Sourdough starters – living cultures of bacteria and yeast – are an integral part of baking
Consisting of simply flour, water and salt, a starter is used to create sourdough bread and can be maintained and grown for years.
Ahead of the Great British Bake Off’s return on Tuesday night, this year’s batch of amateur bakers have shared the clever, often hilarious names they have given their prized starters.
Here we run down some of the best.
Self-taught baker Dan, 32, from Rotherham, named his Bread Stark, a cheeky reference to Game Of Thrones character Bran Stark, who used his supernatural powers in the fight against the Night King.
Surrey native and part-time waiter Joe, 20, affectionately refers to his starter as Sherbert.
He said: “My starter dough is called Sherbert and like beer it usually does the yeasty job.”
Tenby-based print shop administrator Michelle, 35, named her starter Fara.
“I was given it a few years ago by a friend and it’s really old,” she said.
“Araf is Welsh for slow, and spells Fara backwards. Fara is also the Welsh word for bread.”
Durham student Henry, 20, grew his from Michelle’s but admits he has failed to look after the culture.
“My starter dough is called Gryff, grown from Michelle’s own starter, but currently he’s looking pretty shabby given that I ran out of flour and couldn’t feed him,” he said.
“Bless him. He’ll pull through.”
Theatre manager and fitness instructor Michael, 26, from Stratford-upon-Avon, also grew his starter from Michelle’s.
He said: “Michelle, one of the other bakers from the tent, shared some of her starter with me – so as a nod to her Welsh roots, my starter is called Gwyneth.
“I’m really enjoying my adventures with Gwyneth and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”
In a reference to one of the greatest international comedy duos, 56-year-old HGV driver Phil, from Rainham, dubbed his two starters Laurel and Hardy.
Veterinary surgeon Rosie, 28, from Somerset, and shop assistant Steph, 28, from Chester, by chance both named their starter Sammy.
The Great British Bake Off is on Channel 4 at 8pm on August 27.