Make a sourdough starter

I was never a fan of sourdough till I met my husband, he really likes it. So being the good wife I am, I gave it a second chance and you know what? I like it too! What I don’t like is buying it and why should I have to when I can make my own. The key to good sourdough bread is a good sourdough starter.

Yes you could go online and buy a starter but you don’t have to. Believe it our not you have everything you need to make a sourdough starter right in your house. It is such an easy process too! So if you like a nice sourdough bread, then you have to make you own starter.

So how does one go about making a sourdough started? Well I am glad you asked! Go to your kitchen, get a large jar, some flour and some water….. Go on, I’ll wait. I used distilled water because we are on city water and you know they have to put all kinds of microbe killing things in there and with sourdough you want, no you need microorganisms (aka bacteria and yeasts.) Whisk together 3 Tablespoons of water and 1/4 cup flour and put it in your jar. Now I covered my jar with cheesecloth so it could gather bacteria and yeast when I set it outside but not allow bugs and such in. I put mine outside because I really wanted to catch the wonderful wild yeasts that blow on the wind.

Now keep in mind, a sourdough starter is a living thing. You must care for it and feed it. Every morning and every night for 1 week, give it 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 water whisked in and recover. Within 48 hours I already had bubbles! Obviously I caught some wild yeast when I set the starter outside. After a week of feeding your starter it will be ready to be stored in your refrigerator. (Feed it about once a week once it is in the fridge) When you are ready to bake, just take your starter out about 12 hours before hand, feed it 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water and it will be ready to use!

Now do not freak out if you get a brown liquid on your starter, this is called “hooch.” Do not throw your starter out if you get hooch! All it mean is you gave your stater too much water for the amount of flour you put in or you didn’t feed it often enough. It is harmless and you just pour it off. Sourdough is very resilient and will bounce back once you start feeding it properly again.

If your starter jar gets to full, you can either remove some and give it to a friend or better yet, get baking!!! There are so many wonderful recipes out there for sourdough breads. Making a sourdough starter is also a great experiment for kids. It not only teaches them about microorganisms, but it will teach them responsibility as they have to feed it just like a pet. And since it is a living thing it is a pet so to speak. I realized this the other day when I posted on my Facebook page about making a starter and Wendla responded with the tale of her families starter:

I have Herman living in my fridge. He’s been with me for 30 + years and was originally mailed from Fairbanks Alaska to my mother in law in Burbank Calif. by her sister. He’s a living thing so he needed a name. Herman just sounded good. He was feed very well for.the trip to Calif. , put in a small glass jar that was packed in a coffee can packed in a cardboard box and mailed.

What a neat story!!!! So what are you waiting for? Get busy and make a starter. who know, you might make a new “friend!” Hmmmm now what should I name mine……….


Need a recipe for bread or maybe pancakes? Yup, I got you covered on what to do with your starter once it ready!




14 thoughts on “Make a sourdough starter

  1. Does this need to be done at a certain time of year – say when it is warmer? Once the starter is done (after a week) and you put it in the fridge, do you still feed it? Do you have a recipe using this starter in making bread? How do you know if it is a good starter or not?

    1. Vickie you can do it anytime but warmer months are better for collecting wild yeast and growth. People do do it in their homes during wonter as wild yeast is everywhere. Once it is in the fridge it kind of sleeps, if that makes sense, you still need to feed it around once a week, some people claim to let it go longer, you just have to watch your "hooch.". I will be posting a recipe just as soon as my starter is "ready" another week or so. And you know your starter is good because it smells sour LOL and when you make bread with it, the bread rises 🙂

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your wonderful article, Make a Sourdough Starter, has been selected as one of the favorites on Thursdays at the Homestead Blog Hop this week! Hop on over and claim your “I was featured” button and proudly display it on your sidebar and Thank you again for participating…we can’t wait to see what article you submit next! See ya next Blog Hop!

  3. That sounds amazing, now if one does this in the winter time, should it be kept indoors? We get VERY cold winters here. Also, I would be interested in seeing your recipe for bread or at least something that you use this in. I haven't done this kind of thing for so many years that I have not got a clue how to use a starter. My hubby loves sourdough bread and I would really score some great points if I could make him some yummy sourdough bread. LOL!
    Thanks! Cindy

    1. You can use the sourdough starter in any recipe including one for a bread machine. I don't use one so I don't have a recipe geared for one. Sorry 🙁

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