Sourdough Recipes

Herman Secret Starter

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Secret Starter

  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups dairy buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Replacement Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


Secret Starter

  1. Soften yeast in water with sugar. Stir once or twice. Let stand 5 minutes or until doubled in volume. (If it doesn't double and bubble, the yeast is no good. Throw it out and start over with a fresh pack.)
  2. Beat remaining 3 ingredients together until smooth and beat in the bubbly yeast mixture at end of the 5 minutes. Pour into a nonmetallic 8 cup container with a loose fitting lid. Let stand in a warm place for 6 hours. As it bubbles up, stir it down (after the 2nd or 3rd hour - so don't be impatient!) Then it's ready to use. Say hello to Herman! Just remember to keep Herman out of drafts. Set him in a sunny spot-once in a while. He delights in this! He'll bubble up with excitement if the sun's shining on him a while!

Replacement Recipe

  1. Every time you remove a cup of Herman, you must replace him at once with this simple mixture.
  2. Beat it smooth and stir it into the mixture from which you removed the cupful for baking purposes. The above 3 cup mixture makes 1 cup of starter batter exactly, so if you remove TWO cups of the starter, double the replacement ingredients.
  3. Always leave at least one cup of the starter at all times with which to begin your next batch of Herman.


The object of Herman - as a Good Samaritan Recipe - is to give a cup of the starter, along with the Replacement Recipe + a cake to a friend. In turn they will keep the starter going and bake up something delightful to also share with another friend, along with a cup of the starter.

When you give away a cup of Herman a note must accompany it reading: "This is Herman. Treat him with love and keep him warm and away from drafts. Within 3 days of receiving this portion of his secret cake starter, please add to him a smooth mixture of one cup each - water, flour and sugar. Let him stand in a nonmetallic container with a loose-fitting lid for 6 hours before using a portion him in the following recipe....."

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