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Sourdough Starter from Scratch

How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter in Six Easy Steps

Making sourdough starter from scratch doesn't have to be complicated! This recipe keeps it simple, basic, and guarantees an active starter you can bake with in two weeks or less.
Each step is extremely easy and takes mere minutes. The most important factor is time - you must give your starter sufficient time to build up and get strong, or else your bread will fail. Patience is a virtue!
5 from 2 votes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 50 g all-purpose flour or bread flour works too
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 100 g warm water

Instructions
 

  • Day One:
    Weigh water in a mason jar, and add both flours. Mix well, with hands if possible, until all lumps disappear and no dry flour remains. Cover the jar with the inner lid (do not screw down!) and place in a warm, dry location - your kitchen counter is perfect. Place an elastic band around the jar at the level of the starter to make it easy to visualize any rise.
    Now is a good time to name your starter! Studies have shown that people are more apt to feed a starter if it has a name :)
    Flour and water to make starter
  • Day Two:
    Remove 25g of your new starter and put in a clean jar. Add 100g warm water and swirl to incorporate. Mix in 50g whole-wheat and 50g all-purpose flours, and stir until no dry flour remains. Cover the jar with the inner lid, mark with rubber band, and place in a warm, dry location.
  • Day Three:
    Check for signs of activity! You're looking for small bubbles around the perimeter of the jar, and evidence of rising, and you'll want to note the smell each time, too. Today it will likely smell slightly similar to beer, or have a nutty smell. This will continue until you begin smelling a distinctly sour smell in about three or four more days.
    Remove 25g of your new starter and put in a clean jar. Add 100g warm water and swirl to incorporate. Mix in 50g whole-wheat and 50g all-purpose flours, and stir until no dry flour remains. Cover the jar with the inner lid, mark with rubber band, and place in a warm, dry location.
  • Day Four - Seven:
    At this point, you will repeat the feeding process above (from Day Three) once a day. Make sure you're taking notes throughout the process.
  • Day Eight and onward:
    At this point - or possibly sooner - you'll want to start noticing how long it takes for your starter to double in size. The goal is 8 hours or less, but more important than the timing is the predictability of your starter. For example, mine will double in size at about hour six, then fall. I know this about my starter, and soon you will know it about yours!
    Sourdough Starter from Scratch
  • Your starter may be ready to bake with at Day Eight, but it might take as long as 14 days. Don't rush the process, and give your starter ample time to become nice and strong to support leavening an entire loaf of bread.
    If you miss a day or two of feeding, don't fret, just feed as normal and expect that the process will take a little longer. We're only human!
Keyword Sourdough, Starter