Foolproof Sourdough Starter From Scratch Recipe

Want to know how to make a sourdough starter from scratch that is guaranteed to make you bake perfect sourdough bread like a pro? This is the tested and approved best sourdough starter recipe you need to know about. 

sourdough starter from scratch

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Making a sourdough starter from scratch is extremely rewarding and fun. If you are anything like me, you are doing all the research you possibly can to make sure that your sourdough starter is successful. As a home baker myself, I am giving you the BEST sourdough starter recipe guaranteed to make you bake bread like a pro. 

This is the exact recipe I used to create my sourdough starter Gary and it has never failed me. All of my sourdough bread recipes have turned out PERFECT every time simply because of this sourdough starter recipe. 

You are going to learn all about the best sourdough starter recipe details from the best ratio to feed sourdough starter, how long it will take to be able to bake the perfect sourdough loaf, and will also have a free printable sourdough starter recipe PDF.

After learning all about the best sourdough starter recipe, you are going to bake like a pro and will never buy grocery store bread again.

This post is all about how to make a sourdough starter from scratch.

Sourdough Starter From Scratch

sourdough starter kit

The Tools You’ll Need

Clear glass jar or cup

You will need a clear glass jar or cup when making your sourdough starter. Your glass jar must be clear and see-through! A clear glass jar will allow you to be able to see the activity of your sourdough starter. You will see if your starter has any activity if it has risen, if it has any bubbles. If you do not have a glass jar, you can always use a clear drinking glass or cup.

However, I urge you not to use a plastic cup or plastic jar. Even if the plastic cup is see-through, it is difficult to clean plastic the way that we clean glass jars. The plastic can hold onto bad bacteria that your young sourdough starter may not like. This bacteria might not be friendly to your new starter. 

A lot of sourdough enthusiasts like using these glass Weck jars for their sourdough starters.

Plastic wrap or cover for jar

Not only do you need a clear glass jar, but you’ll also need something to cover the glass jar. You want the cover tight enough to not let any bugs in but also loose enough so that the gases the starter produces can escape. 

Some sourdough bakers use plastic wrap to cover their jars. The lid on the Weck jars is perfect for sourdough starters!

quick sourdough starter

Measuring Scale

I HIGHLY recommend getting a digital measuring scale if you do not have one! When making your own sourdough starter and during the feedings, you will need to measure all the ingredients by weight. The measuring scale will allow you to measure the weight of the flour, water, and sourdough starter in grams. It will give you much more accuracy than measuring cups and measuring spoons. 

Moreover, the weight of flour and water differ. For example, 2 tablespoons of flour weigh less than 2 tablespoons of water. 

This is the digital measuring scale that I use. I have four of these in my kitchen as my husband also uses them. I use them not just for sourdough starter and baking, but for almost everything I make in the kitchen. If you do not have a digital measuring scale and only have measuring cups and spoons, I will go over feeding sourdough starter with measuring cups later in this article. As I have stated, I highly recommend buying a digital measuring scale!!!!

Mixing Spatulas or Spoon

You will need a utensil to mix your sourdough starter with the flour and water. Whenever you are feeding sourdough starter with flour and water, you will need to mix and incorporate the starter, flour, and water together. I prefer to use a silicone spatula. The silicone spatula helps scrape the sides of the glass jar.

You can also use a metal spoon whenever you are feeding sourdough starter. The metal spoon won’t scrape the sides of the glass jar as well as the silicone spatula does, but that is okay! Just make sure you are mixing all of the ingredients together so that you do not see any dry flour in the Weck jar.

Rubber Band (optional)

You will need a rubber band that is large enough to fit around the circumference of your sourdough starter jar. The rubber band will mark the height of the starter after feeding sourdough starter. It will allow you to see how much your sourdough starter has risen. 

If you do not have a rubber band, you can always mark the outside of your glass jar with a marker.  

how to make sourdough starter from scratch

Ingredients For The Best Sourdough Bread Starter Recipe

This easy sourdough starter recipe calls for ONLY two simple ingredients that you already have in your home kitchen!!! All the ingredients you will need for how to make sourdough starter from scratch are flour and water. 

