Is It Safe To Eat Sourdough Starter?

Sourdough starter is a fermenting mixture of flour and water that’s used to make sourdough bread. While it may not look like much, this simple mixture is teeming with beneficial bacteria and yeast. In fact, some people believe that eating sourdough starter can help improve gut health. But is it safe to eat?

The Safety of Eating Sourdough Starter

Sourdough has to be fed daily if you keep it out on the counter, or weekly if you keep it in the fridge. The feeding process usually involves throwing out some starter so that its jar doesn’t start to overflow with the constant input of flour and water. What a terrible waste, right?

Sourdough starter is a live culture of bacteria and natural yeast. When you make sourdough bread, you use a small amount of starter to leaven the dough, which gives the bread its distinctively tangy flavor. Some people believe that eating sourdough starter can help improve gut health.

So, yes, you can eat sourdough starter, but you don’t want to do it in its raw form. When raw it is safe to consume in small amounts, but it will have a sour taste and a loose, gummy texture (depending on how much water you’ve added to the starter).

If you insist on it being raw, try just a small dollop. It might not taste amazing, but it will be beneficial for your gut. If you eat too much expect to get a sour stomach.

It’s best to cook the starter before eating it. Cooking will level off the sourness, allow you a chance to add flavoring, and it’ll fix the texture issue. It’s unlikely that starter will have any bad bacteria in it, but if you are concerned you can be sure that cooking it will kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the starter.

You can cook the starter by simmering it in water for 5 minutes or frying it in oil for 2+ minutes. Alternatively, you can get the starter and add it to soups, stews, or other cooked dishes. This will add flavor and enhance the texture of both the dish and the starter.

Sourdough Enhanced Stew

How To Thicken Stew With Sourdough Starter

Have you ever made a stew for your family only to have it turn out watery and thin? This simple technique will take your stew from watery to hearty in no time at all.

Cook your stew as normal. In middle to late stages you have likely noticed that the stew is loose and watery, more like a stew than something you’d want to use to top rice of mashed potatoes. Don’t even think of adding raw flour or removing that wonderful stew liquid!

At this point you’ll want to add a big dollop of starter direct from your starter jar. Try to add about 1 tablespoon for each cup of water in the stew. This is just an approximation, but it’ll be a good rule of thumb to get you going.

Make sure to add the starter towards the end of the process, when the stew is at about what you’d consider to the 80% or even 90% done mark. Too early and you’ll risk burning the starter and having an overly thick stew

The instructions are simple: add the starter to the cooking stew and stir steadily for the next 2 minutes. The starter won’t look good at first, and you’ll think this was a terrible mistake, but just keep stirring. Then after a minute or two, lower the heat and walk away! The starter will work itself out and you’ll end up with a thick, flavorful stew. The color will lighten a few shades but everything else will be just great.

It’s Safe To Eat Starter

Overall, sourdough starter is safe to eat as long as it’s made with pasteurized milk or water and cooked before consumption. However, there is no scientific evidence to support claims that eating sourdough starter can improve gut health. If you’re interested in trying sourdough starter, be sure to take these safety precautions into consideration.