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How to make a Sourdough Starter

I’ve been using sourdough starter for bread baking for many years now. Around a decade! So, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I have also started many different starters throughout the years simply because it’s a hobby for me. So, let me show you how to make a sourdough starter!

Making a sourdough starter is incredibly easy and only requires flour, water, air, and patience. And, once you get your starter established, it can last for generations! (In case you haven’t noticed, I am really into things that last a lifetime).

Active Sourdough Starter

You can use any flour as long as it is unbleached. You can use whole wheat, all purpose (unbleached), freshly ground, Einkorn, Kamut, you get the idea ha ha!

On the first day, just add 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of filtered water to a pint sized mason jar and mix well. Cover with a coffee filter and put a rubber band around it. I wrap mine in a dark kitchen towel and place in a dark place in my pantry or corner counter. Leave it there for at least 24 hours.

The next day, add another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup. As before, mix well, cover and leave it for at least 24 hours.

By the 3rd day, mine was already showing great activity. Full of bubbles and smelling good! On this day, you need to discard 1/4 cup and proceed to feed the same as the days before.

Great Activity

Now on day 4, you should see quite a bit of activity, so, do the same as day 3. Discard, add flour and water, cover, and store away for one more day.

Okay on day 5 things will change. We will transfer the starter to a quart jar and add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour, mix well, cover and sit on the counter. Note the time and make a mark on the jar with a sharpee or some tape of where the starter comes to on the jar. If your starter doubles within 12 hours, CONGRATULATIONS! You made a sourdough starter!

You can start using your starter, however, it may take time and many feedings to be able to get great results making artisan bread, but, you are well on your way!

Chocolate Artisan Sourdough Bread

In a soon to come blog post, we will explore a few recipes you can start using your starter in while you wait for it to mature enough to make a beautiful loaf of bread!

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Hope this was helpful and inspiring for you to start your sourdough starter! Click below for a video tutorial!

See you soon!

sourdough starter bubbling in a glass jar

How to make a Sourdough Starter

Yield: 1 Sourdough Starter
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 10 minutes

Making a sourdough starter is incredibly easy and only requires flour, water, air, and patience. And, once you get your starter established, it can last for generations! (In case you haven’t noticed, I am really into things that last a lifetime).

Materials

  • Flour (unbleached all purpose, whole wheat, rye, or freshly milled)
  • Filtered water

Tools

  • 1 mason jar
  • flour
  • filtered water
  • loose fitting lid or coffee filter
  • spoon or fork for stirring

Instructions

    On the first day, just add 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of filtered water to a pint sized mason jar and mix well. Cover with a coffee filter and put a rubber band around it. I wrap mine in a dark kitchen towel and place in a dark place in my pantry or corner counter. Leave it there for at least 24 hours.

    The next day, add another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup. As before, mix well, cover and leave it for at least 24 hours.

    By the 3rd day, mine was already showing great activity. Full of bubbles and smelling good! On this day, you need to discard 1/4 cup and proceed to feed the same as the days before.

    Now on day 4, you should see quite a bit of activity, so, do the same as day 3. Discard, add flour and water, cover, and store away for one more day.

    Okay on day 5 things will change. We will transfer the starter to a quart jar and add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour, mix well, cover and sit on the counter. Note the time and make a mark on the jar with a sharpee or some tape of where the starter comes to on the jar. If your starter doubles within 12 hours, CONGRATULATIONS! You made a sourdough starter!

Notes

You can start using your starter, however, it may take time and many feedings to be able to get great results making artisan bread, but, you are well on your way!

Did you make this project?

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for instructions on starter. I was looking to do the hit dog buns and was like Sourdough starter, your website search was extra easy to find it.(some dont

    Melissa Ray Keene(Chester Keene’s wife)

  2. After I take 1/2 cup out of the starter to make bread, what recipe do I go by to feed my starter? The 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water?

    1. You can as long as there is less than 1/2 cup starter left in the jar. I usually feed mine 1 cup flour, 1 cup water and that lasts me all week for my recipes. You can feed your starter any amount you want depending on how often you are going to use it. As long as you feed it at least how much there is in the jar.

  3. Hi! I am new to your information sites, so glad that I came across it all. (via YouTube)
    I am new and trying to learn the sourdough baking thing. I am not new to baking or cooking – but this! Oh my word! I so appreciate your videos and the “easy, not stressful” methods that you use. But I’m stressed! My end goal is to make bread – at this point I am confused on what do I do after day 5. (I am only on day 2 so far… hoping I make it to day 5 on my first attempt) I understand it goes into the fridge, but how often do I feed it and how long until it is ready for bread baking? How do I know!?!!? 🙂 Thank you so much!!

  4. ” If your starter doubles within 12 hours, CONGRATULATIONS! You made a sourdough starter!
    You can start using your starter, however, it may take time and many feedings to be able to get great results making artisan bread, but, you are well on your way!”

    I’ve started the process – but confused at this point. My end goal is to make the artisan bread – how do I know when? And how?

    Thank you –

    1. I always recommend using the starter for recipes like biscuits, pancakes, and such for a week or so then you can try an artisan loaf. Some people have had great success with using it right away! Just keep in mind, the younger the starter the longer it will take to proof and the bread will be a bit dense at first. But every loaf will get better and better.

      1. Thank you for the response and the help. Apologies for the repeat question – I thought the first one didn’t go through.

  5. Hello! Thank you for your wonderful video. What do I do if my starter isn’t doubling on the 5th day? What’s next?

  6. Thank you for sharing this simple to follow recipe! I’m on the last step but for some reason the starter hasn’t doubled by the next day. What does this mean? Should I let it continue staying on the counter?

  7. Hello Mary,
    I’m new and a novice to making bread. I love the ease and simplicity of your recipes. Your method of sourdough starter and maintenance seems attainable for me since I work 12 hour shifts. I may not have time to use the discard that day. How do you store the discard to use on a later date?
    ~Colleen

  8. Hello! 👋🏻 I’m excited to get started. I am a little confused about Day 5. If my starter doubles within the 12 hours, do I take out a 1/2 cup discard and then place in refrigerator? Then start the process of feeding 1-2 x a week? If my starter on day 5 has not doubled, what do I do?

    1. If it gets very active and bubbly, even if it doesn’t technically double, just put it in the fridge. You can use the starter straight from the fridge and feed it when the jar gets low. I feed mine once a week usually. I will take the jar out of the fridge, feed it 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup water and let it start getting bubbly. Then I put it back in the fridge for the week and use it straight from there. Hope that helps!

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