Quinoa Sourdough Starter - 9 Grains Original

sourdough starter close-up

A building block for diverse and tasty breads and other baked goods, this starter is easy to make, very stable, and delicious. Best of all it can be made with few tools and minimum precision. The directions below include "Capturing" a starter; "feeding" a new starter so that the "captured" microorganisms thrive; "putting to sleep" the finished starter so it mellows without spoiling, and "waking up and feeding" a sleeping starter, which will preserve it indefinitely.

Every two weeks, the sleeping starter should be wakened, fed, and put back to sleep.

NOTE: You can substitute any grain flour for quinoa, except oats.


Yield: about 2 cups "Sleeping" sourdough starter.

Time to make initial starter: 45 minutes total, spread over 4 days.

Time to wake sleeping starter, feed it, and put it back to sleep: 30 minutes active, 7 hours inactive.

Equipment needed: Measuring Tablespoon. Stirring spoon. Plastic, stainless steel, or glass container with lid.

Ingredients For Initial Starter

19 Tablespoons quinoa flour

Ingredients To Wake Up And Feed A Sleeping Starter

1/8 cup sleeping quinoa sourdough starter
3/8 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa flour, and:
Additional 3/4 cup quinoa flour


1) Place 2 Tablespoons quinoa flour and 1 Tablespoon tap water into a plastic, glass, or stainless steel container that has a lid. Stir until well blended, cover loosely, and set in a room-temperature location (65 - 80 F).

2) After 24 hours, add 3 Tablespoons quinoa flour and 1 1/2 Tablespoons tap water to the mixture. Stir well, re-cover, and return to room temperature location.

3) After another 24 hours, add 5 Tablespoons quinoa flour and 3 Tablespoons tap water to the mixture. Stir well. If mixture at this point is somewhat dry - for example, it's the texture of dough - add water to make the texture resemble that of yoghurt. If on the other hand the mixture is very soupy, add some flour to achieve the same end - a yoghurt-like consistency. Re-cover, and return to room temperature location.

4) At the end of the next 24 hours, the mixture should be swollen, have a beer-ish aroma, and a pungent, sour taste. Scoop through the surface and the interior should resemble the photo above: richly bubbled. If so, it is ready to be "Put to sleep". (If it smells foul or is moldy, discard and start again.)

5) To put starter to sleep, place 9 Tablespoons quinoa flour into a medium bowl. Add the starter and stir until the mixture resembles damp sand. Place into a zip-lock bag, squeeze out all the air, date and label the bag, and refrigerate.

Waking up, feeding and returning to sleep:

1) Place 1/8 cup of sleeping starter in a medium bowl. Add 3/8 cup water and stir well, until sleeping starter is dissolved into the water. Add 1/2 cup quinoa flour and stir until a smooth wet batter forms. Cover, and place in a warm (100 F) area or retain at room temperature (72 F).

2) After 3 hours at 100 F or 7 hours at 72 F, check batter appearance. If it looks like the photo below (domed, cracked, smelling "beer-y"), it is almost ready to be either used or put back to sleep. Allow it to sit at room temperature another 1 hour, then add the 3/4 cup of quinoa flour and mix until a wet-sand appearing dough results. Place into a zip lock bag, squeeze out all air, label with date and refrigerate. Discard previous, unused sleeping starter.

Fully fed sourrdough starter ready to be put to sleep