How To Start a Sourdough Starter
There are three main ways to start a sourdough starter: borrow, buy, or trap.
My favorite method of acquiring sourdough is definitely from a friend. If you can find someone with a healthy, active sourdough starter who is willing to part with some then you can be baking as soon as the next day! Sourdough is a joyful and loving hobby and most sourdough bakers will be happy to share that passion with a beginner.
You can also purchase a dried starter from many different sources. My first starter was originally given to me as a gift from my husband before we were married. Little did he know how important that gift would be to our health! There are some really awesome choices for sourdough starter on the market and I will list a few below that I personally trust.
If you want to get super authentic you can start your own starter by trapping wild yeast off of wheat flour, fruits, herbs, or vegetables.
To start a starter with flour you will want to use organic, freshly milled flour if that is available. Flour that still has some of the hull will help you start a vigorous starter quickly.
Organic whole wheat or rye flour is a good choice for starting a vigorous starter. Rye flour tends to have plenty of wild yeast and bacteria and (in my case) makes a sweet-smelling ferment.
Again, any organic flour will work, but those that are milled with the hull start sourdough cultures faster.
- 1100 Grams Organic Flour, Rye, Whole Wheat, or Heirloom Grains work well (7-8 cups total)
- 1100 Grams Water, Un-chlorinated, filtered (Not Plastic Bottled)
Mix 100g of flour (2/3c) and 100g (1/4c) of water into a paste. Store it in a clean locking lid jar with the rubber seal removed. Keep your jar in a draft-free place at room temperature. This is the beginning of your starter!
Day 2 -7, feed your starter once a day.
Remove 100g of starter (half) from the jar and replace it with 50g (1/3c) of flour and 50g (1/4) of water. Stir well and store it at room temperature.
- By day seven you should be seeing some signs of activity. The starter should be bubbling, smell fermented (slightly sweet, sour, or alcoholic). You may even see it rise after feeding.
- If there is mold, off color, off smell and little to no activity do not continue the feedings and please see my troubleshooting guide in the body of this article.
Day 8-14, feed your starter twice a day.
- Morning: Remove 100g of starter (half) from the jar and replace it with 50g (1/3c) of flour and 50g (1/4) of water. Stir well and store it at room temperature.
- Evening: Remove 100g of starter (half) from the jar and replace it with 50g (1/3c) of flour and 50g (1/4c) of water. Stir well and store it at room temperature.
Day 15, your starter should be ready to bake with!
- Some people have found that their starter is ready to bake with by day 7. I add an extra 7 days of double feedings to insure that the starter is powerful, active and ready for all the baking projects!
- Keep in mind, Sourdough is as unique as you are. Results may vary!
- To build your starter up prior to baking just add a larger amount of flour and water to the last feeding. If you need 250g of starter, add at least 125g each flour and water!
- All cups and spoons measurements are approximate, please weight your ingredients for accuracy!
Gluten-Free Sourdough Guides
Whole New Mom – Super Easy Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
Fermenting For Foodies – Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter