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Overhead photo of a glass jar filled with active sourdough starter.

How to Make A Sourdough Starter

Arlene Mobley - Flour On My Face
Have you ever wanted to make your own Artisan style sourdough bread but had no idea how? Here are step by step instructions to making a sourdough starter that you can use for all your favorite sourdough recipes.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 7 d 2 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 7 d 2 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 303 kcal


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 2 cups unchlorinated water
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How To Make Sourdough Starter Day One

  • In a clean glass jar place ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
  • Pour ½ cup of room temperature unchlorinated water into the jar.
  • Stir until combined with a plastic or wooden chopstick.
  • Place the coffee filter over the top and secure with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm spot away from cold air.
  • After 4 hours remove the coffee filter and add 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Add just enough water so you can stir the mixture well.
  • Repeat adding the 2 tablespoons of flour and water one more time before going to bed.

How To Make Sourdough Starter Day Two

  • In the morning add 2 more tablespoons of flour and enough water to stir well.
  • Repeat this step three or four times over the course of day two.

How To Make Sourdough Starter Day Three to Day Seven

  • Repeat adding 2 tablespoons of flour and water for the next two days. By the third or fourth day you might see a small amount of liquid form on the top. This is called houch. You can mix the houch in or carefully pour it off.
  • You will also begin to see foamy bubbles form on the top of the sourdough starter. Congratulations your sourdough starter is coming to life.
  • But wait. Your sourdough starter is not active enough to bake with just yet. Continue to feed the sourdough starter for another 2 to 3 days. You can increase the amount of flour and water ratio if you are in a hurry to bake. The more bubbles you see the more active your sourdough starter is becoming.
  • The warmer you keep your growing sourdough starter the faster it will become active.
  • Once you see a large number of active bubbles form on the top and in the sourdough starter you can bake. It can take from 3 days to 7 days to grow an active sourdough starter.

How To Store Sourdough Starter

  • Once you have an active sourdough starter you can keep it in the refrigerator when you are not baking. Keep a clean coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth over the top of the jar and place it in the refrigerator.
  • You can also keep your starter on the counter in a safe place. Keep it covered and feed it once a week.

How To Feed and Activate a Refrigerated Sourdough Starter

  • While your starter is in the refrigerator it will go dormant. You can easily bring it back to life by taking the sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and begin feeding it before you plan to bake.
  • Feed a refrigerated sourdough starter at least once a month. Take it out of the refrigerator and feed it once or twice throughout the day. Once it shows active bubble return it to the refrigerator.
  • Sourdough starter can last years as long as you keep feeding it occasionally.

Baking with a Refrigerated Sourdough Starter

  • To bake with a refrigerated sourdough starter take the jar of inactive sourdough starter out of the refrigerator 24 to 48 hours before baking. Begin feeding the dormant sourdough starter 3 or 4 times in a 24 hour period to reactivate it.
  • Do not feed the sourdough starter right before using it. Feed it for the last time the night before you plan to bake. A newly fed sourdough starter will need at least 4 hours but can take up to 8 hours to become active enough to back with. The more active and alive to sourdough starter is the less time that can take.



Other Supplies Needed

  • plastic or wooden chopstick
  • cheesecloth or paper coffee filter
  • rubberband

How To Make Sourdough Starter Tips

  • If you are in a hurry to bake you may increase the amount of flour and water ration to ¼ a cup of flour for each feeding. You will accumulate a large amount of sourdough starter this way.
  • You can transfer the starter to a larger container or just pour off the excess starter when your jar starts to get too full.
  • The warmer it is the faster your sourdough starter will become active.
  • The first few times you bake with your new sourdough starter you may not get much of a rise. Continue to add flour and water to your starter to keep it alive. The older you sourdough starter is the more active it will become.


Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 4mg
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