Sourdough From Scratch

There is something about making bread that is both very satisfying and a little bit magical. A simple mixture of flour, water and yeast – with a little abuse (kneading)  and a bit of love (a warm place to rise) – turns into a nutritious, filling, food that has sustained people for centuries. Taking that experience one step further –  “making” your own yeast with a sourdough starter from scratch –  turns a merely wonderful loaf of homemade bread into a work of art for your taste buds.

Starting your own sourdough from scratch is not a difficult process. You don’t need a degree in chemistry or microbiology, you don’t need to be home every day at the same time to tend to the starter, and you don’t need to order a freeze dried starter and wait for it to arrive with the mail. You do need flour, water, a spoon, a plastic or glass container, and a little bit of patience, because we can’t make our first loaf of bread until the starter has been fermenting for a week.

There are many many different ways to start and feed a sourdough starter. The following method is one I use, and have taught successfully with everyone from high school freshmen to experienced bread bakers.

Day 1: Combine 1/2 cup of non-chlorinated water (use distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled) and 3/4 cup rye flour in a 2 quart or larger container. You may add 1/8 tsp. of honey to get the starter off to a good start, but it’s not necessary. I usually add honey if I am starting this process in the winter when my house is cold, and leave it out if I am starting this process during warmer weather.

Loosely cover the container and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: Stir the mixture and discard half of it. This can be an approximate thing, you don’t have to actually measure it. Add 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of rye flour to the container and stir to mix. Cover and let sit for another 24 hours.

Days 3 – 6: Each day discard half of the starer and add 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of unbleached, all-purpose flour. Stir to combine. You should see bubbles by day 3 or 4, but don’t panic if you don’t. If you don’t see bubbles and your house is cold, move the container to the top of the refrigerator (it’s usually pretty warm there) or near the pilot light on a gas stove to get the fermentation process going.

Day 3

Day 7: We’ll be baking soon! Stir the starter well. Discard half of the starter and this time add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour. (This will make one very large loaf or two regular sized loaves of bread.) Let sit in a warm place for about 6 hours or until quite bubbly. The starter is now ready to use. Check back next week for the actual bread making experience. In the meantime, I am happy to answer any questions or take suggestions!

Day 7

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

Comments (35)

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  1. […] and that means no sourdough starter too! But once the starter is established (see how to do this here) it’s pretty easy to keep it alive without catering to it every day. Here are some […]

  2. […] had a wonderful response to last week’s Sourdough from Scratch post, but received few questions. That means either everyone’s starter is bubbling away and […]

  3. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (any kind will work but I made this a rye starter by adding 2 cups of rye flour on day 7. See starter directions here.) […]

  4. […] course, you can always throw out your dead starter and start all over again. A mature starter though has much more complex flavor than a new starter, so I do recommend […]

  5. […] Yeast Blog. And if you are looking to start your own sourdough from scratch see our posts on how to get your starter going, how to keep it going, and how to revive a dead starter too! Share […]

  6. […] 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (learn how to make your own here) […]

  7. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (see how to get your starter going here) […]

  8. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to start yours here) […]

  9. […] 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (learn how to make your own here) […]

  10. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (see how to get your starter going here) […]

  11. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (learn how to make your own starter here) […]

  12. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (learn how to make your own here) […]

  13. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to start yours here) […]

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  16. […] 2 cups starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  17. […] (just add Kamut® instead of all-purpose flour on day 7 of the feeding schedule you can find here) and used more Kamut® in the […]

  18. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  19. […] 2 Tbsp ripe sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  20. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  21. […] 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  22. […] 1/2 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own sourdough starter here) […]

  23. […] 1 1/2 cups rye sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  24. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  25. […] 1 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  26. […] 1 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  27. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  28. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  29. […] 1 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  30. […] 1 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  31. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  32. […] 1/2 cup sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  33. […] 2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here) […]

  34. […] 1 cup sourdough starter (find out how to start yours here) […]

  35. […] If you are new to sourdough you can find out all about it here, here and here. Also,  I will be adding more sourdough information in this Urban Homesteading […]

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