Foolproof Sourdough Starter Recipe (2024)

Isn’t sourdough the best!?! So crusty & chewy – especially right out of the oven. Today I’ll walk you through creating & maintaining your own sourdough starter, so you can enjoy fresh-baked bread at home.

Foolproof Sourdough Starter Recipe (1)

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Making your own sourdough may seem challenging – it intimidated the heck outta me – but it’s easier than you’d think!

In just a week’s time, you can be eating delicious sourdough bread.

The day-to-day maintenance is very easy…you just have to be deliberate about it.

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In the beginning, it can help to have reminders on your phone, so it’s fed properly to get started.

But after it’s established, they’re pretty resilient and you only need to bother when it’s time to bake.

Did you know it’s an old superstition to name your sourdough starter?

It’s wild yeast! Believe it or not, yeast is present everywhere. It’s on surfaces, in the air, and also in flour

In fact, before we had instant yeast or active-dry yeast, wild yeast was it!

BUT it takes time to cultivate and would be a little tricky to send to market, so commercial producers came up with the new-fangled versions of yeast for ease of production and storage.

The basic concept of sourdough is allowing this wild yeast to take hold, feeding over time, getting sourer, and fermenting into a delicious bread base.

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Where do you want to start?

Click below to learn more!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Now let’s walk through the 5-day process of creating your sourdough starter!

Using your scale – in your non-reactive container – combine..

  • 4 oz of flour
  • 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

Give it a good mix and store it in a warm spot – I keep ours on top of the fridge.

Make sure that it’s covered – to keep dust and debris out – but still breathable.

Oxygen is key for your starter to develop. If you put a solid lid on it, it will probably die. I learned that the hard way…

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For my “lid” I put a paper towel on top of the container and secure it with a rubber band.

Let it sit for about a day. This gives the wild yeast time to develop.

At this point, you may or may not see activity in your starter.

Bubbles are a good thing, but it’s still early.

Discard 2/3 of your starter.

To start out, this typically just goes in the trash. However, once your flavor starts to develop – which takes a month or so – you can start using this discard in a variety of tasty recipes.

So far, I’ve made sourdough pancakes, waffles, crepes, and crackers using my discards.

Once you’ve discarded, add…

  • 4 oz of flour
  • 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

Mix well and store, covered, back in your warm place for another day.

On the third day, you should start to see more bubbles in your starter. It may even begin to have a sour taste or smell.

Same as before, discard 2/3 of your starter & add…

  • 4 oz of flour
  • 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

Mix well, and store in a warm place.

The fourth day is business as usual. We’re still feeding your starter and waiting for that sour taste to develop.

Hopefully, you see a few more bubbles every day.

Discard 2/3 of your starter & add…

  • 4 oz of flour
  • 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

Mix well and store in a warm place.

Today your starter should be ready to bake!

I would still go through the exercise of discarding 2/3 and feeding it again, but at this point, it should be good to go.

You can test it by dropping a small spoonful of starter in a glass of water.

If it floats, it’s ready!

If it sinks, continue with the feeding regimen until it does float.

Keep in mind that it will most likely take a month or two for the real sour flavor to develop, so it will be a mild sourdough to start out.

However, at this point, it should be active enough to give you that delightful sourdough texture and you’ll gain the benefits of baking with fermented products.

Your new sourdough starter will need to be maintained indefinitely, but don’t worry – it’s not that much to commit to!

Luckily, your starter does just fine with hibernating in the fridge…

I’ve left mine in there for weeks at a time & never had issues.

Just take it out the day before you want to bake. Give it time to warm up to room temperature before feeding – at least a few hours.

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Discard 2/3 and feed…

  • 4-6 oz of flour
  • matching amount of non-chlorinated water

If you’re about to bake, you may want to feed more, but for general maintenance, 4oz is still fine.

Give it a day to eat and either…

  • Do your float test to see if it’s ready to bake
  • Put it back in the fridge for storage

Keep in mind that if it ever gets an orange or pink hue to it, throw it out! That means it’s been taken over by bad bacteria – it’s spoiled & time to start over.

But that’s it! Just feed your starter every weekend, watching the sour flavor develop over time, and you’ll always have the means for delicious sourdough bread!

Sourdough Starter Tips & Trick

Using the Right Water

The BIGGEST tip I can give you – use non-chlorinated water!

Chlorine & other bad bacteria in your faucet water can kill off your sourdough before it even starts.

Believe me…I’ve lost a few starters to the dreaded pink & orange liquid…

But never fear, it’s super easy to turn regular water into good sourdough water. Just leave it out for 24 hours.

Seriously, just fill a jug with water – we use our old gallon milk jugs – and leave it out, with the lid off, for 24 hours.

Now your water is prepped & you’re ready to get sourdough-ing!

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Flour Options

Most sourdough starters use all-purpose flour, but – if you want to get zesty – you do have options…

It’s possible to add wheat, rye, or even spelt to your sourdough!

And though I have no personal experience with alternative flours, there are a lot of great resources out there to help you out.

Your Storage Container

Your little sourdough buddy is going to need a container to call home.

And because it’s alive and fermenting, aluminum & metals are a big no no.

They can sometimes react with your starter causing damage to the sourdough, the containers, or both!

However, I will admit…this is a lot less common with newer containers.

Against advice, I’ve stored mine in a metal mixing bowl for short stints and nothing bad happend.

BUT I do still recommend a glass or ceramic container for long-term storage.

It also doesn’t hurt to have a backup, since the primary container will need to be washed every once in a while.

So what do you think?Are you ready to make your own sourdough starter? In just five days, you can be eating homemade sourdough bread.

If you liked this article, please share it tospread the sourdough love.

What’s your favorite type of bread to bake?Send us an email or leave a comment below! You can also let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or Pinterestpages.

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Sourdough Starter Recipe


  • All-purpose flour
  • Non-chlorinated water
  • Glass or ceramic container
  • Scale


Day 1

    In a glass or ceramic container, combine...

    - 4 oz of flour

    - 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

    Place in a warm spot - like the top of your fridge - for 24 hours

Day 2

    You may start to see bubbles appear - that's a good thing!

    Discard 2/3 of your starter & add...

    - 4 oz of flour

    - 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

    Mix well & store back in your warm spot for another 24 hours

Day 3

    Should have a few more bubbles today.

    Again, discard 2/3 of your starter & add...

    - 4 oz of flour

    - 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

    Mix well & store back in your warm spot for another 24 hours

Day 4

    Should be fairly bubbly at this point, perhaps with a sour taste or smell

    Again, discard 2/3 of your starter & add...

    - 4 oz of flour

    - 4 oz of non-chlorinated water

    Mix well & store back in your warm spot for another 24 hours

Day 5

    Your starter is ready to bake! You can test by dropping a small amount in a glass of water.

    If it floats, you're can start baking sourdough bread!

    If it sinks, repeat the feeding process until it floats


If stored at room temperature, your starter would benefit from a couple of feedings a week.

For long term storage, keep it in the fridge and repeat the discard & feed process prior to baking.

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Foolproof Sourdough Starter Recipe (2024)
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