Recipe Box

How to Make and Use Potato Flake Sourdough Starter

This is especially for my dear friend “B”, who’s been very curious about my sourdough starter and is eager to give it a try. I thought I’d also share the information here for anyone else who is curious about all the sourdough goodies I bake – my bread, pancakes and waffles, and English muffins all use a potato flake sourdough starter. This is different that the older traditional flour and water starter, but I prefer it. It’s just simpler.
One of my favorite foodie sites, The Spruce Eats, has a good tutorial for creating the starter and baking bread. However, I do one thing differently than is recommended. Nearly every blog that talks about potato flake starter says to throw out all the leftover starter except for one cup when done with using it for a recipe. However! I can’t stand waste, and there’s just no way I’m going to throw precious sourdough starter out. I keep it all, and when I feed it, I just add 1/2 cup water instead of the full cup of water. I also cut the amount of sugar and potato flakes in half. I still accumulate excess, but slower. When there’s too much to keep, I bake something else with the extra, usually some pancakes to freeze. The recipe is just a little further down this page!
I use whatever brand of flake is on sale. Doesn’t matter. The starter isn’t that picky. Oh, and I keep Beastie (that’s my starter’s name) in a good sized jar, with a screw on lid. Country folk get bugs, and bugs love a yeasty starter, so when I set it out, I lay the lid loosely on top of the jar if we are in bug season. A jar with a screw on lid is a good way to store it in the fridge, anyway. Put the lid on loosely, never tighten it.


Mix together in a glass bowl:
1 Cup warm water
1 Cup sourdough starter
1-1/2 Cups flour (any sort, well maybe not rye)

Cover the bowl with saran wrap or a towel, and place in a cozy spot overnight, or 8 hours.

Then add:
1 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp salt
3 Tsp granulated sugar
2 Tsp oil
1 Cup flour
1 egg

Beat thoroughly till blended (a large whisk works well). Drop spoonfuls on a hot, greased griddle and let cook until bubbles form and a peek at the underside shows brown. Flip, cook till the second side is brown. Makes good waffles, too!

And here’s my favorite English Muffin recipe!
Mix together in a glass bowl:
1/2 Cup sourdough starter
1 Cup milk (whole, 1% or 2%. Not skim)
2 Cups flour
Cover the bowl with saran wrap or a towel, and place in a cozy spot overnight, or 8 hours.
Then mix in:
1/2 Cup flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 Tsp salt (I cut that down drastically since we are low-sodium)
1/2 Tsp baking soda
Knead on floured board 2-3 minutes, until not sticky. Add up to 1/4 cup flour if needed. A little oil rubbed into your hands will keep you sane while working with this dough – it prevents the dough from sticking to your hands.
Roll out dough to 1/2″-3/4″ thickness. Cut out muffins with large round cookie cutter, or anything you have that’s a round large-ish shape. I have a straight sided glass bowl that works well. In my early days I used a tuna can with a hole punched in the bottom to avoid suction. Places the rounds on a cookie sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a cozy spot for 45 minutes.
Bake on a lightly greased griddle over medium heat, 8-10 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
These freeze well, but are fantastic fresh and warm.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.


  • Pat Winkeller

    Thank you for posting these recipes. I’ve been wanting to try the potato sourdough starter but I didn’t want to waste the discard. With just the two of us we don’t need a loaf of bread every five days. We do love English muffins and pancakes too.

    Any other recipes you come up with would be great too.

  • Elyshia Warden

    Have you figured out how to use potao flake sourdough discard in any other recipes? Like cookies or crackers? I made the English muffins and they turned out great! Thank you

    • Lori Alden Holuta

      I tried crackers once, but they didn’t turn out well – they were rock hard, actually! What I do to keep the discards at a minimum is to not add too much water when I replenish the starter, and when I scoop out starter to use for a recipe, I try to get as much of the potato flakes into my measuring cup as I can. This way they don’t build up to an awkward mass. I made the English Muffins a week ago, and always enjoy that process. It’s SO satisfying to see them slowly rise on my griddle! I’m happy you got a good result with them, too.

  • Cindy

    When you are feeding your starter with a reduced amount of water, i.e., 1/2 cup, are you also halving the amount of sugar down to 1/4 cup and potato flakes down to 4.5 tsp?

    • Lori Alden Holuta

      Yes, I cut down the amount of sugar too. This starter is very flexible, I’ve gotten to where I just eyeball the amounts of water, sugar and potato flakes. The starter will usually be happy with whatever it gets. Thank you for catching this, I’ve just updated my text to mention these changes!

  • Anita Stevens

    Thank you for sharing these recipes. Am starting the potato flake starter again after several years. I’m sensitive to gluten thinking this may be a good way to get good tasting bread that might agree with me

    • Lori Alden Holuta

      I’ll admit that I’m not knowledgeable about gluten compatibility in this sort of bread, but I sure hope it’s something that works with your diet! I’d love it if you checked back in and let me know how that works out?

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