how to make sourdough starter

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you can make delicious, better than the bakery, sourdough bread at home using this easy to follow recipe for sourdough starter

how to make sourdough starter at home

As someone who loves to cook and bake, I hate when I find a recipe that I really want to make and then find out it takes a specialty ingredient to complete. I have no patience for that. Even now with Amazon Prime, an ingredient like sourdough starter is at least a day away.

Years ago I found a recipe in a back issue of Mary Jane’s farm for sourdough bread. As a BIG fan I couldn’t wait to try it. None of the grocery store in my area carried starter, and this was long before Amazon prime. I searched and searched for ways to make the starter on my own. I found a very basic recipe that called for 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water, stir, cover, and feed every day. Easy as pie.

how to make sourdough starter at home

Only, it didn’t work all that well. It could have been my kitchen, or the water and flour I used, but the results we less than thrilling, and on occasion, my starter would die and I’d have to begin again.

Eventually I gave up, but the other day I had a serious craving for sourdough, most likely because I have been off the bread for almost 9 weeks. I found several other ideas for starter and went with a formula from the kitchn.

What you’ll need –

a large glass bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cup for water, a kitchen scale,  a clean towel, rubber band, flour and water

day 1 is when you begin the starter by combining equal parts flour and water, cover your starter with a clean kitchen towel, and secure with the rubber band, leave out at room temperature

by day 2 you should begin to see bubbles forming, and you may even be able to detect a slight sour smell, feed your starter by mixing in  flour and water, cover and let rest

sourdough starter day 2

day 3 and 4, you are going to really notice a sour smell and more bubbles forming, feed the starter the same as in days 1 and 2

sourdough starter day 3-4

by day 5 your starter should be ready to use. it should have grown in size with a very strong sour smell, and when you mix you will notice the starter to be much looser

sourdough starter day 5 - ready to use

once your starter is ready to use, remove enough starter for your recipe – my sourdough bread recipes calls for 1 cup of sourdough starter, then continue to feed and cover until you’re ready to bake again

sourdough starter


  • flour
  • water


  • in a large glass bowl combine 4 ounces of flour with 4 ounces of water stir so that you do not have any dry flour visible
  • cover the bowl with a clean lightweight kitchen towel, secure with a rubberband and set in a warm spot (about 70 degrees)
  • day 2 - add 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water to your starter stir to blend well, and cover
  • repeat for days 3 and 4
  • day 5 your starter should be ready to use;  remove 1 cup of starter for recipe (or discard) and feed remaining starter with 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water (this will become day 1)
  • repeat days 2,3,4,5

i try to always feed my starter at the same time every day, and if you are not going to be using it every 5 days or so, simply discard 1 cup of starter on day 5 and continue to feed it.

5 days may seem like a long time to wait but I really love checking my starter every morning to see how it’s doing, and by the time we finish a loaf the starter is ready for me to bake another.

**if your starter isn’t quite ready on day 5, simply feed as you did days 2,3, and 4 and check again on day 6. if you still don’t have a starter that is ready to use you may need to discard and start again.


how to make sourdough starter at home