Dec 23

How To Make Sourdough Starter

How To Make Sourdough Starter

One of my 2011 resolutions is to start making more of our family's grocery staples from scratch -- granola, yogurt, pancake mix, etc... and of course bread. I have an awesome Zojirushi breadmaker, but I'm guilty of not using it nearly enough. That's all about to change, and I'm starting with sourdough bread.

Since sourdough starter takes around five days to finish fermenting, I decided to get a head start and whip up my first batch this afternoon -- and I certainly learned a thing or two in the process. Namely that sourdough starter rises.

Yes, in hindsight I suppose that should have been a given... But when the recipe instructed me to pour the starter into a quart-size container, I did, even though there wasn't much excess room.

Doesn't it look pretty in the mason jar? I covered it with cheesecloth and went about my business. Twenty minutes later I walked back into the kitchen and was horrified to see that my starter had risen through the cheesecloth and was spilling over onto the counter.

Really it was pretty comical, and I wish I'd thought to snap a picture, but I immediately went into cleanup mode. At least you won't make the same mistake!

Making Sourdough Starter Making Sourdough Starter
Making Sourdough Starter Making Sourdough Starter

How To Make Sourdough Starter

How To Make Sourdough Starter


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. sugar or honey


  1. Gather your ingredients. You'll need yeast, flour, water, and either sugar or honey to feed the starter.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water.
  3. Whisk together the remaining warm water, flour, sugar or honey, and dissolved yeast mixture.
  4. Cover the sourdough starter with cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for 3-5 days, stirring three times daily. The starter is ready for use when it smells fermented and the vigorous bubbling ceases.
  5. When your sourdough starter is done fermenting, you may store it in the refrigerator in a covered plastic container.
  6. Maintenance and Use of Sourdough Starter:
  7. To use your starter, first stir it up. Then measure out the amount of cold starter that you need, and then let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with your recipe.
  8. Replenish your starter by adding 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, 3/4 c. water, and 1 t. sugar or honey to remaining starter. Let stand at room temperature for a day, and then you can cover and place it back in the refrigerator.
  9. If you don't use your starter within 10 days, remove one cup of starter and add 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup lukewarm water and stir well. You can then refrigerate it again immediately.

Once you get your sourdough starter going, check out the recipe for my bread machine sourdough loaf -- simple and delicious!

by Tara | 54 comments

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