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Sourdough Starter

Ratings 4.8 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 4 mins Total Time: 168 hrs 4 mins
Servings 1

Learn how to create your very own sourdough starter in just a matter of days with this easy-to-follow guide. With minimal ingredients and a little patience, you’ll soon have a lively sourdough companion ready to elevate your bread and baking adventures.

  • 60 grams Whole Wheat Flour
  • 5 pounds Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour
  • Warm Water (About 75-85° F)
    Day 1
  1. Combine 60g of whole wheat flour and 60g of warm water (appx. 75-85°) in your container of choice and mix with a fork to an even consistency.

    Your starter should be thick and pasty. If it's too soupy, sprinkle in more flour. If it's a dry lump, add a bit more water.
  2. Seal the lid and place your starter in a spot with temperatures appx. 75-80°.

    A Sourdough HomeProofing Mat or Proofing Box comes in handy if your house is colder. In a pinch, you can place your starter in the microwave with the door cracked (so the light stays on) or in the oven with the oven light turned on.

    If storing your starter in the oven, make sure to put a Post-It note on the controls to avoid preheating your oven with the starter inside.
  3. Day 2
  4. Check to see if any bubbles have appeared in the starter. If not, don't worry. They may have disappeared overnight.

  5. Place the starter back in its warm location.

  6. TIP:
  7. You may see an unappealing dark liquid on top of your starter. This is called "hooch." It may smell like a combination of rubbing alcohol and "worn gym socks," but it's nothing to worry about. Hooch is a sign that your starter needs to be fed. Don't make any sudden moves. When you make subsequent feedings, you can either pour it off or stir it back into your starter based on your personal preference.

  8. Day 3
  9. Remove and discard half of your starter, leaving yourself with approximately 60g. 

    Wait until your starter is active before saving your discard. Under no circumstances should you pour your discard down the sink as it will harden in your pipes.
  10. Add 60g of your white all-purpose flour and 60g of warm water to your starter. Feeding should always be a 1:1:1 ratio - equal amounts of starter, flour and water. Mix it up with a fork until you have a smooth consistency.

    At this point, your starter should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter. If it's too thin and watery, add more flour. If it's too thick, add more water.
  11. Days 4, 5 & 6
  12. Continue discarding half and feeding at a 1:1:1 ratio.

    You should be starting to see your starter rise with bubbles in and on the surface. The ideal time to feed is when you see your starter fall. Add a rubber band or piece of tape around your jar to track how much it rises.
  13. Day 7
  14. At this point, your starter should be doubling in size with plenty of large and small bubbles and should smell pleasant, like a brewery or robust red wine.

    If your starter isn't doubling at this point, just give it more time. External factors can cause the process to take up to two weeks or more.
  15. (Optional) Transfer your starter to a new, clean jar.

  16. If you want to avoid baking bad luck, make sure to name your starter... preferably with a bread or yeast pun.

  17. Ongoing Care & Maintenence
  18. Storing your Starter

    If you're baking a few times a week or more, storing your starter at room temperature is best. Starters at room temperature must be fed once to twice daily.

    If you're not baking as regularly, store your starter in the refrigerator. Starters in the fridge only need to be fed approximately once a week. When ready to bake, give your starter a room-temperature feeding.

  19. Feeding & Discarding

    Continue discarding (to keep your container from overflowing) and feeding at a 1:1:1 ratio. If you're baking regularly, you may not have to discard as often.

    After your starter is active, make sure to save your starter in another mason jar or clean pickle jar and store in the fridge for some fantastic sourdough discard recipes.