How To Make A Sourdough Starter With Kombucha

If you want to make sourdough bread you need a sourdough starter. This simple starter is made from kombucha and buckwheat flour and it works perfectly every time for my grain free sourdough bread. You can buy commercial kombucha or make your own.
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fermenting kombucha

This is going to be short and sweet because it’s really, really simple. I thought I’d better share how I make my sourdough starter because I’ve just posted my grain free sourdough bread recipe and without this, well, the bread won’t work!

To start with you will need:

  • Kombucha tea (You can buy a commercial variety or make your own)
  • Buckwheat flour
  1. Pour about an inch or 2 cm of kombucha tea into the bottom of the jar/s.
  2. Add enough buckwheat flour to make a thin paste and mix well.
  3. Stir more buckwheat flour in to the mixture each day until you have enough starter to make your bread keeping the consistency similar to a thickish pancake mixture (anywhere from a heaped teaspoon to a couple of tablespoons of flour depending on how quickly you want your bug to fill up).

What you need to know before making the sourdough starter [TIPS]

  • The making of this starter isn’t rocket science and you can’t really stuff it up. Sometimes we make it faster (3 or 4 days) if we’re running out of bread, sometimes slower.
  • The mixture should be bubbly. Sometimes it will be very bubbly. Sometimes not so much. I don’t know why. But it still works.
  • If  you miss a day of feeding, it doesn’t matter. Feed it and it’ll spring back to life.
  • If it gets really sad and looks like it’s not doing anything, add a little sugar. That usually brings it back to life. Or add a little more fresh kombucha.
  • This bug can be reused – ie save a little, feed it and use it to continue for the next lot of loaves. We sometimes do that, but often these days we just use it all, wash the jars then start again when we need to as we always have kombucha in the fridge.
  • DO NOT use chlorinated water. You will kill your bug.
  • If you’re going away, just feed your bug and put it in the fridge. It’ll stay alive quite happily. We’ve left ours for a couple of weeks in the past and it’s been fine. Pull it out of the fridge, give it a feed with some more flour and away it goes!
  • Cover your bug to keep other bugs out! We use a nut bag over our jars and that works perfectly.
  • If you do manage to kill your bug, just get some more kombucha and start again!
bottle of kombucha
Image by LyraSid from Pixabay

You can find my gluten free, grain free sourdough bread recipe here.

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6 comments
  1. Hello Sue, I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on whether or not I could make the starter with the Cassava flour instead of buckwheat… I’m experimenting for a family member who is off all grains, beans, corn, etc. She can literally only have nut or root flours. Cassava, Tiger nut and a few starches are my limitations. I’ve tried fermenting the Cassava, but that’s not working. Would sure appreciate any help you can give!

    1. Hi Dawn. I’ve had no luck making a starter with Cassava. I think maybe because it’s a resistant starch… I tried green banana flour as well and had not luck with that either. It’s also a resistant starch so I’m figuring that whatever the difference is that changes the way these starches are processed in our digestive system, is the same reason that the bacteria in the starter can’t use them. I’d be keen to hear from anyone who actually can explain this or provide insight. I’m still using buckwheat.

      1. Thanks, Sue! That’s good info to add to what I’m learning! I just read someone else’s site, and they said Tigernut flour works great for fermenting, so I’ll give that one a whirl. I might also check into the buckwheat again. They are trying to rule out a possible diagnosis of Cyliac Vomiting Syndrome. My little niece is reacting to brown rice… sure appreciate your help!

        1. No problem Dawn. Glad to help. I’ve not tried Tigernut flour, but I’ve just searched and it looks like it’s just making an appearance her in New Zealand so I’ll have to give it a go. Brown rice is usually contaminated with arsenic unfortunately – even the organic stuff – and it is higher in lectins. If you’ve not looked into lectins, it might be worth doing so. I’ve just Dr Steven Gundry’s new book ‘The Plant Paradox’ – it’s very, very interesting and makes a lot of sense. He’s had incredible success with patients by putting them on low lectin diets. I’m taking his advice and so far, so good!

  2. Avatar Kiera Garner says:

    HI, how many days do I need to run the sourdough starter before having enough to make the bread? thanks! Kiera

    1. Hello Kiera, it’ll probably take about 2-4 days for it to be ready. A long rise will make it a wetter dough so be prepared to sprinkle at each kneading. In the end it is all about getting the right balance, tweak here and there as you need to. Good Luck!

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