Easy Sourdough Starter

This Easy Sourdough Starter recipe creates gorgeously fluffy homemade products such as Sourdough Baguettes. Included are simple step by step instructions on how to start, feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter that is perfect for beginners.

Homemade Sourdough Starter in a glass jar.

This post may contain affiliate links which I earn a small portion in sales if a purchase is made. Rest assured though, it is never at any additional cost to you.

What is Sourdough Starter

Very simply, sourdough starter is a fermented mixture of two ingredients, water and flour. Wild yeast found in flour flourishes when added to water and is allowed to rest in between feedings. This approach is the old fashioned way of making bread that has been done for centuries. It does require more time than active-dry or instant yeast but produces exceptional taste and textured baked goods. 

Tools Needed

In addittion to the flour and water a few tools are needed to make your own from scratch Sourdough Starter. 

Overhead photo of baking scale, liquid measuring cup, chopstick and glass bowl; tools needed to make sourdough starter.
  • Kitchen Scale- It is highly encouraged to use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour and water in equals parts to achieve the best results. This is the scale shown in the picture above. However, my next kitchen scale will be a little larger to accommodate the large bowl needed to make sourdough bread. 
  • Chopsticks– This makes stirring the starter in a glass jar much easier. 
  • Glass Measuring Cup– Makes for easy pouring of water. 
  • Scoop or Spoon– Helps with the addittion of flour.
  • Medium Sized Glass Bowl– The first few days of a starters life is easier done in a medium size glass bowl. 
  • Plastic Wrap or Reusable Food Wraps– For the first few days of the starters life. 
  • Glass Jar (see below) 

Sourdough Starter Container

The type of glass jar needed will depend on which type of flour you use to make your starter and how rapidly your starter ferments. This is the jar seen in the photo below and it works beautifully when using white all-purpose flour. Please see section directly below (White Flour vs Wheat Flour) for more explanation. 

Sourdough Bread Starter in a glass jar sitting in a white countertop with a bowl of flour and a scoop.

White Flour vs Wheat Flour

The type of flour used will have a great influence on how your Stater ferments and the final product that you make with it. However, it is most important to not choose bleached flour as this will impede the fermentation.  

All-Purpose White Flour 

I adore sourdough bread that bites me back when I eat it. In other words, extra sour with a tang. However, my husband HATES that kind of bread. That is why I use all-purpose white flour for my Starter.

This type of flour yields breads that are very much like a crusty Italian loaf that he and I both go crazy for. Additionally, I use the Starter from this type of flour for making baguettes that then make incredible Homemade Breadcrumbs and croutons. The final products are never overly sour. 

Wheat or Rye Flour

Wheat and rye flour has more naturally occurring wild yeast. Because of this, the starter made from these types of flours will ferment faster and with more intensity. It is very important to keep a closer eye on Starters made from these flours and to use a glass jar that has a lid that is looser or can be left slightly open. The reason for this, a tight fitting lid could be a recipe for an exploding jar. 

In conclusion, wheat and rye flours will make much stronger sourdough products and all-purpose white flours (unbleached) will yield more mild final products. 

How To Make

To make Sourdough Starter that is ready to bake with will take approximately 7 days, give or take a day or two. Here are the instructions for each day.

Day 1

In a  medium sized glass bowl mix together 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature. 

Pro Tip#1– To accurately weigh the flour and water start by making sure the scale is weighing in grams vs ounces. Place the bowl on the scale and turn on. The scale should read zero with the the bowl on top. Add enough flour to equal 50 grams. Calibrate the scale back to zero again and repeat with water.

Pro Tip#2– In the making and feeding of this starter there will always be equal parts of flour and water added to it. 

Day 2

To yesterday’s mixture add 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature. 

Day 3

Throw away half of the Starter. To the remaining Starter add 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature.

Pro Tip#3– The discarded Starter from day 3- day 6 is not fully developed enough to have any uses. Simply throw it away. 

Day 4

Throw away half of the starter. Add 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water to the bowl and stir well. Cover and let sit at room temperature. 

Pro Tip#4– Day 4 is the day that you will notice the mixture starting to take on the personality of a Sourdough Starter. There should be small bubbles and a slight sour smell will start to take shape. 

Day 5

Similar to the previous days, throw away half of the Starter and add 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water. Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature. 

Pro Tip#5– The Starter should begin to look very similar to picture A below. If not do not worry, it will very soon.  Also, feel free to transfer to the glass jar once the new flour and water its mixed in on day 5. 

Day 6

Throw away half of the starter and add 200 grams of flour and 200 grams of water. Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature. 

Pro Tip#6– By day 6 the Starter should look similar to photo A below and very possibly look like photo B. 

Day 7

On day 7 the Starter should at the least look like photo B if not like photo C. If it has a similar appearance to photo C, it is ready to use. If it looks like photo B, let it sit at room temperature for one additional day.  

Feeding and Reviving Sourdough Starter

Above all, if your Starter looks like photo C it is ready to be used for making all kinds of sourdough products. If it looks like photo B, you can still use it for baking. However, it will slow down the rising of bread dough. When it looks like photo A, it is time to feed the Starter. 

The different Stages of Sourdough Starter as it ferments.

To feed the Sourdough Starter, discard half of it and add 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water to the remaining Starter. Stir well and let sit at room temperature overnight. If on the second day the Starter has the appearance of photo B, let it sit at room temperature for one additional day before using it in recipes. 

