A fool proof and easy method of making a grape sourdough starter with organic grapes, flour, and water so you can make your own sourdough bread at home!
When I first started baking with sourdough, I remember starting out with flour and water. I named him “Sid” and fed him every day (sometimes twice a day). I enjoyed making everything with Sid – sourdough bagels, sourdough English muffins and even sourdough bread.
It wasn’t but a few months later that I heard of sourdough bakers using grapes to make a sourdough starter.
I wasn’t so sure I understood why grapes were used; nonetheless, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Wild grape sourdough starter doesn’t perform any differently than regular sourdough starter but it does become active quite a bit faster.
Out here in Arizona, grapes grow beautifully. When I first determined I wanted to make grape sourdough starter, I didn’t have wild grapes growing in our garden. So I picked up a bag of red, seedless grapes at our local market and came home ready to get started.
Now, a year later, we have several grape plants in our home garden. They won’t bear fruit until next year, but we’re fortunate enough to live near a local, organic family farm that has grapes available for the local community (for donation).
The kids and I picked a whopping 17 lbs of grapes just a few weeks ago – what a wild adventure that was!
What’s up with wild grapes?
Why are they such a wonderful base for sourdough starter? The skin of wild grapes is perfect for wild yeast. Wild yeast floating in the air will collect on grape skins.
By burying wild grapes in flour you will transfer some of the yeast to the sourdough starter you will make with the flour.
Getting Started – Grapes to Flour
Getting started with grape sourdough starter is as simple as grapes and flour. Grab a few handfuls of grapes, give them a rinse in water and remove from the stems. Slice the grapes in half and put them in a large jar.
I alternate between a gallon, glass kombucha jar and a quart canning jar to make my sourdough starter. I prefer a larger jar though because it gives me ample room to stir and work.
After your starter is established, you’ll want to feed it (1-2 times each day). Each time you feed your starter with new flour and water, your starter may seem to lull. Within 2-3 hours, it’ll grow in size.
It might sometimes even try to escape the jar (see my jar above!) I would suggest using something that will provide ample room so you don’t have these mishaps.
Wait 3 days then feed
To the sliced grapes in the jar, add equal parts unbleached white flour and room temperature water. Give it a good stir with a wood spoon. Then cover the container and allow to sit for three days at room temperature.
**This isn’t exact. I did not weigh the grapes.. nor did I use any type of a measuring cup. I just used seedless, red grapes that I sliced in half. The slices weren’t perfect, I just did it as quickly as I could.
After three days, pluck out the grapes using a wood spoon (save them for your Vermicompost). Discard half the mixture (don’t throw it — use it to make sourdough crackers or sourdough popovers).
Then feed the remainder left in the jar with equal parts water and flour (1 C flour and 1 C water). Stir well, until the mixture is thoroughly combined, then cover the container.
Let that starter sit for another 24 hours and it should be ready to use.
Using your Sourdough Starter
If you are using the starter regularly (every week or every few days), then discard half and feed with equal parts flour and water each day. Depending on how much you bake, you may need to feed it twice each day.
If you are making sourdough bread, you will need to feed your starter 4-5 hours before using the starter. (For example – if you want to make bread at 12 p.m., then feed your starter at 8 a.m.) After using your starter for bread, make sure you feed your starter again.
Store your starter at room temperature if you are using it regularly. However, if you are using the starter to make bread once a month, keep it in the fridge (covered).
Just return it to room temperature the night before you wish to use it. Then feed it 4 hours before you plan to start making bread.
Grape Sourdough Starter Recipe
- 1 C red grapes washed and sliced
- 2 C all purpose unbleached flour
- 2 C water non-chlorinated
- Grab a few handfuls of grapes, give them a rinse in water and remove from the stems. Slice the grapes in half and put them in a large jar.
- To the sliced grapes in the jar, add equal parts unbleached white flour and room temperature water. Give it a good stir with a wood spoon. Then cover the container and allow to sit for three days at room temperature.
- After three days, pluck out the grapes using a wood spoon. Discard half the mixture.
