine for a long time, like a month, without feeding). But when you do need it, you'll have to freshen it, or feed it again before you use it to make anything else. (And if you leave it for a month, it will probably take several feedings and coaxing and begging to get it back to life again, but it will come back!) You can just discard some so that you don't wind up with a huge bowl of barm.

Barm really is an amazing thing. I might have to do another post on just barm. You can really do a lot to and with barm, and it still works! It also sometimes needs a little work and love. If you have a bubbly mess of barm, it's good and healthy, and active. If, however, your barm is making a cloudy liquid on its top after some time in the fridge, it needs some attention. This doesn't mean it's dead, just starving. Barm is 50% water and 50% flour (at least this barm is but it doesn't have to be). To make this sourdough bread we are gradually lessening the water from a part of the barm. But the barm is what you keep as a pet so that you always have sourdough (wild yeast) to make bread.

Let me know if you have any questions! I've been playing with this stuff for a long time now, but I'm still learning new things. It sure is fun, though! And just wait until you taste some of this bread, and then the other things you can make with it. Yum!

To see the rest of this series:

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4


  1. I tired to leave a post on Part 1 but it wouldn't work. I am so intimidated by sourdough. I have tried to start them with flour and water and no luck. How do you start a barm? I have never heard that word until I read it on here.

    Charlotte Moore

    1. Hi Charlotte! Don't be intimidated, if I can do sourdough, anyone can. I am terrible in the kitchen. To start a barm, you have a few options. You can go the old-fashioned route, which is to mix equal amounts of flour and pure water. There are a few posts out there that will help:

      Or another way to get some is to ask friend, if you know anyone who makes real sourdough bread, I'm sure they'll give you some barm. (I would!) You just have to make sure they don't use the sourdough recipe that takes potato flakes and sugar.

      A third option is to buy a dried starter from Cultures for Health.

      Does this help? Let me know if you have more questions!


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