Sourdough Starter

AuthorKateCategoryDifficultyBeginner

Make a sourdough starter today - all you need is flour, water and time. Bake your own sourdough bread from home with no special equipment.

Making a sourdough starter from scratch

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time10 mins

Measurements in Grams
 50 g Flour (plain, baker's rye, wholemeal)
 50 g water (preferably filtered)

DAY 1
1

All you need for today is 50g of water and 50g of flour plus a clean jar. Mix the water & flour together in the jar, pop the lid on loosely (or a piece of paper towel & elastic band). Place the starter somewhere warm for the next 24 hrs. If your house is cold, pop it near the kettle or oven to keep it warm.

DAY 2
2

Once your starter is 24 hours old, you need to check on it and give it a good stir. You do not need to add anything today - just get some oxygen into your mixture and then recover and pop aside for another 24 hours.

Your starter may already have some bubbles forming - this is a great sign. But it's also totally fine if it's not doing anything. Time is everything! Make sure it’s in a warm spot - a cupboard next to the oven is good. I keep one of mine in my plate draw next to my oven. Or next to the kettle if you're a coffee junkie.

DAY 3
3

On day 3 remove half of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it together with the end of a wooden spoon, being sure to get lots of oxygen into your mixture. Replace the cover and pop it away until tomorrow.

It's up to you how you want to feed your starter - you can just pour half out and then put the flour and water directly into the same jar (you can clean the sides and rim with a silicone spatula). This will not be super accurate and may mean your starter takes longer to build - but it will still work!

Alternatively you can place 50g of your starter into a clean jar and feed into that so you have a clean jar each time.

Don’t worry if you keep checking it - it’s completely normal 😉 It’s good to notice how it changes in shape, size and smell over the 24 hours.

At this stage it's completely normal for it to smell really bad and to have developed a layer of liquid on top (this is called hooch). It might look like the water has separated from the flour but it's just telling you that it's hungry. Stir the hooch in when you feed your starter. It's also quite normal for it to double in size. Keep going - it will be fine 🙂

DAY 4
4

Step 4 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

If you want to keep feeding your starter into the same jar, mark where 50g of starter should sit and scoop out the 100g of starter so that the unfed starter sits at that line, then add your 50g of flour and 50g of water. You could even use an elastic band.

Alternatively, weigh your jar with the 50g of starter in it. Write down this measurement. Place your jar on the scale and remove the discarded starter down to that measurement. This will enable you to keep feeding into the same jar.

Once your starter is mature, you'll be able to just pour it out without measuring too closely.

DAY 5
5

Step 5 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

It's a good idea at this stage to pop an elastic band around the jar you are using. Put the elastic band at the level of your starter when you feed it. This helps you to be able to see how far your starter is rising when it peaks.

sourdough starter with elastic band to show rise level

DAY 6
6

Step 6 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

DAY 7
7

YAY! Your sourdough starter is a whole week old. Now I know you want to get to baking bread … but just remember that the most important thing about this whole process is time. Your starter might be ready, but chances are it will need a bit longer to mature - generally 14 days. You need to keep feeding your starter the same way as you have been, twice a day (discarding before you feed) until it's consistently doubling within around 2-6 hours after you've fed it. Once it's consistently doubling after every feed you can try and bake with it. Your starter will keep maturing as you use it.

Creating a sourdough starter - 7 day instructions

Ingredients

Measurements in Grams
 50 g Flour (plain, baker's rye, wholemeal)
 50 g water (preferably filtered)

Directions

DAY 1
1

All you need for today is 50g of water and 50g of flour plus a clean jar. Mix the water & flour together in the jar, pop the lid on loosely (or a piece of paper towel & elastic band). Place the starter somewhere warm for the next 24 hrs. If your house is cold, pop it near the kettle or oven to keep it warm.

DAY 2
2

Once your starter is 24 hours old, you need to check on it and give it a good stir. You do not need to add anything today - just get some oxygen into your mixture and then recover and pop aside for another 24 hours.

Your starter may already have some bubbles forming - this is a great sign. But it's also totally fine if it's not doing anything. Time is everything! Make sure it’s in a warm spot - a cupboard next to the oven is good. I keep one of mine in my plate draw next to my oven. Or next to the kettle if you're a coffee junkie.

DAY 3
3

On day 3 remove half of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it together with the end of a wooden spoon, being sure to get lots of oxygen into your mixture. Replace the cover and pop it away until tomorrow.

It's up to you how you want to feed your starter - you can just pour half out and then put the flour and water directly into the same jar (you can clean the sides and rim with a silicone spatula). This will not be super accurate and may mean your starter takes longer to build - but it will still work!

Alternatively you can place 50g of your starter into a clean jar and feed into that so you have a clean jar each time.

Don’t worry if you keep checking it - it’s completely normal 😉 It’s good to notice how it changes in shape, size and smell over the 24 hours.

At this stage it's completely normal for it to smell really bad and to have developed a layer of liquid on top (this is called hooch). It might look like the water has separated from the flour but it's just telling you that it's hungry. Stir the hooch in when you feed your starter. It's also quite normal for it to double in size. Keep going - it will be fine 🙂

DAY 4
4

Step 4 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

If you want to keep feeding your starter into the same jar, mark where 50g of starter should sit and scoop out the 100g of starter so that the unfed starter sits at that line, then add your 50g of flour and 50g of water. You could even use an elastic band.

Alternatively, weigh your jar with the 50g of starter in it. Write down this measurement. Place your jar on the scale and remove the discarded starter down to that measurement. This will enable you to keep feeding into the same jar.

Once your starter is mature, you'll be able to just pour it out without measuring too closely.

DAY 5
5

Step 5 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

It's a good idea at this stage to pop an elastic band around the jar you are using. Put the elastic band at the level of your starter when you feed it. This helps you to be able to see how far your starter is rising when it peaks.

sourdough starter with elastic band to show rise level

DAY 6
6

Step 6 is to feed your starter in the same way as you did yesterday. Remove 100g of your starter and then add 50g of flour and 50g of water to the remaining 50g of starter in your jar. Mix it all together with the end of a wooden spoon. Replace the cover. You’ll need to do this twice today, around 12 hours apart. While your starter will be fairly forgiving, set a reminder on your phone if you think you’ll forget 😉 it’s just like having a pet 😉

DAY 7
7

YAY! Your sourdough starter is a whole week old. Now I know you want to get to baking bread … but just remember that the most important thing about this whole process is time. Your starter might be ready, but chances are it will need a bit longer to mature - generally 14 days. You need to keep feeding your starter the same way as you have been, twice a day (discarding before you feed) until it's consistently doubling within around 2-6 hours after you've fed it. Once it's consistently doubling after every feed you can try and bake with it. Your starter will keep maturing as you use it.

Creating a sourdough starter - 7 day instructions

Sourdough Starter
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