Sourdough Starter Recipe

“Beginner-friendly 7-day homemade sourdough starter with simple ingredients. Fast. Easy. With minimum discard. All you need: flour, water, and a little bit of love and patience.”

Jar with a Sourdough Starter

Oh, that sourdough bread. The taste, the flavor, the crunch!

As a beginner, have you ever found yourself thinking that there is a “right” sourdough bread? Beautiful, with a golden crunchy crust, “perfect lip”, and of course nice big holes.

Have you thought the bread you are making at home isn't that perfect yet? Sometimes too flat, with some burned bottoms, and the dough isn't rising for some reason… I think we all have such feelings at some point.

Personally, many years ago I considered baking “right” artisan sourdough bread at home as a complete rocket science. I thought that only special ones get devoted to it and I hardly ever bake tasty sourdough loaf myself.

With a little bit of practice and experimenting on a weekly basis, sometimes more often than that - I realized that baking sourdough bread is 1/4 of science and 3/4 of love, curiosity, and dedication!

I took it as a journey. Still, this is a very exciting, magical journey where I get to learn something new every time I bake.

WHAT IS THE SOURDOUGH STARTER?

Every sourdough bread making process is hard to be imagined without a sourdough starter. It's also known as levain. It is cultured or fermented highly hydrated dough containing a ‘wild yeast’.

In this article I would like to share with you my 7-day homemade sourdough starter with simple ingredients. Fast. Easy. With minimum discard.

All you need is flour, water, and a little bit of patience.

Once you create a homemade sourdough starter, it does not require much maintenance, can be kept forever, and passed through generations. Isn't it amazing?!

You will be stunned at how many delicious things can be baked using this simple culture: pizza dough, pancakes, donuts, banana bread, zucchini bread, and of course crusty sourdough bread. In this post you can find our Sourdough Bread Recipe. So, let's get started.

FEEDING SOURDOUGH STARTER

Feeding your sourdough starter basically means adding a new portion of flour and water to your existing mixture of starter.

Sourdough Starter

STEPS TO MAKE SOURDOUGH STARTER

Tools and Ingredients:

    • Rye flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
    • Filtered water
    • Mason jar or any glass jar you like, bowl or glass
    • Spatula or wooden spoon
    • Kitchen scale

     THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

    Day 1
    In a glass jar mix 30g of filtered water and 45g of flour, loosely close the lid. Leave it in a warm spot, about 85F (28C) for 24 hours.

    Day 2
    You will start seeing some activity in the jar such as small bubbles, increasing in volume, and, rarely, unpleasant smell. Bubbles and volume changes indicate the fermentation process, this is what we want.

    Add 30g of water and 45g of flour to the existing mixture. Mix until all dry flour dissolves. Loosely close the lid. Leave it in a warm spot, about 85F (28C) for another 24 hours.

    Day 3
    You should see some visible activity like bubbles, but this is not necessarily guaranteed. Whether bubbles are visible or not, it is time to start the feeding process again. Today it will look a bit different. You'll need the second jar or a bowl.
    • Take just 20g of ripe starter you made on Day 2 out of the jar. Discard or use what's left in the jar for pancakes or waffles.
    • Mix it with 20g of water and 20g of flour. Put this new mix into a second jar for Day 4. The ratio will look like 1:1:1.
    • Mix well until smooth. Leave it in a warm spot, about 85F (28C) for another 24 hours.
    Now this is going to be your new more mature and stronger starter.

      Day 4
      Repeat the same steps outlined in the Day 3 instructions.

      Day 5 
      Now we can clearly see that our sourdough starter is almost ready,  it doubled in volume and smells nutty.

      From Day 5 to Day 7 you have to feed your starter twice a day (morning and evening) to give it more strength.

      Use the same ratio 1:1:1. Add 20g of water and 20g of flour to 20g of your ripe starter. Mix until smooth. Leave it in a warm spot, about 85F (28C) for another 24 hours.

      Day 6, Day 7
      Follow the steps outlined in Day 5 step. Don’t forget to feed your starter twice daily.

      Day 8
      Here you go! Your homemade sourdough starter is ready! 

      Continue to feed it twice daily with ratio 1:2:2 (10g of starter: 20g of flour: 20g of water).

      Depending on the activity of your starter and to give it more strength, increase the ratio to 1:3:3 and continue feeding twice daily. 

      Smile and be proud of yourself, you just got a homegrown jar of happiness. Now you can use your starter for all of your baking needs! Don't forget to check out our blog post on banneton proofing baskets and other baking tools.

      COMMON QUESTIONS AND TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER

      • Liquid on the surface of the sourdough starter (also known as “hooch”)

      It is completely normal. This liquid is a naturally occurring alcohol which indicates that your starter hasn't been fed in a while and hungry. Give it a stir and add more food (flour and water mix)

      • Sourdough starter is not rising

      This is the most commonly asked question. The problem can lay in your room temperature (too cold) or low-quality flour. To avoid this issue select unbleached flour and always monitor room temperature, leaving your starter in the warm kitchen place. It can be a cabinet next to your oven.

      • Sourdough starter is rising too fast

      This is a very good sign. However, it can also be an indicator that your room temperature is a bit higher or your feeding portions are too generous. Simply transfer it to a bigger jar and try to add less flour and water.

      • What flour is the best to make sourdough starter?

      I would say just test and experiment. My personal preference is always to use only unbleached flour with no additives. Vitamin and mineral enriched flour is okay to use. It shouldn’t be necessarily organic. Note: feed your starter with the type of flour it is made from. In other words, wheat starter - feed it with wheat flour, rye starter - feed it with rye flour.

      • Mold 

      While getting mold in your sourdough starter is fairly rare, it still happens. This might be a sign of a stale flour or mold spores contamination.

      You will need to replace the flour. To fix the existing sourdough starter, remove all moldy parts from the surface, and transfer your starter to a clean glass jar.

      Note: use only baking soda to clean your jars. It will reduce the risk of soap contamination. Now feed your sourdough starter in proportion 1:2:2. These steps should fix your problem.

      Happy baking friends!

      8 comments

      I would like to start making sourdough but is there a kit that I can buy to get my 1st starter going or just wrk through your direction
      Cheers
      Vicki

      Vicki Cronin February 05, 2021

      Is it possible to use almond flour to make your starter Trying to do keto

      Donna February 05, 2021

      Hello Jean, welcome to our friendly baking community! 🤗 Thank you for your comment. We have fixed that step in our post above. You need to take 20g of ripe starter you made on Day 2 and then mix it with 20g of water and 20g of flour. The ratio will look like 1:1:1. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions. We’ll be happy to help. Happy holidays to you and to your family!🎄

      Ana, Happy Sourdough December 23, 2020

      Hello Marilyn, welcome to our friendly baking community! 🤗 Thank you for your comment. We are glad to hear this post was helpful. Happy holidays to you and to your family! 🎄

      Ana, Happy Sourdough December 23, 2020

      Hello Sharie, welcome to our friendly baking community! Thank you for your comment. 🤗 Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and to your family! 🎄

      Ana, Happy Sourdough December 23, 2020

      When you start the 1:1:1ratio, what us the “ripe starter”? Says re iOS only requires flour abd water, so where do you get “ripe starter” from?

      Jean Monefeldt December 23, 2020

      Thank you so much for this info! Merry Christmas and happy baking!

      Sharie December 23, 2020

      Nice post. I learned something. Thanks. Mimi

      Marilyn Mason December 23, 2020

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