The Sourdough Success Path: Guiding busy home bakers on their sourdough journey (2022)

by Heather

Welcome to The Sourdough Success Path!

We designed The Sourdough Success Path with your success in mind. By following along the path, you will be able to see tangible changes, increases and improvements in your sourdough baking.

Take me straight to the PDF Download!

What is the Sourdough Success Path? Think of it as a map. You start at the beginning, you move along your journey, then you reach your destination. The only difference is, the journey never ends with sourdough! Even if you reach the final step, your journey will only continue to evolve.

If you’re looking to make progress in your journey, the Sourdough Success Path offers you an easy to follow list of milestones to help you identify your current Stage in the journey, as well as action items on how to progress to the next Stage.

Want an a sneak peak of what’s in the Sourdough Success Path?

The Sourdough Success Path helps you look at where you are today in your sourdough journey, and where you’d like to be at the completion of your journey.
The Sourdough Success Path is filled with tangible step-by-step instructions on how to move from Stage to Stage.
It is highly person-specific; customized and tailored to you and your needs.
There is no expected duration of each Stage, which means the pressure is off and you can advance at your own pace.
There are five Stages in total, and each Stage is paired with appropriate Milestones and Action Items to help you get laser-focused.

If you don’t know me, my name is Heather. 👋 I’m the owner of Leavenly, founder of the Sourdough Mamas community, and creator of the Sourdough Success Path. I have a husband and three young kids, but when I began my sourdough journey, I only had three dogs! I can remember wishing for a way to know where to go next, or what else to try, after reaching my sourdough goals. 

Years later, after creating Leavenly and building this incredible community, I wanted to create that “sourdough guide” that I had so wished for years ago. While Leavenly helped empower so many busy home bakers to become Sourdough Mamas and Papas, we were missing a clear path to help guide people along their journey.

Thus, the Sourdough Success Path was born!

People from all over the world are entering the Sourdough Success Path at different Stages. It’s here for those home bakers who have yet to discover the magic of starter, to those that are experimenting with different types of grains. There are five different Stages in the Success Path. John may be an advanced baker who enters at Stage Four, whereas Sarah may be a beginner baker entering at Stage One.

Each Stage is broken down into Milestones to help you identify which Stage you’re in, as well as understand when you’ve reached the next Stage. The Milestones are supplemented with Action Items, a very specific list you can follow that will help you progress along the path and reach the next Stage. You’ll learn a little more about these important pieces of the Sourdough Success Path below!

The Sourdough Success Path is hosted within the Sourdough Mamas community. The Sourdough Mamas community was created as an extension of Leavenly to offer support and inspiration to those on their sourdough journeys. The Sourdough Success Path strengthens the community, giving members a clear guide on how to accelerate their journey, all the while sharing with and supporting their fellow home bakers. The community gives members a chance to ask questions, share their progress, be inspired to keep going despite challenges, share photos, stories, and so much more. The community needs the Sourdough Success Path and the Sourdough Success Path needs the community. Together they are helping transform busy home bakers into Sourdough Mamas.

To access the full Sourdough Success Path, with downloadable PDFs and link to resources, head over and join us on Sourdough Mamas!

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty details of the Sourdough Success Path, and get you started on your journey to amazing sourdough.

Now that you understand the premise of The Sourdough Success Path… What should you do now?

Take a look at the pathway below and decide what Stage you’re at right now. Then, read ahead and decide what Stage you’d like to be at someday. This might not be Stage Five, and that’s okay! You might wish to be in Stage Three, with no desire to reach Stage Four or Five. What’s important is that it works for YOU.

So: Where do you fall in the Sourdough Success Path? Which Stage would you like to set as your goal?

Did you choose your current Stage, as well as your goal Stage? Wonderful!

Now, take a look below for the video about your current Stage. The video will walk you through your specific Stage, the Milestones, and the Action Items.

Remember: The Sourdough Success Path is here to help you achieve success, and the videos will help you get started!

Tip: After you watch the video for your current Stage, scroll down to check out the Milestones and Action Items for your Stage.

Stage One

Stage One is all about Preparing. You haven’t baked yet, you don’t have a starter yet, but you know you’re interested and you’re gathering information. Welcome to the addiction! Your Action Items in Stage One are all about learning, learning, learning. 

This is a brand new journey for you, and we’re so excited to be here alongside you! In the Preparing Stage, you’ll work on finding a great sourdough recipe that works for you, you’ll start to collect all the new kitchen tools you might need, you’ll begin to learn about the science of sourdough and fermentation, and you’ll start to have a basic understanding of hydration.

Stage Two

Stage Two is called Starting, and revolves all around your sourdough starter. Do you have one? Do you know how to make one? Do you know how to feed one? The Action Items in Stage Two are starter-focused to help you move up to Stage Three.

In Starting, you are focused entirely on your starter. It already has a consistent and reliable rise and fall, you’ve found a comfortable schedule for feeding, you understand which feeding ratio works best for your starter, it will pass the float test, and you have already dried starter as back-up.

Stage Three

Stage Three is Practicing, and this is where the baking begins! In this Stage, you’ll build a leaven, do a float test, bake your first loaves, and more. Your Action Items revolve around absorbing knowledge and – you guessed it – practicing.

Stage Four

Stage Four is all about Perfecting. This means that you’re able to get consistent results with your sourdough, but you are working on making small adjustments to make it perfect for you. Your Action Items in this Stage are all about customizing the sourdough process to make it work for you.

Stage Five

Stage Five is Mastering, the final Stage of The Sourdough Success Path. In Mastering, you’ll be playing with inclusions, attempting a 100% whole-wheat loaf, and learning how to use your starter to bake other kinds of breads. But you’re not done here! Even if you check off every Milestone, the learning never ends and you can continue to improve your baking and challenge yourself in the process.

So, you’ve chosen your current Stage, and the Stage you’d like to reach someday… and now you can get started!

Check out the Milestones and Action Items below.


Milestones are tasks that you should accomplish before moving on to the next Stage. These vary depending on the Stage you’re in, and for the best experience using The Sourdough Success Path, you should focus on the Milestones in your specific Stage before completing the Milestones in a more advanced Stage.

More important than where you enter is how you move along the Path. The Milestones act like a checklist, helping you determine where you are currently in your journey, as well as keeping you focused. Do you have a starter that consistently rises and falls? Has your starter passed the float test? These are two Milestone questions from Stage Two. If the answer is yes, you move along. If it’s no, you focus on achieving that Milestone, and that’s where Action Items come into play (more on Action Items below).

To download the Milestones PDF to save and print, join us in the Sourdough Mamas community!

Action Items

Action Items are the tangible resources that will help you achieve your Milestones. These may be printable guides, online recipes, sourdough articles, blog posts or YouTube videos, depending on the Stage you’re in. Use these resources to take your baking to the next level!

To access the links in the Action Items, and to download the Action Items PDF to save and print, join Sourdough Mamas!

Final Thoughts

You have decided already what Stage you should be in and which Stage you’d like to be in! Your sourdough journey is your own.

The Action Items help support the Milestones, and the Milestones support the Stages.

Remember: you can do this, and you have a ton of support!

Use the Sourdough Success Path to keep yourself focused on your journey. There are so many things you can do with sourdough, the options can be dizzying!

I truly hope you have found the Sourdough Success Path helpful and valuable. If you have any questions or suggestions for the Sourdough Success Path, please leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from you.

While you can access the Sourdough Success path within the Sourdough Mamas community on Facebook, you also have the choice to have the PDF sent directly to your email.

Fill out the form below to be sent the Sourdough Success Path today!

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