Rye Sourdough Starter for Baking Bread

Sourdough starter in a base of certified organic rye flour and spring water.

You can get the starter only for $10 or get the starter and full directions for $15 (please select below).

We have been baking bread for over 10 years now and our culture is strong and healthy.

Click here for more info on sourdough bread.


  • Brand: KoruKai Natural Herbal Products

$ 10.00


  • Sourdough starter only
  • Sourdough starter and full directions (looking after the starter, recipe to bake bread)

You can get the starter for $10 or get the starter, full directions (see below) and email support for 2 weeks for $15 (please select above).

18 pages of directions include (sent via email):
- How to look after your starter, regular feedings, exact measurements, storage instructions
- Equipment (as below)
- Baker Terminology
- Two recipes to make artisan-style sourdough loaves applying different techniques
- Recipe for a simple pizza dough

Rye starters are very robust and can tolerate a bit of neglect :-) Other starters would not survive that and need more care and attention.
We use the rye starter for loaves of wheat, rye and spelt bread, buns, for pizza dough, chiabatta and so much more. We even go on holiday taking the culture with us to bake fresh bread.

Shipping is with overnight courier (without signature, by NZ post) on the next Monday following the order. So orders need to be placed by Sunday noon to be sent on the coming Monday. Please select rural delivery if you supply us with a rural address. We won't send the sourdough starter if the rural fee has not been paid. If you are unsure if you live at a rural address please check your address here: https://www.nzpost.co.nz/tools/address-postcode-finder

Your starter arrives at 60% hydration, that means it is kept more dry than usual for shipping so that it doesn’t get overly bubbly and explodes during transport. Once you get your starter, transfer the starter to a 250ml or 500ml glass jar and add 50ml unchlorinated, unfluoridated water. Stir with a fork until you get a very wet paste.

Now add 30g RYE flour (and this has the be 100% rye!) and beat them together vigorously with a fork, taking care to fully aerate the starter. Only use rye flour to keep your starter at 100% rye flour with no other flours added to it. You can of course bake bread with all sorts of flour, but keep the starter clean. It has grown on rye flour and the microbial communtiy and yeasts are adapted to the rye flour and its particular nutrients. Therefore it stays strong and active and produces great bread.

Seal the jar and leave the starter at room temperature. You should see bubbles forming and the starter should increase in volume. Once it is nice and active (5-12 hours) and has doubled in volume it is ready to use.

You need to refresh your starter once a week if you don’t have time to use it to bake bread. When you bake bread the starter is refreshed anyways before going back into the fridge.

While you wait for your starter to arrive you can start buying the flour (rye for feeding the starter and wheat and/or spelt and other flours for the loaf) and gather your equipment (see below).

Good luck and happy baking!

Sourdough Baking Ingredients and Equipment

Sourdough bread requires only flour, water, salt and the starter culture. As you feel more and more comfortable baking, and want to move beyond basic sourdough bread to adding other ingredients like nuts, seeds, cheeses or herbs, you can. But right now we’re focused on making artisan-style, plain sourdough bread.



Flour: You will need grain-based flour (no almond or coconut flour here!). You need rye flour to feed the starter. For baking the loaf bread flour, all-purpose wheat flour, spelt flour and rye all make great choices.

Water: To feed your starter you should use unchlorinated, fluoride free water. The additives in town water can make it difficult for the wild bacteria and yeasts in your starter to make great bread. You can buy a water filter or allow your water to sit out.

Salt: Salt helps to strengthen the protein bonds that help bread rise effectively and it provides a base for and an amplification of flavor. I like to use unrefined sea salt. Iodized table salt can have a tinny, faintly metallic taste, and unrefined sea salt includes a wide variety of trace minerals.

Starter Culture like our Rye Sourdough Starter



BASIC (and not so basic) EQUIPMENT

In order to make sourdough bread, you’ll need to pick up some basic equipment. Some of it, you can’t do with out – like a jar for your starter and mixing bowls. Other equipment, like a grain mill for making freshly ground flour or a cast iron insert that helps you capture steam while baking, can take your baking to the next level and help you produce *amazing* bread, but you can still bake good bread without them.

Glass Jar: You’ll need a jar or crock in which to store your sourdough. A Fido jar with a strong seal works really well to store sourdough, and to prevent it from drying out. Your jar should be at least twice as big as the volume of your starter. So aim for at least a quart-sized jar. You can also use mason jars, if you like.

A Dough Whisk or Wooden Spoon: You’ll need to vigorously incorporate flour, water and starter together, and one of the best ways to do that is with a dough whisk.

Mixing Bowls with Tight-fitting Lids: Mixing bowls help you mix your dough, and they give it a place to rise. With tight-fitting lids, your dough won’t dry out! You can also use a beeswax wrap to cover the bowl.

Kitchen Scale: For consistent results, you’ll want to weigh your ingredients both when you feed your starter and when you bake bread. The recipe we provide has exact measurements in grams, so a scale is a must.

Proofing Baskets (Banetton) and Linens: Proofing baskets and linens help your bread to keep its shape while it rises. Since we’re working with relatively high-hydration artisan-style breads, a proofing basket is an essential tool. You can also use a stainless steel bowl and a clean tea towel to start with.

Fourneau Oven: In order to develop a beautiful crisp crust, and a lofty and airy crumb, you need to bake with steam and to keep an even temperature while baking. I recommend a cast iron insert like the Fourneau because it achieves particularly good results. It’s an investment for people who are really committed to baking good bread. I don’t use this tool and still get great bead using a lined baking tray. I add 1/6 cup water to the base in the oven before putting the bread in to get that steam.

Grain Mill: There is nothing like real sourdough bread prepared from freshly milled grains. If you’re looking to take your baking to the next level and bake truly nutritious, amazing whole grain breads, a grain mill is valuable.

A Lame: A lame is a wooden tool equipped with a razor blade that helps you to score bread precisely and effectively. Using a lame is how artisan breads get such gorgeous patterns, and it also prevents them from tearing when they rise during baking. A lame produces the best results, but you can also score bread with a serrated knife.

IngredientsRye, water, natural yeast and lactobacilli

Great starter and service

I purchased my starter with instructions which was great! Cornelia was very patient with me after emailing her many times with questions. Recommend you purchase the instructions if you are a beginner. My first ever sourdough loaf turned out amazing.


    Sourdough starter

    I bought my starter a while ago. I don't bake often as it's mostly only myself and my husband. I have just baked my 5th loaf. The quality of the loaves have improved each time I've made one, as I get used to the process. The flavor is excellent and my daughter who is currently staying with us is very impressed. I found the instructions a necessity and I would recommend buying them if you are a first time sourdough baker. Baking sourdough is time consuming but the result well worth it.


      Excellent instructions!

      I bought the instructions with the starter because I am a beginner. The instructions are well structured , very clear and easy to follow. My first bread was airy inside and had a nice crust. The taste was great. I will add some seeds next time and maybe a little bit more flour because the dough was a bit soft when shaping it.


        Healthy starter!

        I have baked sourdough bread a lot 10 years ago and now have found time in my life to get back into it. This is a great starter and the resulting bread is nice and soft inside with lots of yeast activity present (holes, airy). The crust is divine and the flavour excellent.


          sourdough starter

          paid the $10 so didn't get full instructions, I have little info such as how to bake a loaf using the starter, would appreciate some instruction as i'm a learner

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