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sourdough starter in clear jar

How To Make Sourdough Starter For Beginners

How to make sourdough starter for the absolute beginner. The right ingredients, tools and techniques to get that sourdough starter growing on your first try!
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Resting Time: 7 d
Total Time: 7 d 5 mins
Serves: 4 servings
Calories: 725kcal

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (5 oz) Whole Wheat Flour (about one cup) plus more for feeding
  • 150 grams (5 oz) Bottled or Filtered Water 90ºF (about 3/4 cup) plus more for feeding

Equipment

  • 4 Cup clean jar or container with straight sides

Instructions

Sourdough Starter Schedule

  • Before you start: We will begin feedings with whole wheat flour through day 4. On day 5 we will switch to unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour for feeding so make sure you have some of that on hand too. Use warm (90ºF filtered or bottled water if you can to promote growth).
  • Day 1 - In the morning when you wake up, combine together 150g whole wheat flour and 150g warm (90ºF) bottled or filtered water together in a bowl using your hand until no dry flour remains.
  • Place the mixture into a clean container with straight sides. Make its able to hold at least 4 cups of liquid. A large mason jar or measuring cup works great for this.
  • Day 2 - At the same time of day, stir your starter then remove half the starter and discard it. You cannot eat discard at this point.
  • Add 75g whole wheat flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common).
  • Day 3 - At the same time of day, remove half the starter and discard it. Add 75g whole wheat flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common).
  • Day 4 - At the same time of day, remove half the starter and discard it. Add 75g whole wheat flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common).
  • Day 5 - Begin feeding unbleached bread flour instead of whole wheat flour twice a day, every 12 hours.
    In the morning, remove half the starter and use it to make discard recipes like pancakes or pikelets! Add 75g unbleached bread flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common). Repeat this 12 hours later in the night.
  • Day 6 - In the morning, remove half the starter and discard it or use for discard recipes. Add 75g unbleached bread flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common). Repeat this 12 hours later in the night.
  • Day 7 - If your starter is doubling in size, resume feeding ONCE a day. If your starter is still not doubling, keep feeding twice a day until it does.
    Add 75g unbleached bread flour and 75g warm (90F) filtered water. Stir until no dry flour remains. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area (on top of the fridge is common).
    You can now transfer your starter to another container if you wish to be it's permanent home or keep it in the same jar. Do not wash your container daily! It has important yeast in there that keeps the starter alive. You can periodically wipe down the outside and the rim to keep it clean.
    I transfer my starter to a clean jar once a week so I can wash the other jar.
  • If your starter is doubling in size then it's ready to make bread! Follow the instructions in the blog post about testing your starter to see if it's ready to make bread then head to the sourdough bread post to learn how to make your first loaf of sourdough bread!

Notes

  1. Whole wheat flour is the best flour to start with because it has a higher amount of yeast and microbial content but you can also use unbleached all-purpose or bread flour to make a sourdough starter. 
  2. Using filtered or bottled water is best for making a sourdough starter. Once your starter is established you can switch to tap water as long as it doesn't have a ton of chlorine in it. 
  3. Using warm (90ºF) water will help your starter grow. I warm mine for a few seconds in the microwave and then use a thermometer to check the temperature. After a while, you will be able to tell with your finger if the water is warm enough. 
  4. After 5 days of feeding and discarding your starter, you can begin cooking the discard. I love making sourdough starter pancakes with some freshly chopped chives and butter in the morning after I feed my starter. 
  5. Don't try to make bread with your starter until day 7. The sourdough starter needs time to grow and gain strength before it can rise a loaf of bread. 
  6. If you only want to bake once a week, store your starter in the fridge. If you want to eat sourdough on Saturday, you would take the starter out of the fridge on Wednesday and feed it. Feed it again Thursday and begin making your bread Friday. Sourdough takes some pre-planning but most of the time is hands-off. 
  7. Once your starter is established,  you can keep it in the fridge for a month without feeding. Revive by feeding as we did on day 5 of our initial starter with twice a day feedings for two days until it's bubbling and happy again. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 725kcal (36%) | Carbohydrates: 149g (50%) | Protein: 26g (52%) | Fat: 4g (6%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 453mg (13%) | Fiber: 13g (52%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Calcium: 49mg (5%) | Iron: 4mg (22%)