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4.67 from 9 votes

Homemade Sourdough Starter

Author: Jennifer Locklin


  • 1 packet rapid rise dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  • Day 1:
  • Dissolve yeast in a large non-reactive mixing bowl with warm water. (Glass, crockery, plastic or stainless steel)
  • Stir in flour and whisk until well mixed.
  • Cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 24 hours.

  • Day 2:
  • You may see a little bubbling or you may not by day 2, that’s ok. Discard half of the starter.
  • Add 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup lukewarm water.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Cover and let rest at room temperature for another 24 hours.

  • Day 3:
  • You should be seeing some bubbling by now and an increase in volume. Now you will start with regular daily feedings.
  • Discard 1 cup of starter.
  • Add 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup lukewarm water; whisk to mix well.
  • Cover and let rest at room temperature for another 24 hours.

  • Day 4:
  • Repeat day 3 process.

  • Day 5:
  • Repeat day 3 process. By now the starter should have at least doubled in size and have lots of bubbles at the top. Starter should have a sour, tangy aroma.

  • To Use:
  • If you’ve been keeping your starter in the refrigerator, you’ll need to feed the starter and warm it up to room temperature for at least 4 hours - so plan ahead. Once the starter is bubbling and doubling in volume, remove what you need for your recipe and set it aside. Feed the remaining sourdough starter with 1 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup all-purpose flour; whisk until smooth. Allow the starter to feed for 2 hours at room temperature, then place back in the refrigerator.

  • Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter
  • If you’re a hardcore baker and intent on using your sourdough starter multiple times a week, then you’ll want to keep it at room temperature, feeding once-a-day like this:

  • Maintaining At Room Temperature: Daily Feeding
  • Stir the starter well and discard all but 1 cup of starter.
  • Stir in 1 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Cover and repeat every 24 hours.

  • This is what I did in the beginning, but now I’m a little more laid back about it so I do the following method:

  • Maintaining in the refrigerator: Once-A-Week Feeding
  • Once you have a viable starter, store the starter in an airtight container. I keep mine in a large hermetic clamp jar in my refrigerator.
  • Once a week, take your starter out of the refrigerator. (There may be dark brownish to grayish liquid on top. drain this off; this is just alcohol from the fermentation process.)
  • Discard all but 1 cup of starter - this discarded portion can be used in the pancakes I mentioned about. I usually do this process on Saturday mornings when I cook a late breakfast/brunch for my family. The discard can also be used in pizza dough, crackers and other baked goods - coming soon!

  • Add 1 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup all-purpose flour; whisk until smooth and cover.
  • Allow starter to rest on your kitchen counter, which will warm it up a bit and allow it to begin feeding. After 2 to 4 hours return to the refrigerator.


If your starter develops a dark liquid on top - even a bluish black, it’s ok. Really! The first time I saw it on mine my heart sunk. I just knew I ruined all my hard work. But after reading many articles, I discovered that this liquid is a result of a hungry starter and is a liquid alcohol produced by the fermentation process. I even read that coal miners used to drink it when they were desperate for some alcohol…gross!
I usually pour off the hooch and stir in any remaining residue of liquid on top back into its “mother” (the starter), then proceed with my feeding schedule. Really, it’s ok! I’ve done this many times.