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Twice as Tasty

Sharing Starters and the Seventh Annual Sourdough Month

After sending out 274 packets of my personal sourdough starter last year, I’ve teamed up with other fermenters to share sourdough starter, scoby, kefir grains and more

By Julie Laing
Photo by Julie Laing.

I set Flathead Beacon readers the challenge last year of breaking a record for the second time, and the response was overwhelming. In January 2023, I gave away 274 packets of sourdough starter, mostly to Flathead Valley residents. That followed a 154-packet giveaway in 2022. Even if only half of the recipients are still baking, that’s an amazing amount of Twice as Tasty sourdough starter being used locally and beyond.

The beauty of sourdough starter – and many other starter-based ferments – is that the more you use and share it, the happier your starter becomes. After giving away so much starter last winter, my personal stash was so lively that when I taught a workshop in February, it was climbing out of the jars after just two hours at room temperature. So this year, I’m encouraging everyone with sourdough starter to share it with those eager to start baking with wild yeast.

To help connect new and active bakers, I’ve teamed up with Leslie Schweitzer and Laura Shriver, who run the Facebook group Sharing fermented starters. The group, which already has more than 1,700 members, connects people to share not just sourdough starter but also kombucha and Jun scoby, milk and water kefir grains and other cultures.

Much in the way I’ve been running my sourdough giveaway for the last six years, group members offer their starter for free but can ask that recipients cover shipping and materials costs. Local handoffs are also being arranged. With so many Twice as Tasty sourdough packets sent out to Flathead Beacon readers, I encourage you to join this group if you have received sourdough starter from me (or another source) or if you would like to begin baking with sourdough, including the recipes I’ll be sharing all month in this column.

To make sharing easy, I’ve been posting guides in the Facebook group that explain how to dehydrate, mail, rehydrate and care for sourdough starter. I feed my sourdough starter by weight and have long recommended that approach, but I’ve also created guides for rehydrating and caring for sourdough starter using volume measurements.

This is also a fabulous group if you are looking to expand into kombucha, kefir and other cultured foods. Group members are generous in sharing their knowledge and helping to troubleshoot issues that arise for beginning and experienced fermenters alike. I’m just one of many who will be answering questions and sharing starters. Best of all, this group is active year-round, so you can request and offer starters whenever you’re ready to get busy fermenting.

If you’re not a Facebook user, you can still find opportunities to request sourdough starter this month at TwiceAsTasty.com. I’ll be sharing recipes all month that put that starter to use, including ones that build on some of my favorite bakes, like Sourdough Pizza Dough and Pillowy Sourdough Pita.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.

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