Homemade Herbie (Grape Sourdough Starter)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 cups
Recipe 100% from Nancy Silverton
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 1⁄2 cups non-chlorinated water
  • 1⁄2 lb red grapes, unwashed organic stemmed
  1. Wrap the grapes in clean, washed cheesecloth, tying the corners to form a bag, then lightly crush them with a rolling pin or wine bottle (this is to release the sugar so it mixes with the natural yeast on the skins; akin to making wine.) and place them in the flour water mix, completely covering them fully. Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Leave at room temperature for six days, stirring once or twice a day for those six days.
  2. The bag of grapes will eventually look inflated, and the liquid will begin to separate from the flour base. The mixture will begin to taste and smell slightly fruity, and the color will be strange. This is how it should be. By the sixth day the bag of grapes will be yellow and deflated, and the taste pleasingly sour; this means that the fermentation is complete. The starter is now alive, but it's weak and needs to be fed, or else you'll lose it.
  3. Remove the bag of grapes and squeeze the grape juices back into the starter. Stir it thoroughly until all the juices from the grapes are fully incorporated, then transfer it to a clean container. (You can now use it after just one feeding, but the starter will be stronger and healthier with the full process) You may refrigerate it until you're ready to proceed.
  4. Three days before you plan to use it, stir 1 cup flour and 1 cup water into the container, incorporating it well. Let sit uncovered at room temperature until it bubbles, about 3 to 4 hours, then cover and refrigerate it. Repeat this process on the second and third day.
  5. Store the starter tightly covered in the refrigerator where it will keep perfectly for 4 to 6 months, after which you should pour off all but 2 cups of the starter and give it another feeding. However, before using the starter for bread, give it a full 3-day feeding schedule again to restore it and tone down any excess sour flavor..
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at https://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2011/12/27/salted-caramel-apple-sourdough-challah/