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Making a sourdough starter from scratch is a simple process that requires only two ingredients: flour and water. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create your own sourdough starter. I's a first step you need to make for baking a delicious artisan sourdough bread.


  • Whole grain or all-purpose flour. Whole grain flour contains more natural yeast and bacteria, making it a good choice for starting a sourdough culture. However, you can also use all-purpose flour. I like to use rye flour.
  • Water. Use filtered or dechlorinated water. Chlorinated water can inhibit the growth of natural yeast and bacteria.
  1. Day 1: Combine 1/2 cup (60g) of whole grain or all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup (60ml) of water in a glass or plastic container. Stir well to combine, ensuring there are no dry flour pockets. The mixture should resemble thick pancake batter. Cover the container loosely with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature (around 70°F or 21°C) for 24 hours. 
  2. Day 2: Check the mixture for any signs of bubbles or expansion. If you see small bubbles forming on the surface, it means wild yeast and bacteria are starting to develop. If there are no bubbles, don't worry; it might take a bit longer. Discard half of the mixture (about 1/2 cup) and add another 1/2 cup of flour (60g) and 1/4 cup (60ml) of water. Stir well to combine, cover loosely, and let it sit at room temperature for another 24 hours. 
  3. Days 3-7: Continue the feeding process daily. Discard half of the mixture and add equal parts flour and water (1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup water). By Day 3 or 4, you should notice more bubbles and a slightly tangy aroma. The starter should begin to rise and fall predictably. Around Day 3-7, your starter should be ready to use. It should have a pleasant sour smell, be bubbly, and have doubled in size within a few hours of feeding. 


  • Maintain consistency: Try to feed your starter at the same time every day to establish a regular feeding schedule. 
  • Patience is key: If your starter doesn't seem active at first, don't worry. It might take a few extra days to fully develop. Wild yeast and bacteria are natural and can vary from place to place, so your timeline might differ from others
  • Use the right flour. While you can create a starter with all-purpose flour, using whole grain flour in the initial stages can help kickstart the fermentation process due to its higher microbial content.
  • Maintain the right environment. Keep your starter at a consistent room temperature. Too cold, and the fermentation process will slow down. Too hot, and it might develop off-flavors. 

Once your sourdough starter is active and bubbly, you can use it to bake delicious sourdough bread and other baked goods! Remember to continue feeding your starter regularly if you keep it out at room temperature, or store it in the fridge and feed it weekly if you don't bake as frequently.

Photo via Pixabay

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