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Sourdough starter in a jar.

Sourdough Starter Recipe

Learn how to make a Sourdough Starter from scratch the easy way with this comprehensive, step-by-step tutorial. It's easy to cultivate a strong starter that will have you baking healthy sourdough bread in about 7 days!
Prep Time5 mins
Fermentation Time7 d
Total Time7 d 5 mins
Author: Amy Duska

Equipment Needed

  • Wide Mouth Mason Jar with Lid
  • Offset Spatula
  • Baker's Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (720 g) all-purpose flour (unbleached)
  • ½ cup (60 g) whole wheat flour (see notes)
  • water

Instructions

  • Day 1: Mix ½ cup (60 g) whole wheat flour, ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour and ½ cup (120 g) water in a clean jar. Cover the jar loosely and leave it in a warm area, 70°F (21°C), for 24 hours.
  • Day 2: Stir the starter, cover the jar loosely and let it rest for 24 hours.
  • Days 3-7:  Add 2 tablespoons (30 g) of starter from the day before to a clean jar along with ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour and ¼ cup (60 g) water. Stir until smooth, cover loosely and let rest at room temperature for 24 hours. 
  • Repeat daily feedings until the starter is ready to bake with. You'll know it's ready when it doubles in size within 4-12 hours after feeding it, the texture looks light and fluffy with plenty of bubbles on the surface and around the sides of the jar. Colder kitchens will take longer than warmer kitchens.

Notes

  • Most importantly, try not to stress yourself out while you build your first starter. Feed your starter every day, keep it in a warm spot and forget about it until the next day!
  • Another way to find out if your starter is ready, is to perform a "float test". When the starter has doubled in size, drop a tablespoon into a jar of room temperature water. If it floats, it a good indication it is ready to bake with. If it drops to the bottom keep feeding and try again.
  • If you are struggling to get your starter to take hold, try the following method until your starter is ready.
    • Mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 3 cups of all-purpose flour in a container with a lid. This is what you will feed your starter with until it is ready.
    • Each day discard all but 2 tablespoons of starter from the previous day and feed it with ½ cup of the flour mixture and ¼ cup of water. 12 hours later stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 teaspoons of water to help give it more food to eat until the next feeding.