7 Oldest Sourdough Starter In The World [Believe It or Not!]

Published Categorized as Sourdough Starter

We all know that sourdough starters can be preserved for years. But have you ever come across the oldest sourdough starter? I don’t mean a 4-year-old sourdough starter, I mean a 100-year-old sourdough starter, that is still alive! Here are some of the oldest sourdough starters in the world, you won’t believe your eyes!

7 oldest sourdough starter in the world [believe it or not! ]

Table of Contents

Mature Starter vs Old Sourdough Starter

As the starter matures with frequent feedings, it’s ready to bake sourdough bread. The more you feed and maintain your sourdough starter, the more it matures, until it eventually hits a peak.

A 12 month old starter, is almost as good as a 100 year old starter.

The type of flour used in the starter can heavily impact the microbes and yeast colonies that thrive within the starter. So if you want to keep your starter going for 100 years, you must feed it with the same flour and water, without changing its food routine. In other words, consistency is the best policy.

Can A Starter Be Over 100 Years Old?

Yes, it certainly can!

Perhaps the starter is from a bakery that has been continuously feeding their starter for 100 years or more.

Perhaps someone had decided to dry their sourdough starter a long time ago, and kept it nice and dry.

Just imagine, dehydrating your sourdough starter, and keeping it for someone else to find 100 years later. Crazy, but not impossible!

Although having a sourdough starter that is over 100 years old is very possible, the sourdough starters that exist today won’t be the same as the ones that had started over a century ago.

A sourdough starter is a live culture that is made up of natural yeasts and bacteria. These yeasts and bacteria respond to flour, temperature, time, and the environment they’re kept in.

Meaning that a sourdough starter from 100 years ago would have changed and responded to the environment it was maintained in.

7 oldest sourdough starter in the world [believe it or not! ]

The 7 Oldest Sourdough Starters

While your sourdough starter may have lived for 2 years, somewhere in the world there are starters that are hundreds of years old!

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing, yet ancient sourdough starters!

100-Year-Old Montana Dough

This incredible sourdough starter was created 100 years ago. Much like any starter it was used to make sourdough biscuits, but over an open flame, in rural Montana. This sourdough starter has been passed down for generations, and of course used in sourdough baking to this day.

We can only wonder what type of flavorful bread an ancient starter like this one could make!

100-Year-Old Alaskan Dough

This century-old starter originates from Alaska, and has a wheat base for those health-conscious bread lovers. A starter like this one wasn’t only used to make bread. In fact, home bakers used this ancient starter to make scrumptious pancakes, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, and cornbread!

100-Year-Old San Francisco Sour

This 100-year old San Francisco sourdough starter is expressed as incredibly tangy, and sour.

The best part is, it’s caffeine-free, dye-free, egg-free, fat-free, and gelatin-free, so if you’re gluten intolerant, then this might be the one for you!

Making sourdough bread with an ancient starter might just be the best thing any baker could do. The more mature the starter, the tastier the sourdough bread. And when it comes to San Fran sourdough bread, we already know that the flavors are popping!

233-Year-Old San Francisco Heirloom

This 233-year elf sourdough starter is called Bodie. The current owner of this starter is a 92-year old mother of two, who had taken care of this sourdough starter as if it were one of her children.

The original owner of the starter launched a bakery in San Francisco in 1850, and had been caring for the starter 40 years preceding to the opening of the bakery.

400-Year-Old Bavarian Black Death

This incredibly old sourdough starter has connections from the southernmost part of Germany. Though the exact history of its origin might be a tad inaccurate, the story goes that the sourdough starter had began around 1633 in a town called Oberammergau.

It has been passed down through many generations, though never leaving the hands of the family.

1000-Year-Old Wales Sourdough Starter

This sourdough starter, much like the other ancient starters on this list is a family heirloom.

Blooming with both wheat and rye grains, this Welsh starter can satiate any beginners looking to create an ancient form of sourdough bread, with the help of ancient humans magical starter.

Just think of what that sourdough starter had lived through, it’s simply unreal!

4500-Year-Old Egyptian Yeast

And if you thought the Welsh starter was the oldest starter wait till you’ve taken a look at this one. Originating from ancient Egypt, this is probably one of the oldest starters to date.

Brimming with sweet and rich flavors, these 4500-year-old yeast microbes have certainly been busy!

7 oldest sourdough starter in the world [believe it or not! ]

How To Bake With An Ancient Sourdough Starter

Baking with an old sourdough starter isn’t any different than baking with a mature 2-3 year old sourdough starter. Providing that the starter has been fed and well maintained, you can make anything you like with it. Depending on where the starter originated from, and spent most of its life, you’ll get to detect brand new flavors and textures from your baked goods.

Personally, I’d love to get my hands on the oldest sourdough starter, simply because of the living organism that has thrived for so long! Picture a loaf of sourdough bread made from a sourdough starter, that had once sat in the clay pots of ancient Egypt. Unreal!

Baking with an ancient sourdough starter doesn’t require anything out of the ordinary. Depending on what you intend to bake, you’ll need the starter, flour, water, and any additional ingredients for the bake. You’ll also notice complex flavors, that you may love or hate depending on the taste.

Ancient Sourdough Starters For The Win!

If the idea of ancient sourdough starters excite you, then perhaps it’s time to plan ahead. If you adore your own starter, then you could easily pass that little bad boy down to the next generation. Just make sure that you’re taking very good care of it!


Can A Sourdough Starter Last 100 Years?

Yes it certainly can. Sourdough bakers, like to preserve their sourdough starters, which enables them to remain alive for hundreds of years.

Can You Keep A Sourdough Starter Alive Forever?

Why not? With the oldest sourdough starter being around for over four and a half centuries, there’s no telling how much longer it will survive for.

How Old Is The Oldest Sourdough Starter Dough?

The oldest sourdough starter is 4500 years old.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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