Simple Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough bread is an intimidating bread to make, but I tried my hand at. I did it! However, before we get to that, we ought to start from the beginning. What is the beginning, you ask? A starter. This is not like using bottled yeast. This is capturing yeast out of the air! 

I tried a few different combinations to make my own starter, and believe I have found the most simple and effective method. 

Yeast is naturally occurring all around us. I tried several different methods, but finally found one that is most tolerable and forgiving. It is simple, but takes time. 


An important note I feel I must explain: The food scale is non-negotiable. My first attempt at a starter looked wrong. It looked like biscuit dough. It was too thick. This was simply because I measured by cups vs weight. Flour can be packed differently based on how you put it in the measuring cup. If this process is done by weight, you simply cannot go wrong.  

Day 1

  • 4 oz flour
  • 4 oz water

Stir. Loosely cover. Air must be able to get in.

Day 2-5

  • Add 4 oz water and 4 oz flour and stir.

By Day 5, you should be seeing bubbles. You know what the raw side of a pancake looks like on the griddle when the other side is nearly done? Small bubbles. It should have a sour yeasty smell to it. On day 5 it should be ready to use. Remember, keep it loosely covered.

After day 5, you can begin discarding some of the starter each day before you feed it. You need to feed the starter like a pet: every day. Now, there is a way to make it dormant, but this is not something I have any knowledge of at this time. (I am sure I will learn it and then get back to you!) Besides, if you make enough sourdough bread, you won’t have to make it dormant.

Like I said….Simple

The great thing about this starter set up was that it didn’t seem to mind too terribly much if I was late on a feeding or missed one all together. 

Try your hand at a sourdough starter and let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

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  1. Hi RainyDarkCloud from twitter here,

    Thanks for posting this. I have so many questions…

    I found multiple recipes for sourdough bread, but none of them tell me how much of the starter to use. Any idea?

    Can a starter be used in a bread machine, or does it have to be a powdered yeast?

    Can a different type of starter be used for other types of bread as a substitute for dry yeast?

    I found a recipe for a “Polish Sourdough” that uses buttermilk & flour, and is used within 48 hours. Have you ever heard of that method?

    How important is bread flour vs regular Gold Medal flour? Some tips with recipes say you should add additional gluten to regular flour. Is that a thing?

    My brain is overloaded with recipes right now. My bread machine arrives tomorrow, and while I know I’m going to start with the most basic french bread recipe, but after that… I’m really excited to see what I can do.

    1. Hi Jena! Sorry for the delay in response due to the Holidays. So, I have a recipe that I got from @highheeledkami on Twitter. I will actually post the recipe on the blog. It turns out wonderfully if the instructions are followed. This is not a bread machine recipe that I will be posting. The work on this one is worth it. She taught me to weigh out the ingredients on more delicate breads vs measuring them because it is much more accurate.

      Onto your questions, yes, I have seen some bread machine sourdough recipes. However, I have not tried any of them to validate how well they do or do not turn out. I have seen several of them call for a full cup of starter.

      Yes, they have different starters for different results. For example some are made with wheat flour, some with bread flour, and some (like mine) are made with regular flour.

      When it comes to making the bread (not the starter), you are guaranteed a better loaf when using Bread Flour. Machine or not. I am not an expert, but from what I understand, it has a higher protein level and allows for a better rise on the bread, where as all purpose flour can sometimes produce a more “cakey” loaf.

      Thanks for the questions!


  2. Thank you so much for answering my questions. Unfortunately, traditional bread making is not a possibility for me. There’s too much damage in my hands/wrists from arthritis, hence the bread machine. I will use your recipe for a starter, and see if I can find one for bread that gives machine instructions. The detail you give in your starter instructions, plus the pictures is tremendously helpful.

    Thanks again,

    1. Oh you poor dear! Well, I would love if you would share the recipe once you find a good one. I am glad that my post helped you!

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