Flour

For this easy sourdough starter recipe for beginners, you will be using all purpose flour.

Although it is not a requirement, I highly suggest that you make your sourdough starter from scratch with organic unbleached flour. There are a ton of companies out there that offer organic flours, such as King Arthur, Bob’s RedMill, and even Costco.

There are countless different types of flour that you can use whenever starting a sourdough starter. You can use white flour, all purpose flour (which is generally a type of white flour), or bread flour (also a type of white flour).

Some recipes out there for starting a sourdough starter from scratch incorporate a mixture of flour that includes rye flour, whole-grain flour, and even fresh flour that they mill at home!!!! These recipes swear that you will be able to make a quick sourdough starter at home by using the flour. They state that you will be able to bake an authentic sourdough bread loaf by the end of the week.

However, I do NOT recommend that a beginner tries to make a quick sourdough starter with rye flour or whole grain flour. I have seen countless beginners follow these quick sourdough bread starter from scratch recipes and fail, only to be discouraged from the hobby of sourdough baking. Yes, using rye flour will make the sourdough starter more active. However, a sourdough starter made with rye flour will NOT give you consistent results. Remember, sourdough is a JOURNEY and not a sprint!!! Slow and steady wins the game here. So please use all purpose flour for your sourdough starter when you are a beginner. When you become advanced in the sourdough world, then you can follow a sourdough starter from scratch recipe and use different types of flour like whole wheat flour. 

By making a sourdough starter with all purpose flour, you will create a traditional sourdough starter that is versatile and will give you consistent results. 

Water

Whenever you are feeding sourdough starter or you are making this easy sourdough starter recipe, you will need to feed it water. You can use almost any type of water when starting a sourdough starter from scratch.

Some people prefer to use bottled water. Other home bakers use tap water or even reverse osmosis water. You can use spring water, filtered rainwater, and even filtered tap water. 

When I made my own sourdough starter, I used strictly reverse osmosis water. I was able to make a successful sourdough starter without yeast with reverse osmosis water. Nowadays, I use bottled water for my own homemade starter. 

Step By Step Instructions

sourdough starter with all purpose flour

STEP 1
Clean glass jar, mixing utensils, and any other utensils you will use with dish soap and warm water. You want to make sure that all the utensils are clean so that your new sourdough starter will not be contaminated and spoiled. Remember, we are trying to create a brand new active starter by cultivating wild yeast.

Dry the glass jar. 

NOTE: You can measure how many grams the glass jar weighs and write it down. This will be helpful in the future when you need to measure the weight of your sourdough starter.

wild yeast

STEP 2
In the dry glass jar, add 25 g flour, and 25 g water and mix thoroughly. You want to make sure that everything is incorporated and that there is no dry flour on the sides of the jar.

Cover the jar and set it in a warm spot on your counter for 24 hours. If your kitchen is cold, you may set the glass jar that the homemade sourdough starter is in inside your microwave or your oven. Make sure that you take your sourdough starter out of the oven before you preheat the oven.

starting a sourdough starter from scratch

STEP 3
The next day, uncover the glass jar that your homemade sourdough starter is in. Remove 25g of sourdough starter so that there is only 25g left inside the glass jar. (The starter that you removed is called “sourdough discard”.) Throw the sourdough discard in the trash for the first ten days.

Remember, in the starter jar, there will be 25 grams of the remaining starter. To the starter jar, add 25 of water and 25 g flour into the jar. Mix thoroughly and scrape down the sides of the jar. Place a rubber band around the jar to mark the height of the sourdough starter.

