Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Make Sourdough Starter

I cannot believe I entered into the land of sourdough. How did this happen?? Well, like many other things I thought I'd never be able to do, sourdough was one of them. Then about a month or so ago I had a friend visiting who also has five kids and she said she made it all the time! So of course I thought, "man if she can do it, and hers are younger than mine, than maybe I can?"

So with her encouragement, I threw a cup of water and a cup of flour in a glass jar and mixed it up. At first I didn't know what I was doing, and everything online says to do different stuff and I was getting confused fast. So here is what I learned in the last five weeks and how I finally got the best batch of sourdough!

Making a Starter.

Making the starter isn't hard, but it takes patience, and if you don't mind eating bread that flops until you get it right, then this will work for you. Here's what worked for me:

  1. In a glass (or ceramic) container mix 1 Cup flour with 1 Cup water. (no plastic or metal)
  2. Stir with wooden spoon. (only wood) 
  3. Each day it should look like it's risen a little bit with bubbles and should not be too thick. Think consistency of cake or biscuit batter as opposed to dough.
  4. Every day add 1/3 Cup or so flour and water to "feed it" and mix. (I didn't follow the exact measurements because that was too difficult for me. I pretended like if I'm making bread from scratch then I'm like a prehistoric person who doesn't own proper measuring devices and God will help me.)
  5. Stir at least once, or twice if your feeling like it, per day. (I am using this as a "pet" for my children hoping they will forget about the hamster they want so bad by feeding and stirring this)
  6. Cover with a thin "tea towel" or any cotton, breathable cloth. (I use a thin kitchen towel)
  7. After 5-7 days of this, your starter should be sour smelling. Start using it to bake and see how it goes. 
I got this adorable 70's looking ceramic flour canister from 
a thrift store which is perfect for my starter!

*Also note, no one says this anywhere so I really am loving you way more than other bloggers by telling you this... you can leave your starter out all the time as long as you stir and feed daily, and you DON'T have to feed it a lot. Feed it a little, it grows a little, feed it a lot, it grows a lot. So how much bread are you going to be making? Daily? Weekly? Feed it accordingly and leave it out.

*Putting it in the fridge confused me because it got funky and I am making bread everyday so I don't need it in the fridge. But you can google that if you are concerned, like for going out of town etc.

Hope these little tips helped you!!
Happy Fermenting!


  1. Yumm! I think I need to make me a starter, and find a pretty little canister to put it in! Love your new blog header!

    1. thanks! being sick in bed is never unproductive for me. I got to rest and create a header :) - if you want a cup of my starter I can give you one, just bring your container over!

  2. My method was less patient. I began with one cup flour, one cup water, and one half packet of yeast. In two days, it was nice and sour and ready to go.

    I also used a plastic container and metal spoon. Made no difference. But whenever I refrigerated it, it died, so I had to start again.

    It made awesome bagels.

    1. Wow!!! You rock! I'm so impressed! Can you share your bagel recipe? I tried some but they didn't come out good. Metal and plastic? really? very interesting!! thanks for sharing!

    2. Once your starter finally produces good, spongy bread, bagels are easy. Oil your hands (this keeps the dough from sticking to them, plus you want to lightly oil your bagels anyway) and roll the dough into small bagel-sized dough-balls. Work a hole into the center of each of them.

      Get a cookie sheet and oil it. Set your bagels on it.

      Boil a pot of water (I used a little saucepan) with a teaspoon of salt. Boil each bagel individually. Lower them in with a spatula. Boil it a minute; turn it over and boil it another minute; take it out and put it back on the cookie sheet. Boil a minute longer if you want it chewier.

      If you're gonna put stuff on them, do it as soon as they're out of the water, so they'll set well. Poppyseeds, cinnamon sugar, dried onions, parmesan, whatever. (If you want raisins, mix them into the dough before boiling.)

      Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes, till brown. Fight off any kids who don't want to wait that long to get at 'em.

    3. That is exactly how I made them, but what ingredients/portions did you use? my dough seemed too sticky!

    4. Actually, I made them I was told... :)