Pro Tip#7– If storing the Starter at room temperature it will need to be fed every 2-3 days. If storing in the refrigerator, it can be kept safely for up to 10 days before feeding. Please note that if storing in the refrigerator 2 feedings will most likely be needed before the Starter will look like photo C. 

Starter Smell and How to Know if it has Gone Bad

A healthy Sourdough Starter is going to smell sour. Therefore, it is not the best way to judge whether it has gone bad. However, the best way to know is by its appearance. If there are any visible signs of mold or red/orange spots it is time to throw the Starter out and begin again. Take heart though, Sourdough Starters are full of good bacteria. Because of this, chances of it going bad are much lower. 

Maintaining Sourdough Starter

For anyone new to sourdough baking, it is incredibly normal to have many questions and concerns about maintaining your sourdough starter. How To Maintain Sourdough Starter has a complete breakdown of the feeding schedule, common concerns and questions so that you can enjoy your sourdough starter for decades to come.

If you enjoyed this Sourdough Starter please let me know by leaving a comment and review below. Doing so helps to encourage others to make the recipe also. Thank you!

Homemade Sourdough Starter in a glass jar.

Easy Sourdough Starter

Easy Sourdough Starter makes fluffy and crusty breads and sourdough baked goods. Use white all-purpose flour for Italian style breads. Wheat and rye flours makes more traditional sourdough breads. Once completed, makes sure to check out How To Maintain Sourdough Starter for decades of successful sourdough baking.
4.92 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baked Goods, Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Starter
Prep Time: 7 days
Author: Heather

Ingredients

  • 700 grams white all-purpose flour
  • 700 grams filtered water

Instructions

Day 1

  • In a  medium sized glass bowl mix together 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature.
    See Note #1 and Note #2 below.

Day 2

  • To yesterday’s mixture add 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature.

Day 3

  • Throw away half of the Starter. To the remaining Starter add 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. Stir well and cover. Let sit at room temperature.
    See Note #3 below.

Day 4

  • Throw away half of the starter. Add 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water to the bowl and stir well. Cover and let sit at room temperature. 
    See Note #4 below.

Day 5

  • Similar to the previous days, throw away half of the Starter and add 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water. Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature. 
    See Note #5 below.

Day 6

  • Throw away half of the starter and add 200 grams of flour and 200 grams of water. Stir well, cover and let sit at room temperature. 
    See Note #6 below.

Day 7

  • On day 7 the Starter should at the least look like photo B above if not like photo C. If it has a similar appearance to photo C, it is ready to use. If it looks like photo B, let it sit at room temperature for one additional day.

Notes

Recipe Notes
Note#1– To accurately weigh the flour and water start by making sure the scale is weighting in grams vs ounces. Place the bowl on the scale and turn on. The scale should read zero with the the bowl on top. Add enough flour to equal 50 grams. Tare the scale back to zero again and repeat with water.
Note#2– In the making and feeding of this starter there will always be equal parts of flour and water added to it. 
Note#3– The discarded Starter from day 3- day 7 is not fully developed enough to have any uses. Simply throw it away. 
Note#4– Day 4 is the day that you will notice the mixture starting to take on the personality of a Sourdough Starter. There should be small bubbles and a slight sour smell will start to take shape. 
Note#5– The Starter should begin to look very similar to picture A featured above in the post. If not do not worry, it will very soon.  Also, feel free to transfer to the glass jar once the new flour and water its mixed in on day 5. 
Note#6– By day 6 the Starter should look similar to photo A above and very possibly look like photo B. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @thefedupfoodie or tag #thefedupfoodie!

Similar Posts

217 Comments

    1. Hi Susan. I am so happy to hear your starting is looking great.
      When I’m feeding the starter daily, I typically cover it with two layers of paper towels secured with a rubber band, often repurposed from broccoli or asparagus bunches. This method prevents the starter from outgrowing its container, avoiding any potential messes or breaking the glass jar. For periods when I’m not actively feeding it for bread-making, I simply use the glass lid to cover it.
      I hope this helps. I also have a post all about maintaining sourdough starter that may be helpful. https://www.thefedupfoodie.com/how-to-maintain-sourdough-starter/
      Happy Baking !

  1. On the days that we discard half of the starter, can we simply use that to add the flour & water to like the batch we keep? This way we have several starters to share?

    1. Yes, you absolutely can use the discarded starter to begin a new starter to share with family and friends. Just keep in mind that if done frequently, you may find yourself with more starters than you can manage. However, it’s a great way to share the joy of sourdough baking.

  2. I wish I had found this article sooner. I was given a starter on Saturday and told to feed it. So three times this week I pulled it out of the fridge and added equal parts flour and water. I did not even know not to use bleached flour till I feed it today. Have I ruined it? Should I be discarding and if so bake or not bake? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Hi Alisha. Thank you for reaching out! Don’t worry, your starter should be fine. While unbleached flour is generally recommended because it contains more natural yeast and bacteria, using bleached flour a few times typically won’t ruin your starter. Just switch to unbleached flour from now on. You can continue feeding it and it should recover. As for discarding, it’s part of the feeding process to manage the starter’s size and concentration, so you can definitely use the discard in recipes! Feel free to bake with it. If you have any more questions, I’m here to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating