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a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.
Hi, I'm Kels!

The Best Sourdough Glazed Donuts

I made a major discovery last Fall that I have been meaning to share.

When talking to people about sourdough starter or natural yeast, the question of ordering dehydrated flakes online comes up. Some have ordered and tried to reconstitute only to end up frustrated. My own mom tried a couple of different starter flakes that weren’t very great. When I was finally able to take her some of my starter, she was amazed by the difference between them. Some people just cannot get it going not matter what they try.

I was visiting with my sister at her home last Fall and she was asking me about her starter and how sour it was. It was definitely significantly more sour than mine (which hers came from). She explained that she had dehydrated a bunch right when she got the starter and that this particular one came from those flakes. I couldn’t figure it out.

Why had so many people had this same issue?

As we drove away from her house I kept thinking about it. Hours later into our trip, IT HIT ME. It all came together in my mind.

Here is what I discovered:

When natural yeast/sourdough starters are exposed to warmer temperatures, they ferment and grow much more rapidly. That is why I keep my starter in the fridge – – to retain its mild flavor and slow down the process so that I don’t have to feed it every day. When dehydrating flakes, you are exposing them to A LOT of low heat. You have to leave them under heat for hours and hours to remove all of the moisture. SO, you are essentially souring your starter by quite a bit as you dehydrate it! WHAT! That may not be cool to anyone else, but for me, it was a major light- bulb moment.

Suddenly, it made sense why so many people struggled to get these starters up and going, and once they were going, why they were so sour! AND it thrilled me to know that what I was doing (freeze drying my starter) was preventing this problem because it retains the properties of the original food during the process, and there is no heat involved (hence the “freeze” part).

I love natural yeast. It has become something of a passion of mine. I love learning more about it and helping others learn as well. I am grateful that you have allowed me to inundate you all with my bread and starter rantings! Having been using natural yeast for about 4 years now, I can say it didn’t come easily. I wasn’t turning out beautiful loaves of perfectly raised bread the first week . . . or month . . . or several months. It is a skill that must be learned and practiced. It is an entire new way of making bread and it’s ALIVE — it’s finicky.

I am thankful to those of you who are sticking with it, who are e-mailing me with your frustrations and your successes, and who are trying to add something healthy and amazing to your lives. Thank you for letting me be a part of that. You don’t know how much it means to me – this is like my baby!

For those asking and wondering, I am planning on more classes. I know there is a lot of interest in Southern Alberta and I will actually be up there soon. It may be last minute, but I plan on putting a class together while I am there. I also have some other things I am putting together online that will make me more accessible for those wanting to learn more!

Comments +

  1. Emily says:

    I started playing with natural yeast and loved it, unfortunately I was the only one. Only 1 of my 6 kids liked it. It is a lot of work for only 3 people! ? So, I’d like to try again but really need some recipes where the sour taste is mild. Suggestions?

    • Kelsey says:

      Have you tried my whole wheat waffle recipe? It’s not that sour. Or the chocolate chip cookie bars . . the lemon sourdough bundt cake is my favorite and no one would ever be able to tell! Those are things I use up my excess starter in. Where did you get your starter from? Some are a lot more sour than others — there are over 1,000 strains of wild yeast and if you get a sour one in your starter, it’s no good (unless you like that, of course). Mine is really mild and even in my bread I hardly notice it, unless I haven’t fed it often before making bread. Hope that helps!

  2. Marsha says:

    That is really interesting. I got my starter from Cultures for Health and we have had lots of ups and downs. It was very sour but about a month ago something changed and it has been milder. Maybe the cooler temps have helped too though I am in the South and it hasn’t really been much colder! I almost lost it but just kept feeding it and babying it until it came back. A lot of times instead of throwing the excess starter I will feed it and try to keep two starters on hand. Then I will see which one looks healthier and use that starter as my next backup. Make sense? It is an interesting experiment. Thank you for your simple instructions. I have made the Challah dough several times and it turns out so good. I am not a baker, I would rather cook but the challah and cinnamon rolls are so worth the effort!

    • Kelsey says:

      Isn’t it crazy how they can change so quickly? The weather definitely has an effect on mine! I always keep two on hand as well and if one seems a little off I use it up for waffles and split the healthy one.

      Thank you so much for your feedback — the challah is our favorite too. I really appreciate the comment!

  3. Rebecca says:

    So is there anything you can do if your starter is sour? I dried some flakes from my last starter and it is doing exactly what you describe above. But, i don’t want to just throw in the towel. Do you have any suggestions for what I could do to get it back to “normal”?

    • Kelsey says:

      if you keep it in the fridge and feed it more frequently that can help with the tang. and always pour liquid off instead of stirring it back in.

  4. Betsy says:

    Where do I get the starter?

    • Kelsey says:

      hi betsy – i was out of stock for the last month but just tonight more went live on my page. you will find it under the “products” tab. please include your shipping address if you purchase. thanks!

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about me

Hey, I'm Kels!

a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.

I have lots of recipes and resources, but now it's just about me being real, walking through the messy and beautiful parts of life.


How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

I am so excited to take you, step by step, through the process of making your own sourdough starter. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but if you stick with it, your time and patience will be rewarded with a lifetime of sourdough goodies!

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