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Sourdough Starter from Scratch for Beginners | Ready in 3 Days

sourdough starter from scratch

When I tell you that anyone can make this sourdough starter from scratch, I truly mean it! In only a few days you can transform flour, water and a little yeast into a sourdough starter right in your home.

Those of you who’ve seen my mom cooking with me on Facebook live know that she’s the baking queen. From coffee cakes to fresh cinnamon rolls, she’s my flour power!

So when everything went to crazy this year and we began to minimize trips to the grocery store, I asked her how to get started with sourdough.

She was totally willing to help – from a social distance, of course.

I don’t know why the idea of making my own sourdough starter was so intimidating. Something about yeast, it makes us get all nervous, you know?

Because it’s alive and you have to “feed” it and at this point in my life, I already have a lot going on.

So high maintenance sourdough wasn’t something I was going for.

Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make a bubbly and active starter and you even get to eventually smell bread baking in your kitchen.

It’s a glorious thing.

Let’s get started!

sourdough bread

How to Make Sourdough Starter from Scratch

There are a billion recipes out there, and a billion ways to get started.

But my version is like “sourdough for dummies”. I’m not calling you a dummy, I’m just saying that I went with the easiest method I could find and I lived to tell about it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • all purpose flour
  • salt
  • sugar
  • dry yeast (only a tablespoon to get started)
  • water

You can also get good results by using whole wheat flour.

Whole wheat starter won’t have a lot of rising action compared to using white flour so you’ll have to plan for longer rising time.

You can also use a mixture of white flour and wheat flour to cut the rising time.

Grab a large mixing bowl – it doesn’t have to be monster sized, which for some reason I thought it needed to be.

Sourdough fear is almost as great as Instant Pot fear, you know???

Combine the flour, salt, sugar and dry yeast. Gradually add lukewarm water, stirring as you go.

Continue mixing until you create a thick paste.

You’ll want the water temperature to be warmer than room temperature, so about 105 -110 degrees.

If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Too cool, and it won’t activate and do its wonderful magic.

You can take the temperature of the water or, if you’d played around with yeast, you can guess the temp with a finger under the faucet which is my method.

What can I say, I live life on the edge!!!

A sidenote about yeast

The expiration date of yeast is printed on the package. Yeast can expire, and usually lasts longer than the date printed on the packet if it is kept inside the refrigerator.

Why am I sharing this? Well, mine expired two years ago and it’s still alive and kickin!

Yeast will last longer if it’s stored inside the freezer.

To test yeast to see if it’s still active, you can place 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the yeast and stir it into water to dissolve. If the yeast foams and bubbles within 10 minutes, the yeast is described as active and alive!

sourdough starter from scratch

Day 1

Stir until the ingredients come together. They’ll look like a thick paste.

Cover the bowl with a dish towel and set it in a warm place.

Most of our house temperatures are on the cooler side when it comes to bread, so you can put it on top of your fridge for warmth, near an oven in use, or even in a turned off oven with the light on inside.

Days 2 and 3

Stir the mixture a few times a day for two to three days. When you go to stir the mixture, look for some bubbles. I just kept a wooden spoon in the bowl because then there were fewer dishes to wash.

You may see a liquid that has separated and risen to the top.

After a few days, the starter is ready and you can use it in recipes!

I told you this was easy.

Make sure when you go to make sourdough bread, muffins, etc – don’t deplete all of your homemade starter. Sourdough starter from scratch will last for years!

My friend Katie said she had hers for 19 YEARS! Craziness!

To store your starter, keep in a jar and store in the refrigerator. I like a clear jar so you can remember to use it and feed it!

Note: I may use referral or affiliate links for the products I love.

Weekly

You’ll need to feed your sourdough starter on a regular basis. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour to your starter each week. Stir to incorporate.

Sourdough Starter Discard

If you find you have more sourdough starter than you need as you begin to feed it, don’t throw it away! There are many sourdough discard recipes that will put all the goodness to use!

If you’d like more details info about sourdough and how to work with it, there’s an awesome sourdough course in this bundle!

sourdough starter from scratch

Quicker Sourdough Starter from Scratch

This recipe uses a little yeast to jumpstart a sourdough starter in just a few days.
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sourdough starter from scratch

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water, 105-110 degrees

Instructions

Day 1

  • Combine the flour, salt, sugar and dry yeast in a bowl or a large jar. Add lukewarm water, stirring as you go. (See the note about water temperature).
  • Continue mixing until you create a thick paste. Cover your container with a dish towel and set in a warm place overnight.
  • Stir the mixture a few times a day for two to three days. When you go to stir the mixture, look for some bubbles. You may see where the dough has risen and fallen along the side of the bowl or jar.
    You may see a liquid that has separated and risen to the top. That's okay, just stir it in.

Day 2

  • Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. Stir and recover with a dish towel.

Day 3

  • After a few days, the starter is ready and you can use it in recipes! Store in the refrigerator.

Weekly

  • You'll need to feed your starter on a regular basis. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour to your starter each week. Stir to incorporate.

Notes

Water temperature: You’ll want the temperature to be warmer than room temperature, so about 105 -110 degrees. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Too cool, and it won’t activate and do it’s wonderful magic.
 
Most of our house temperatures are on the cooler side when it comes to bread, so you can put it on top of your fridge for warmth, near an oven in use, or even in a turned off oven with the light on inside.
 
Make sure when you go to make sourdough bread, muffins, etc – don’t deplete all of your homemade starter. Sourdough starter will last for years!
Love this recipe?Follow me on Pinterest at @ifeedfarmers or save this recipe for later by using the Pin button at the top of this recipe!

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