I don’t like to keep anything in my kitchen unless it serves multiple purposes. I keep various sizes of canning jars for storing leftovers, dried foods, culturing, and preserving. I keep utensils that can perform multiple functions. And I like to keep cultured foods around because they can be used for more than just the food we assign to them.

Kombucha is a good example of this. Because it contains both beneficial bacteria and yeasts, it is the perfect candidate for creating a sourdough starter. I decided to give it a try, as I needed to start a rye sourdough starter anyway.

Here’s how it went.


I had our kombucha at just the right stage for bottling. That is, the baby SCOBY was well-developed, their was a bit of tang, but there was also just enough sweetness to create a nicely carbonated second fermentation.

I had read that you can use a ratio of one part kombucha to one part flour. But, since I didn’t have enough for several days of that, I decided to use it more as a booster to the water I was adding rather than the entirety of the liquid itself.

So, I added one part flour and a scant one part water to a quart jar and then added about 1-2 tablespoons of the kombucha. If you can, do try to get the dregs at the bottom of the kombucha vessel. This is where the yeast strands often hang out and since yeast is what we’re after for a proper sourdough starter, it seems like we ought to capture them and make good use of them.


So, like with any sourdough starter, I mixed vigorously with a wooden spoon, covered it with a breathable lid attached with a canning ring, and let it hang out next to the kombucha itself.

Not much happened during the first 12 hours. So I repeated the feeding with water, kombucha, and rye flour. After 12 more hours it began to get a bit frothy.

I repeated the feedings again the second day with a small bit of action resulting from these feedings. Finally, on the third day – a warmer day I might add – the sourdough starter began to really look yeasty and viable.

At this point I deemed it no longer necessary to add kombucha to the feedings. The starter was clearly inocculated with the yeasts, bacteria, and acids needed and I will continue to feed it plain water and rye flour.

Looks like we’ll be eating sourdough pancakes for breakfast tomorrow!