Place the sourdough starter in a warm spot at room temperature. 

how to make sourdough starter without yeast

STEP 4
Repeat step 3 daily! You will be feeding and discarding your homemade sourdough starter every 24 hours. During the process, you will see small bubbles forming in your starter. That is a good sign! It means that the wild yeast is establishing. After 10 days, it is safe to start saving your sourdough discard to make delicious sourdough recipes.

feeding starter

Pro Tips:

  • BE PATIENT! Making a homemade sourdough starter takes time. Yes, this is an easy sourdough starter recipe to follow and it simply is the best. However, you also need a lot of patience. Please stay the course and continue to feed daily.
  • There will be days where your homemade starter doubles and days where it does NOT grow at all. That is okay! A young sourdough starter will be very unpredictable. Once your starter becomes a mature sourdough starter, then it will rise and double every day within a couple of hours after feeding sourdough starter.
  • Weigh your glass jar! Although this tip is not a requirement, I highly suggest you weigh the glass jar so that you keep your sourdough starter in. 
  • Use Unbleached Flours. You can use bleached flour and still create a successful sourdough starter. However, it may take longer for your homemade sourdough starter to double. Preferably, it is best to use organic flours that are unbleached.
  • Store extra sourdough start once your sourdough starter is mater so that you have a backup in case something happens to your main sourdough starter. You don’t need much starter as backup, just a little bit will suffice. 
discard recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some helpful FAQs that a lot of beginners ask and wonder about. You may find these helpful

My Homemade Sourdough Starter Has Stopped Rising! Should I throw it away?

No, do not throw your homemade sourdough starter away! It is still very much alive even though it has stopped rising. It is normal for a brand-new young sourdough starter to keep rising. Remember, the natural yeasts are still trying to become established. A brand-new sourdough starter will be unpredictable. Even if your sourdough starter has doubled or even tripled for a couple of days, and then it stops growing altogether, it does NOT mean that you need to start over.

How Do I Know If My Sourdough Starter Needs To Be Thrown Away?

There is only one reason as to why you need to throw away your sourdough starter. If your sourdough starter has any mold, you absolutely cannot salvage it. You will know if there is any mold on your sourdough starter if it has any streaks of pink, streaks of orange, or any black fuzzy mold. 

Unfortunately, mold will ruin the entire starter. When your homemade sourdough starter from scratch is mature, you can always freeze some of it so that you always have a backup starter. I have a Complete Guide On How To Freeze Sourdough Starter where I go into depth on the freezing process.

There Is a Dark Liquid On Top of My Sourdough Starter!!! Is It Safe?

Yes, it is 100% safe! That dark liquid is called hooch. If this forms, simply remove the hooch from your starter. The hooch is formed when the sourdough starter is hungry. If you see hooch on your homemade sourdough starter, you need to feed it ASAP! Feeding sourdough starter more regularly will help.

How Will I Know I Can Bake A Sourdough Loaf With This Easy Sourdough Starter Recipe?

You will know when your sourdough starter is ready to bake fresh sourdough bread when your sourdough starter doubles in size within 4 hours. If it does not double within a couple hours, keep feeding the sourdough starter. Stay the course!!! Do NOT be impatient and do not give up!!! 

sourdough starter maintenance

How Long Until I Can Bake A Sourdough Bread Loaf?

The short answer is sometime between one to three months. The long truthful answer is that it simply depends! Yes, I know that is not the answer every home baker wants to hear. However, keep in mind that we are trying to cultivate wild yeast. Natural yeasts are much different from commercial yeast. To make sourdough bread from scratch, the natural yeasts in your quick sourdough starter have to be abundant in number and also strong. If there are not enough natural yeasts and you try to bake artisan sourdough bread, then there will not be enough rise to support the bread loaf.

Many factors dictate how long until you can bake a sourdough bread loaf. The number one factor that affects every easy sourdough start recipe is the environment.

For instance, I live in Florida. My kitchen is always around 78 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for a sourdough starter and also sourdough discard recipes. It would take a shorter amount of time for a brand-new sourdough starter to be strong enough to be used for baking because it is in the ideal environment.

On the other hand, if I lived in cold Alaska, my kitchen environment would be completely different than my current kitchen environment! My kitchen would be colder, which will affect the fermentation process when making a sourdough starter. It would take longer for the natural yeasts to eat the bacteria in the flour whenever it is fed with equal parts of a cup flour and a cup water. 

