Sourdough Starter Recipe

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Gwendolyn Lawrence Modified: March 24, 2022
Sourdough Starter Recipe

How To Make Sourdough Starter

Make your own homemade sourdough starter to work on baking a rich sourdough bread! It’s made with just 4 ingredients for a great starter.

Preparation: 15 days
Total: 15 days



  • cupwhole wheat flour,plus more for feeding
  • cupbread flour,plus more feeding
  • cupwarm water,plus more for feeding
  • cool water,for testing


Day 1:

  1. Add the whole wheat flour, bread flour, and warm water to a clear lidded container with a capacity of 1 pint or more.

  2. Mix until there are no dry spots. Scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula. Cover with a lid.

  3. Use a rubber band or piece of tape to mark the mixture level.

  4. Set the starter in a warm spot. Let sit for 24 hours.

Day 2:

  1. After 24 hours, open the container and look for signs of fermentation in the form of bubbles on top, volume growth, or a musty, slightly sweet acidic smell.

  2. If not, cover the starter again and let sit for another 12 to 24 hours, until these signs appear.

  3. Once the starter has gotten a bit bubbly, discard all but about 2 tablespoons of starter.

  4. Add another ⅓ cup of warm water, then stir to dissolve the remaining starter.

  5. Add ⅓ cup of bread flour and ⅓ cup of whole wheat flour, then stir until there are no dry spots.

  6. Cover and let sit in a warm spot for another 24 hours.

Days 3 to 15:

  1. Repeat the feeding process every day for 7 to 14 days. Once the starter is rising and falling regularly, it is in a good place.

Float Test:

  1. Fill a cup with cool water.

  2. Use a clean spoon to take a scoop of the starter, being careful not to stir the starter and deflate the air bubbles that make it float, then carefully plop it in the water.

  3. If it floats, it is gassy and alive and ready to make some bread.

  4. If not, either wait longer if it has only been a few hours since feeding, or if it has been closer to 24 hours since feeding, discard and feed again.

  5. After passing the float test, the starter is ready to use for baking. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • If using the starter when it is young, only a few hours after feeding when it just passes the float test, it will smell sweet. For a more sour taste, use the starter 6 to 12 hours after feeding, when it will be more mature and smell a bit more vinegary and musty.
  • Mold: If there are any fuzzy moldy spots on the starter that are black, red, or blue unless it is very easy to scrape them off the top, but unfortunately, one would need to start over. Sometimes, a while after feeding or being in the refrigerator, the starter will develop a dark, clear liquid on top. This is called hooch and is harmless. Just pour the liquid off!
  • Flour: Use what flour is available. Just know that the starter may need to feed more often because it gets musty more quickly.
  • Discard: It may be tempting not to discard most of the starter every time it’s fed, but discarding has a variety of reasons. This gives the starter a lot of fresh food and water to eat. If not discarded, the starter will retain a lot of that musty smell and also eventually grow to be huge if one just keeps adding water and flour to it. It can be discarded into another container and keep that container in the refrigerator until needed for other baking projects. The discard mix can be folded into banana bread, pancakes, cookies, etc.
  • Storage: Once the starter is up and running, either keep it at room temperature and feed it daily, or store it in the refrigerator. To store in the refrigerator, do a regular discard and feed, then place in the refrigerator. A day before making bread, pull the starter out and let it come to room temperature. Then, discard and feed as usual.
  • Scaling: This starter recipe calls for equal amounts of water and total flour by weight. Scale this recipe up or down as needed, depending on how much starter the recipe was chosen calls for.


  • Calories: 300.86kcal
  • Fat: 1.76g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.28g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.18g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.80g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.91g
  • Fiber: 5.38g
  • Sugar: 0.31g
  • Protein: 10.75g
  • Sodium: 4.87mg
  • Calcium: 22.82mg
  • Potassium: 190.87mg
  • Iron: 3.45mg
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