Making Sourdough Starter

Making Sourdough Starter

This is an easy and simple process and it will literally take you 5 minutes to do. There are many many ways to grow a sourdough starter, this is my tried and true method that I have used time and again. I love to experiment with different methods and see what works and what doesn’t. Bread baking is part art and part science the best part is it tastes great.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup of bread flour – (for more information about flour types see my article on flour)
  • 1 cup of water – preferably dechlorinated water but to get started most tap water will work. – see my article on water
  • 1 crock with a lid something in the 1- 2 quarts size will work. (I prefer glass or ceramic but plastic will work as you will see in the video I used a plastic container, just don’t use a metal container.
  • 1 tablespoon measuring spoon.

The Process

Now that you have gathered your ingredients and kitchen tools.

Add 1 tablespoon of water at room temperature and put it in your container, now add 1 tablespoon of water. mix.

Leave your crock on the countertop in your kitchen and loosely cover it with the lid or preferably a clean dish towel. You do not want to seal the bowl, You want to collect some of the wild yeast that is in the air you breath and in the air in your kitchen into your starter.

Feeding your starter

Here it is up to you, you can feed your starter between every 8 -24 hours. You feed it by adding 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of flour to your container and mixing it a few times.  After 3-5 days your starter will start to bubble and begin to smell kind of like alcohol.

It’s alive

What is happening is that the wild yeast which is naturally occurring in the air as well as in the flour will begin to feed on the sugars in the starch which are released from the flour when the water is added. As the yeast digest the sucrose and glucose it will produce byproducts of Alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. The bubbles and the alcohol smell.

Making a Firm Starter

Making your Firm Starter

Most of my recipes are made in a three stage method.

  1. Sourdough Starter (mother)
  2. Firm Starter
  3. Bread Dough

A firm starter gives your more of the flour in your bread dough additional  fermentation time, this in turn give your bread an even better flavor.
So lets get started:

Make the Firm Starter

 This is really simple.


  • 1 – 1/4 c (100% – bakers percentage)  unbleached white flour
  • 1 – 1/4 c – (178% – bakers percentage) Sourdough Starter


  1. The first step is getting your starter nice and active. Take your starter out of the refrigerator couple if days before you want to make your bread and feed it for a couple or three days to get it activated.
  2. Place 1- 1/4 cups of starter for the firm starter into a bowl and put the rest of your mother starter back in the frig.
  3. Mix together your starter and flour with your mixer using a kneading hook for 4 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil your bowl with EVO (extra virgin olive oil) and place your firm starter in the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap, a towel or a plate (You are just keeping the surface from drying out) and set out to rise for 2-4 hours.
  5. After it has doubled in volume or at least close to it, place it in the refrigerator over night. Refrigerating the starter slows the fermentation process and adds additional flavor.
  6. The next day you are ready to your make dough.