Stop guessing when you're ready to bake! Breadwinner takes the guessing out of gluten by alerting you when your sourdough starter is at its peak.
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Breadwinner knows when your sourdough starter is ready to use by learning how it grows and alerting you when it’s at peak activity.

The single biggest improvement you can make as a sourdough baker is knowing how and when your starter is ready to be incorporated into your dough. Breadwinner lets you stop guessing when your starter is ready: it monitors growth after each feeding and sends you a notification when your starter is ready to go.

Sourdough starters are mysterious colonies of microbes evolved to help humans bake the tastiest bread on Earth, but starters can be stubborn and mercurial. Many aspiring bakers give up after loaf after loaf of dense, inedible pucks and sour, overproofed puddles. There’s nothing so satisfying as the first slice from a fresh homemade boule, but the recipe for success is not simple - there are myriad mysterious and delicate factors in play with every bake.

We set out to solve this with Breadwinner.


Go Deeper with Dough Data

Home baking is an adventure, but you don’t have to go without a guide. You can’t change what you don’t measure, so the Breadwinner website makes it easy to log notes on every feeding, recipe, and bake, helping you remember what worked, and what didn’t. On the site you can record as much or as little about each bake as you like, and collaborate with other bakers to debug a recipe or perfect a proofing schedule.

The growth curve of your yeast can vary a lot – everything from the type of flour, the amount of water you use, and your kitchen's temperature will affect how your starter metabolizes. 

Breadwinner is the only way to measure it accurately.

Each time you feed your starter, Breadwinner automatically records all the relevant environmental information and makes it easy to review, so you can track its progress and figure out what is working.

"As a data-driven person in my professional and baking life, Breadwinner has been a godsend. I’m no longer guessing about the health of my starter, and I feel more confident about its ability to perform and know what to expect when using it in recipes." - Chantle Swichkow, PhD Yeast Genetics Researcher at UCLA 

You can also record notes for each feeding, such as the type of flour you used, or other things you're experimenting with.

This should let you quickly home in on your ideal baking routine: do you prefer a low-engagement, slow-fermenting approach where the bread comes together over a few days, or a fast-paced weekend morning of productive baking? Knowing how to change your starter technique will help you plan for (and enjoy more) delicious bakes.

Breadwinner is also the only place on the web aggregating data across thousands of different starters. We’re so excited to dig in deep and refine our collective understanding of yeast and bacteria with your help and data.


How You Use Breadwinner

And using Breadwinner is simple - click the top of Breadwinner when you complete a feeding, and you'll be notified when it's at peak activity.

Breadwinner sits on a standard mason jar for your sourdough starter that keeps track of how it’s growing. The guts of Breadwinner are pretty simple – inside the lid are a couple of battery powered sensors that measure height and temperature, and some lights to alert you when it’s ready. Each time you feed your starter, Breadwinner seamlessly syncs with the cloud to record your starter’s behavior over the course of 36 hours. 

Once your starter hits peak fermentation, Breadwinner lets you know it’s time to start making your dough, and gives you a precise measurement of how long it took (e.g. "Your starter took 9 hours and 32 minutes to reach its peak.")

By crunching all these numbers behind the scene for you, Breadwinner takes the guesswork out of gluten.

Breadwinner might seem really nerdy, but it’s actually the perfect beginner’s tool. We built this to help you nurture, coax, and cultivate your starter from scratch so you can get the most out of your time in the kitchen. 

Along with its gently glowing light-up lid, Breadwinner will send you an SMS, email, or browser notification with how long it took to rise.

You can then use that information to determine how long to let your dough proof.

For less-than-daily bread bakers, we designed Breadwinner so that it can easily go in the fridge between uses - just leave the electronics outside and cover the rest of the jar with a standard Mason jar cover or yogurt lid.


Know how your kitchen affects your bakes

Time and temperature are deceptively simple variables in any bake; we’ve found in our testing that Breadwinner helps you quickly build a solid intuition around how to tune your starter for fast rises, deeper flavor, and more consistent results.

Even better, Breadwinner will automatically let you know if your starter gets too hot or too cold!

Knowing something as simple as “leaving my starter by the window means it’ll take 90 fewer minutes to rise” can be the difference between a stress-free baking Saturday and a frustrating failure.

Homemade is healthier

Anytime you can make a home-cooked meal, you’re ahead of the game when it comes to healthy choices and wholesome ingredients. Making baking an easy, fun part of your home-cooking routine is one of the most satisfying parts of working with Breadwinner. But don't take our word for it! Benefits of baking your own bread at home (especially sourdoughs) include:

  • How Sourdoughs can fit into a FODMAP diet (and a related explainer)
  • How to make gluten-free sourdough breads
  • High-fiber foods can lower your cholesterol
  • Homemade bread delivers lots of nutrients and can lower blood sugar
  • Here's another WebMD article that's basically an ad for sourdough
  • And of course, people eating delicious foods, especially fermented ones, are in a better mood

...the list goes on! But if you're already at this part of the page, we are guessing you are not in need of more convincing that delicious breads deserve a place on your plate.

Pledge Levels

Like freshly baked bread, we are going to keep things simple when it comes to what you get. 

Here's what's in the box when you pledge $125:

  • The Breadwinner Device
  • 4x AA Batteries 
  • Logo-free 16oz mason jar
  • Quick start guide

That's it. 

Need a starter? (Our only Add-On)

Are you interested in sourdough but don't know where to start when it comes to getting your hands on a starter?

Add on a sample of Fred's starter Breadberry for $10. 

He'll send you a dehydrated version with instructions on how to revive it.

The Breadwinner Community: A Social Network for Yeast

Your Breadwinner automatically connects to your profile on, a community for and by bakers to log their bakes and tout their loaves.

On Breadwinner, your starter has a home where you can show off its performance, past bakes, and stats.

The Breadwinner community is already thriving and ready for you to sign up today, even if you don’t yet have your device.

It's also the perfect place to ask for help, since we can all see how your starter was doing before it went into the oven. 

It's also a place to share your bakes, get feedback, and discover new recipes. 


What Breadwinner users are saying

As we've gotten closer to launch, we've been able to get some preview units out into the world and into baker's hands.

Here's a sample of what they've been telling us about Breadwinner:

“As a yeast genetics researcher at UCLA, the Breadwinner technology is valuable in its ability to quantify growth and rise rates of diverse sourdough microbiomes!” - Chantle Swichkow, PhD Yeast Genetics Researcher at UCLA 

“Very few IoT devices make me as happy as my Breadwinner. It’s like my sourdough starter has a brain and can tell me when it’s excited to get to work!” - Avidan Ross, Founder @

“Sourdough starter can seem, at first, like alchemy, witchcraft and luck all rolled into one. Breadwinner changes all of that. If you love science, Breadwinner has got you. If you love data, same thing. And if you’ve ever had a Tamagotchi then this is right up your alley. The final design is pure magic.” - Dallas Roberts, Breadwinner Beta User
“I love comparing the difference in rise and time-to-peak across different flours, and the dashboard makes it easy to visualize those data, for myself and other bakers who like to geek out over microbial ecology.” – Erin McKenney, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs, NCSU



We're partnering with ShipMonk to distribute Breadwinner all across the world. 

Here roughly how the shipping costs will break down:

  • Domestic 2-3 Day US: $15
  • International: $20


We're feeling good in terms of our timeline – production is slated to begin soon, with units shipping by the end of May 2023.

  • March 15th: Campaign Ends
  • Mid-February: Production Completes
  • March through May: Sea Freight Shipping
  • Estimated Delivery to backers: Late May


Baking Breadwinner

We've built and tested dozens of different versions of Breadwinner over the years.

Here are some of the photos of the earliest prototypes Fred and Sarah built in early 2020 and then boxes of beta units that we sold in 2021:

Once we settled on some of the fundamentals, we switched to focusing on the LED and industrial design with Ravi:


Our Team & Collaborators

Fred Benenson

Fred was the second employee at Kickstarter and their VP of Data. He's also worked at Y Combinator, Creative Commons and taught at NYU.

Fred began baking sourdough in 2009 after taking a class at Brooklyn Kitchen and achieved middling success but was stymied by his starter’s sluggishness and confused by its true character.

A decade later, when life presented an opportunity and ample time at home, he dove head first into relearning the timeless art of sourdough. Like any self-respecting data scientist, he began with a spreadsheet (now affectionately referred to as “The Breadsheet”) and started baking with a starter gifted from a friend in Oakland. 

Inspired by a number of DIY fermentation experiments popping online in late 2019, he began asking himself, what would a hardware-enabled social network for yeast look like? By early 2020, he had developed the first Breadwinner prototype, and since then he’s been working to make Breadwinner a reality while baking the best bread of his life.

Noah Feehan

Noah has been baking with sourdough for about 7 years. His go-to recipe is an original creation, evolved from mis-remembering the Ken Forkish recipe enough times to merit its own name. Professionally, Noah works with artists and R&D groups to integrate new technologies into their works. From UX for early IoT companies to closed-loop fermentation systems for deep space missions, his involvement usually focuses on prototyping and implementation strategies. Noah’s excited to work with Breadwinner to take a simple, easy-to-use device to a market that can really use it!

Our Collaborators

Thank you to Sarah Pavis for being the mechanical engineer that brought Breadwinner first to life, and then for building all our beta units. And to Eric Migicovsky and Star Simpson for all the caring and encouraging advice that set Fred on the right track. To Elizabeth Goodspeed for masterminding the Breadwinner brand, design, and identity. To everyone at Cloud City especially Brandon for our web design, and Sid and Cain for bringing some real engineering to our backend. To Daniel Rome for researching all of our awesome recipes. To Ravi Varma for Breadwinner’s industrial Design. And Daniel Giesbrecht for Breadwinner's PCB design. Breadwinner wouldn't be real if it weren't for Michael Siegel of Zartarian Engineering taking Fred’s attempt at firmware and making it real. To Fn’A for producing our wonderful video, and to Alex and Jataun, our actors. And finally to Doris Dev for showing us how a product can go from prototype to production.


Risks & Challenges

We know crowdfunding really well

Fred and Noah met while working at Kickstarter and hanging out on the #fermentation Slack channel. Our combined years of experience behind the scenes at Kickstarter mean we’ve seen just about every hitch, hiccup, and snafu that can occur when fulfilling a project. Both of us are deeply committed to over-delivering on backer value, doing all our homework before we take a single pledge, and consistent communication throughout the manufacturing process.

No stretch goals, no infinite versions! We love variety as much as the next person, but we know that one huge impediment to fast fulfillment of a project is when there are many combinations of rewards and backing levels and stretch goals to unlock. We’re offering one product at one pledge level, and that’s it. Simple!

We are working with pros

We have been partnering with Doris Dev to make sure our product is as polished and professional as can be - that means meeting or exceeding the industry standards for RF performance, material durability and safety, and packaging. They’re also intimately familiar with the ins and outs of contract manufacturing and fulfillment logistics, which are often the hardest parts of bringing a product to its first customers.


We know the kitchen isn’t the most gentle place for electronics, so we’ve gone the extra mile to make sure the lid can survive doughy hands, drops from the countertop, and the occasional over-rising starter. Our recyclable packaging is drop-tested from a frankly ridiculous height, so we’re confident your Breadwinner will arrive intact and ready to go.

OTA capable

Nobody ships a product expecting to need to update it, but to be maximally ready for any future changes or new features, we’re making sure Breadwinner units can receive Over-the-Air firmware updates if needed, without you needing to do anything special.

Email and community support

We’ve all been in a situation where we don’t quite understand how something’s working, or we feel something isn’t working right. Breadwinner is a small team but we’re committed to your success - email us anytime, or use our Discord to get prompt help with whatever’s troubling you.

If you believe that this project is not in compliance with BackerKit’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, you can file a report by sending a message via this link: Report this project