- Then feed the remainder left in the jar with equal parts water and flour (1 C flour and 1 C water). Stir well, until the mixture is thoroughly combined, then cover the container.
- Let that starter sit for another 24 hours and it should be ready to use.
- If you are using the starter regularly (every week or every few days), then discard half and feed with equal parts flour and water each day. Depending on how much you bake, you may need to feed it twice each day.
- If you are making sourdough bread, you will need to feed your starter 4-5 hours before using t he starter. (For example - if you want to make bread at 12 p.m., then feed your starter at 8 a.m.) After using your starter for bread, make sure you feed your starter again.
- Store your starter at room temperature if you are using it regularly. However, if you are using the starter to make bread once a month, keep it in the fridge (covered). Then return it to room temperature the night before you wish to use it, taking care to feed it 4 hours before you plan to start making bread.
This sourdough starter is a fabulous way to start making your own sourdough bread!
Sourdough recipes you don’t want to miss:
Everything Sourdough Bagels Recipe
Joe Stolzenberger says
If you wash the grapes the yeast on the grapes go down the drain.
Nope, not the case. You might think that but my grape sourdough is still kicking now over a year later and makes delicious sourdough for my family of 7 twice a week. Much stronger starter than the traditional flour/water – at least for me. Give it a try. You might love it too.
millie dixson says
thanks so much. I am going to try this recipe today
Millie, let me know how it goes!
Britnee Tran says
Hi! I was wondering if the type of grape matters (green, red, seedless, with seeds, etc). This recipe looks so good. It makes me want to try growing grapes myself. Do you have any recommendations for growing wild grapes? Also wonderful job on the recipe. Thanks
Britnee, it doesn’t matter… I used red for this recipe. But I’m certain you could use green, too. I would just try to use seedless grapes.. because you don’t want to have to deal with seeds when you cut the grapes in half. I do grow grapes here at my home.. I’m in Arizona & they grow well for me. Mine are thriving in partial sun (they get shade in the morning and very hot sun in the afternoon). My grapes don’t require lots of water.. in fact they do better with less. I have seen other growers here in my area put grapes in full sun on drip irrigation and they grow like crazy.
After 3 days my starter was very runny, I may have used too many grapes? I removed the grapes and added 1 cup flour and 1 cup of water. How do I know if it’s too runny?
MARIA DEL PILAR REINOSO SANTIZO says
Hi Sheryl, do you know if this recipe would work with almond flour? I am on a keto dieta and have been looking for a keto sourdough. Thank you!
Unfortunately I don’t think it will 🙁
google it – there are plenty of keto sourdough recipes out there
Will boiling tap water for 20 minutes be enough to make the “non-chlorinated water” required for this sourdough starter? What do you do?
Greg, you can do that. That’s usually what I do. Just make sure you let it cool to room temp after boiling.
Elizabeth M. Harrison says
going to make a one-time grape sour dough recipe for bread, and am going to keep the wild grapes IN, and just allow the sourdough to do its thing and shoot from the hip as far as what ELSE i’ll be adding, but, it’ll be all organig grains fermenting beofre i add the sourdough grape starter – and w/a freezer packed with wild blue grapes – granted, the seeds are crunchie and plentiful ha ha – im going to add more grapes and a touch of maple syrup when serving!
Cover jar with a tight fitting lid or a kitchen towel?
I just finished making my own grape sourdough starter from some of our local organic Niagara Concord Grapes from here in Ontario. One thing I love is the grapey smell! Can you please tell me if that beautiful aroma remains in yours or does it dissipate as you feed, use, and subsequently dilute the original?
Oh my.. I’d love to tell you it sticks around because I, like you, LOVE that smell too. Believe me. But… the more I feed, use and do my regular “discard” of starter, it dissipates slightly. It does still take on somewhat of the scent though, and I’d rather use grape sourdough starter than a traditional sourdough starter. I had better luck with my grape starter. Perhaps the scent remains in your starter for a longer period of time though — I picked wild grapes here in Arizona, I’m not sure how our grapes are compared to your organic grapes. Yours might have more of a pronounced flavor than ours (ours tend to be very tiny, small grapes as opposed to larger grapes).