Creating Your Own Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

A step-by-step guide to creating your own sourdough starter.


4 ounces bread flour

4 ounces whole wheat flour

8 ounces water

Pinch of diastatic malted barley flour (optional)


Day One:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit at room temperature (ideally around 70-75 degrees) overnight.  Remember, it is important to leave the mixture loosely covered at this point.

Day Two:

Stir the mixture once or twice (do not feed), cover loosely and continue to let sit at room temperature.

Day Three:

By this time you should be starting to see some evidence of yeast and bacteria activity in the form of bubbles.  If so, combine:

5 ounces of starter

4 ounces of water

5 ounces of bread flour

in a clean bowl.  Stir until smooth.  Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature.  Discard the remainder of the original starter.

Days Three Through Seven:

Repeat the above feeding process every 12 hours.  Feeding at regular intervals will help with the success of your starter.  Consider setting an alarm on your phone to help remind you, and choose a feeding time that consistently works with your schedule.  Continue these twice a day feedings through Day Seven. At this point your starter should smell sweet and faintly of alcohol and be ready to use.  Be aware that in the middle of the week there may come a time when your starter does not smell very good. Don’t worry and don’t throw it out! It will all come together by Day Seven.

Day Eight and Beyond:

If your starter is bubbly and happy (doubling or tripling in volume between feedings) feel free to start feeding it as follows:

5 ounces of starter

5 ounces of water

5 ounces of bread flour

If you are leaving our starter at room temperature, I would continue feeding it every 12 hours for a few weeks.  Once the culture is well-established, you can stretch your feeding schedule out to once every 24 hours. But while you are still building and strengthening your starter it is helpful to do more frequent feedings.

If you do not plan on baking for a few days and want to move your starter to the refrigerator so that you do not need to feed it so often, go ahead and feed your starter as you normally would, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate.  Cover tightly for refrigeration to prevent your starter from drying out.

Once your sourdough starter is well-established, it can be left in the refrigerator for up to a week between feedings.  I like to take it out at least a day or so before I plan to bake and feed it a couple of times at 12 hour intervals before using it in a recipe.


Keywords: sourdough, starter, bread