Sourdough Starter

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Ahh, the mysterious sourdough starter.  If you don’t already have one, you probably think the only way to get one is to beg, borrow, or steal one from a friend.

The reality is that sourdough starters have to start sometime!  So why not right now, in your very own kitchen? The only ingredients you need are Flour, Water, and Time.

But what about the yeast?

Unless you prefer to sterilize your flour before baking (who would do that?), there are naturally occurring bacterias and yeasts already living in it.  (Sorry if that grosses you out, but that’s how God designed our world.)

The secret to a successful sourdough starter is to create an environment that encourages the good yeast and bacteria to “be fruitful and multiply,” and simultaneously discourages the bad bacteria and mold (a type of fungus) from making themselves at home in the starter.  Luckily, accomplishing the right kind of environment is fairly easy.

So you can accurately think of Sourdough starter as a living dough. And the next time you here me say that I need to go feed my “pet” in the refrigerator…I’m only half kidding.

Sourdough Starter
Sourdough Starters are no mystery, they can be started from scratch by anybody with a little bit of patience.
Recipe type: Bread
  • ½ cup Flour
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 quart Mason Jar
  • Coffee Filter
  • Rubber band
  • Fork
  1. Place ½ cup flour with ½ cup water in the Mason jar and stir together well with fork.
  2. Cover Mason jar with the Coffee Filter, and secure with rubber band. Leave jar at room temperature (75-85 degrees is best, but bare minimum of 68 degrees)
  3. Wait 8-12 hours.
  4. Add ¼ cup Flour and ¼ cup water, mix well, then recover.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 every 8-12 hours for 5-14 days, or until the starter looks bubbly and rises in the jar after each feeding. It should start looking something like the picture at the top of this recipe...lots of bubbles in the dough! When the jar is more than half full, discard some starter before adding more flour and water.
  6. You can begin using the starter to make bread as soon as it is starting to get active, but the bread may not rise very much at first because there is still a relatively small number of yeast. The longer your starter is active, the better rise you will see in your bread.
  7. ***IMPORTANT*** Always use your common sense. If you see any mold, discard the starter and begin again. But typically, as long as you feed your starter regularly and keep it warm enough, that's unlikely to happen.
When I started making sourdough, I didn't realize that I could make a homemade starter so I purchased mine online. But if I had to do it again, I would simply make one from scratch! However, if you don't feel comfortable making your first sourdough starter on your own, consider purchasing a dehydrated starter from or another reputable source.


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