What is the secret to a good sourdough starter?

The secret to a good sourdough starter is to use the type of flour that you are going to bake with. For instance, if you plan on baking with bread flour, you should create your sourdough starter with bread flour. If you are trying to figure out what type of flour to use, organic flours are the best. You can use all purpose flour, white flour, and even a mixture of flour.

Always make sure that you place your own sourdough starter in a warm place and make sure that you use a clean jar. 

Is It Worth Making Your Own Sourdough Starter?

Even though making your own sourdough starter requires some work on your end, it is 100% worth it!!! There are countless delicious sourdough recipes that you can make. You can make an amazing artisan loaf of bread. You can make different types of bread! However, bread is not the only food you can make when you have your own sourdough starter. There are a ton of delicious sourdough discard recipes out there and you are BOUND to love them. Personally, I was hesitant to try to discard recipes. However, discard recipes are now my preference over traditional recipes. With your sourdough starter discard, you can make sourdough crepes recipe, sourdough discard scones, and even homemade sourdough pasta recipe.

discard recipes
A jar of discard to make sourdough discard recipes

What is the best ratio to feed sourdough starter? 

The best ratio to feed sourdough starter is 1 part sourdough starter, 1 part flour, to 1 part water. When you feed your sourdough starter, it is best to weigh the ingredients in grams as that method provides more accuracy. 

How often should you feed sourdough starter in the fridge?

Once your sourdough starter is mature, you can leave it in the fridge and feed it once a week or as needed. I like to take mine out the morning before I bake any sourdough bread recipe, feed it at night, then bake it on day two. A mature sourdough starter is very low-maintenance 

What Is Ripe Sourdough Starter?

A ripe sourdough starter means that you have done a feeding to your sourdough starter, it has doubled and is currently at its peak. This means that it is ready to be used for baking! This is also called an active sourdough starter.

Why is sourdough starter so difficult?

Sourdough starter does not have to be so difficult! In fact, it is quite simple: mix water and flour, feed, and repeat. As long as you stay the course, you will be successful with starting a sourdough starter from scratch.

sourdough starter from scratch
5 from 1 vote

Sourdough Starter From Scratch

Learn how to make a sourdough starter from scratch the correct way! This easy sourdough starter recipe is perfect for beginners.
Xena Kai
Prep Time: 29 days 5 minutes
Total Time: 29 days 5 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Clear glass jar or cup
  • 1 Plastic Wrap or Cover For Jar
  • 1 Digital Measuring Scale
  • 1 Rubber Band Optional

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Bag Flour
  • 1 Cup Water Can be tap water, bottled water, or filtered water

Instructions
 

Day One

  • Clean your utensils with dish soap and water.
  • Add 25g of flour and 25g of water into the jar. Mix until combined. Make sure to scrape off the sides of the jar.
  • If using a rubber band, place it around the jar to mark the level of where the sourdough starter is. This will help gauge how much the starter grows. Cover the jar. Leave the glass jar in a warm place overnight.

Every Day After Day One

  • 24 hours later, remove starter from the jar so only 25g of starter is left. The starter you removed is called "sourdough discard".
  • Add 25g of water and 25g of flour into the jar. The ratio of this feeding is 1 part starter to 1 part flour to one part water (or 1:1:1). Mix thoroughly and scrape down the sides of the jar. Place rubberband on the level where the sourdough starter is. Cover the glass jar and place in a warm place.
  • Repeat daily until sourdough starter doubles in size regularly within 4-10 hours.

Notes

  1. After ten days, you can start saving the sourdough discard in a separate container. Use this to make yummy sourdough discard recipes. FIND SOURDOUGH DISCARD RECIPES HERE.
  2. There is no need to clean the glass jar daily. You can clean it as you see fit. I usually clean or change out my sourdough jar once a week.
  3. The average time it takes to make a mature sourdough starter is two months. Be patient! 
  4. Once the sourdough starter is 3 months old, you can place it in the fridge and feed it weekly or as needed.

This Post Was All About Sourdough Starter From Scratch

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