This post will teach you how to make your own sourdough starter simply and easily at home. You can use your sourdough starter to make sourdough bread and sourdough pancakes, and you can keep your sourdough starter for years.
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Sourdough is a fermented food, did you know that? It’s a delicious and easy way to include the health benefits of fermentation into your diet and sourdough starter is the first step to making sourdough bread at home.
Sourdough starter is simple to make and I’ll share my best tips for success.
How to Make Easy Sourdough Starter
2 Cups All Purpose Flour – I’ve been liking the King Arthur White Whole Wheat for the added protein
16 ounces (2 cups) warm water, 70-80 degrees F (Not hot enough to take a bath in, a warm room temperature)
Combine the ingredients in a glass bowl (see note about bowl below). Mixture may be lumpy and that’s ok. Cover with a thin kitchen towel, rubber band in place, and let sit for 2-3 days.
Stir daily and notice the bubbles and fermentation happening as soon as a few hours after combining. Sourdough will smell sour and will have many bubbles, and will more than double in size the first day.
If you notice any pink growth, discard and start over.
Note this bowl is likely the one the starter will live in for years. It will also double (or more!) in size so it must have a capacity of about 8 cups. Also choose a bowl that has a wider surface area rather than a tall and skinny shape. A mason jar is not the best choice; I chose this jar because it has a lid I can use when the starter is resting in the fridge and it is easy to rubber band a cloth around when it’s warming and growing on the counter.
Pro Tips for Successful Sourdough Starter
Use wooden utensils (or plastic) as metal reacts with the starter negatively. Do not use a metal spoon to make this or any easy sourdough starter.
Leave the starter in a warm place on the countertop when it is getting started. A cold countertop will slow or stop yeast growth.
Use a post-it note on the side of your jar or bowl telling you the day you need to return it to the fridge. I had trouble remembering until I started writing “put in fridge on Wednesday” on a note for myself.
To Store Easy Sourdough Starter
Covered in the refrigerator is a great place for the starter. Alternatively, a very cool place will suffice.
To Use Easy Sourdough Starter
Just measure out how much the recipe calls for, cover the jar back up, and return to the fridge. You’ll likely want to replenish the starter, however, as described below.
To Replenish Sourdough Starter After You’ve Used Some In a Recipe
If your recipe for bread or pancakes called for 1 cup of sourdough starter, add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water to the remaining starter and mix well. The same applies if the recipe called for 1 1/2 cups- replace with equal parts 1 1/2 flour and warm water. Leave sourdough in a warm place for about 6 hours, until mixture is bubbly, and return to refrigerator or other cool place.