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How to Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch

How to make a sourdough starter from scratch and why buying a starter is a waste of money.

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It’s easy to make a healthy sourdough starter from scratch. All it takes is patience and a little know-how. Here is everything you need to know to make a bubbling and delicious sourdough starter.

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 oz flour (approx. 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 oz chlorine-free water (1.5 Tbsp)
  • Additional flour and water as needed, see notes

Instructions

  1. Make sure to use flour that doesn’t contain any additives and beware of bread flour. The additives do not help catch and maintain a sourdough starter. It’s best if you can find plain milled flour.
  2. Create your starter by mixing the flour and water in a glass container. Mix it with a fork and loosely cover with a tea towel and leave it in a warm spot. (Above the fridge works well).
  3. Check the starter twice a day and mix vigorously with a fork to bring air into the mixture. It should start forming bubbles within 2 to 7 days (depending on your air quality, see above for details).
  4. Once it has started to smell sour and is bubbling, then you need to feed the starter daily. For the first feeding add 2 oz (6 Tbsp) of flour and 2 oz (3 Tbsp) of water and mix vigorously to incorporate air. 
  5. Keep feeding the starter daily (see section above for details). Within 4-5 days, of feeding, you should have an active, bubbling culture. That means you are ready to bake bread!

Notes

  • If you end up baking a lot of bread, then I recommend getting a digital scale that has a zeroing function to make feeding easy.
  • The exact ratio of water to flour will depend on whether you’re using white, spelt, rye, etc. The goal is to make a thick, fully hydrated mix, but it shouldn’t be stiff. It will become more liquidy as the yeasts and lactic bacteria start to break down the starches. However, feel free to adjust the water to flour ratio as necessary.
  • I don’t believe in wasting sourdough starter, which is why I only start feeding my starter AFTER it has started to bubble. See the section above for information on how to feed your sourdough starter and avoid sourdough discard.

Keywords: feeding, hooch, vegan, dairy free, egg free, simple, easy, homemade, discard, no discard, probiotic