Sourdough: Starting a Starter

I’ve been getting questions about my sourdough lately, and while I’m no expert (far from it!), I thought I would tell you about mine.

Nick’s dad actually started one while we were at their house over Christmas, and I brought some home with me.

But then I killed it by stirring it with a metal spoon, so I had to start my own.

I used the steps on this website to start my starter (which is the info Bob printed out for me), and it’s worked great!

You can probably find hundreds of hits if you google “sourdough” – and there tons of variations on the starter, too. Some call for sugar, some call for potatoes.

The one I made is super easy, and all you need is flour and water.

That’s it!

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The first week is the only time you really need to pay attention to it, believe it or not.

To start a sourdough starter, take 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water and mix it together (with a plastic or wooden spoon – no metal!) in a large bowl or container.

Let it sit (covered with a towel or plastic) for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, you’ll “feed” the starter by pouring out half of the flour/water mix, and adding another 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the bowl.

Let it sit, again, for 24 hours.

You’ll keep “feeding” it the same way every 24 hours until the mixture is bubbly and is starting to smell…well, sour. This can take anywhere from 3 days – 1 week.

The great thing about a starter? Once you get it bubbly and sour, you just put it in a container with a lid (like my jar above) and keep it in the fridge.

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Then you can feed it about once a week or whenever you have it out to use it.

So on weekends when we’re making pancakes, I’m also feeding my starter and I put whatever doesn’t go in the pancake recipe back into my jar and into the fridge.

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I’m still working on my bread – I haven’t had a great loaf yet, but the sourdough pancakes we’ve been eating are amazing. And I like knowing that we’re making them from scratch, and that we know everything that’s in them.

Honestly, keeping this sourdough the past month has made me feel so much more connected to my food, if that makes any sense. It’s inspiring me to bake more, to make more, and to find more recipes I can make myself. I’ve also been digging up old family recipes to make again – those posts are going to be fun :)

Sourdough starter was something I was totally terrified of when I first started, but it’s so easy. I promise that if you start one and just take the time to feed it or make something with it once a week, it will be worth it.

And if anyone has any recipes using sourdough starter, send them my way! I’d love to try new recipes (especially for things other than bread), and am always on the lookout.

Just don’t be scared – it’s only flour and water.

And, if you kill a batch like I did, you can always start over! I like having a guarantee like that.

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12 comments

  1. Sourdough is one of my favorites but I never thought to make my own.

    I love that you are more connected to the food by doing it yourself. That’s how I feel when I make my own food at home instead of ordering out.

  2. i like that you feel connected to your food when you make it. it definitely seems like you’d be able to appreciate it more

  3. Sour dough pancakes… that sounds intresting

  4. I’ve always been curiosu about starters! Thanks for all of the info. I LOVE sourdough!

  5. I never knew how to do a starter; this is so much simpler than I thought it’d be

  6. Oh! I like this post. This is something I knew nothing about.

  7. Very informative. For some reason I’ve never thought about making my own. There seems to be a lot of gifting of fantastically old starters.

  8. I LOVE this! I really want to make sourdough bread but have been so nervous with the whole feeder thing – thanks!!

  9. Pingback: Sourdough Saturday «

  10. Brandi, have you ever had mold develop on your starter? what do you do if that happens?? does that mean it is bad? i had some white fuzzy mold develop on the small bits of starter that accumulated on the side of the bowl i have it in. i tried to scrape them off, but i might have stirred some in before i noticed it. should i start over?

    • Hmm….great question!

      I’ve never had a mold develop on mine. I do often have dark hooch (liquid) on the top of my starter if I haven’t used it in a while, but that’s fine to stir back in.

      Do you have it in a sealed container in the fridge when you’re not using it? That should keep it from molding.

  11. Your hyper link for the website of the recipe does not work..

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