Sourdough Starter: A Guide to Perfectly Baked Goods

Sourdough starter recipe

Sourdough bread has been around for centuries, known for its distinctive tangy flavor and chewy texture. But what makes this bread truly special is the process of creating a sourdough starter. In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating world of sourdough starters and guide you through the steps of making your own.

***This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission that is no additional cost to you.

Table of Contents

Sourdough starter

What is a Sourdough Starter?

A sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that captures wild yeast and beneficial bacteria from the environment. These microorganisms naturally present in the flour and surroundings work together to ferment the dough, giving it rise and imparting that desirable sour flavor.

The Benefits of Sourdough Starter

Using a sourdough starter in bread-making offers numerous benefits. Firstly, the fermentation process breaks down gluten, making the bread easier to digest. Secondly, the lactic acid produced during fermentation helps improve the nutritional value of the bread by increasing the availability of vitamins and minerals. Lastly, sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index compared to commercial bread, which can be beneficial for blood sugar control.

Stir + Saunter’s product recommendation: Glass Jars from Amazon.

Sourdough starter

Stir + Saunter’s product recommendation: Coffee Filter from Temu. Use code afi41100 or click here for an extra 50% off and a coupon bundle for up to $100 off.

Coffee filter for sourdough

Stir + Saunter’s product recommendation: Rubber Bands from Temu. Use code afi41100 or click here for an extra 50% off and a coupon bundle for up to $100 off.

Rubber bands for sourdough starter

Stir + Saunter’s product recommendation: Silicone Spatula from Temu. Use code afi41100 or click here for an extra 50% off and a coupon bundle for up to $100 off.

Silicone spatula for starter

Stir + Saunter’s product recommendation: Measuring Cups from Temu. Use code afi41100 or click here for an extra 50% off and a coupon bundle for up to $100 off.

Measuring cups for sourdough starter

Tips for Maintaining a Sourdough Starter

Once your sourdough starter is established, it’s important to maintain its health. Here are a few key tips:

Regular Feeding

Feed your starter with fresh flour and water every day or two, depending on your baking schedule. Discard a portion of the starter before each feeding to maintain a manageable size.

Temperature Control

The ideal temperature for sourdough fermentation is around 70-75°F (21-24°C). Keep your starter in a warm spot in your kitchen, away from drafts and direct sunlight.

Consistency Adjustments

Depending on the recipe, you may need to adjust the hydration level of your starter. Adding more or less water can affect the final texture of your bread.

Troubleshooting Sourdough Starter Common Issues

Sometimes, even with proper care, sourdough starters can present challenges. Here are a few common issues and their solutions:

Slow Fermentation

If your starter takes too long to rise, try increasing the feeding frequency or adjusting the temperature to a warmer environment.

Hooch Formation

Hooch is a liquid layer that forms on top of the starter when it hasn’t been fed in a while. Simply pour off the hooch and feed your starter as usual.

Foul Smell or Discolored Appearance

If your starter develops an unpleasant odor or changes color drastically, it may indicate contamination. In such cases, it’s best to start over with a new batch of flour and water. Please note that your sourdough starter may have a foul smell during the first seven days of fermentation as the bacteria dies off and the yeast develops. This is perfectly normal. By day seven, your sourdough starter should smell like yeast.

Creative Sourdough Recipes

Once you have a thriving sourdough starter, the possibilities are endless. From classic sourdough loaves and baguettes to pancakes, pizza dough, and even cookies, the unique flavor and texture of your homemade bread will undoubtedly elevate your culinary creations.

How to Make Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

Create your own sourdough starter with our step-by-step recipe! Learn the secrets to a tangy, bubbly, and lively starter that elevates your bread baking to the next level. Start your sourdough journey today!


  • Whole-wheat flour

  • Warm filtered water


  • Day 1: Combine 1/2 cup flour with 1/4 cup warm water in a clean glass jar. Stir well until no dry flour remains. Cover the jar loosely with a kitchen towel or coffee filter secured with a rubber band and let it sit at room temperature.
  • Day 2: You may start seeing small bubbles forming on the surface, indicating that fermentation has begun. Discard half of the mixture and feed it with another 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir well, cover, and let it sit.
  • Days 3 – 6: Repeat the feeding process (discarding half of the starter and adding 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water) every 24 hours for the next few days.
  • Day 7: Congratulations! Your sourdough starter is ready for use. It should be lively, with vigorous fermentation and a strong aroma reminiscent of ripe fruit. You will know your starter is ready to use when it is bubbly and doubles in size between 4 and 12 hours after feeding it.


  • You must discard half of your starter and feed it everyday to remain active.
  • After day 7, you can use the discard in recipes. Do not use the sourdough discard in recipes before seven days.
  • If you are not planning on using your sourdough starter a few times a week (or if you’re going on vacation), you may opt to put your sourdough starter in the fridge to slow the fermentation process. Before putting your starter in the fridge, feed it. Your starter can be fed one time per week in the fridge by first discarding half of the starter and then feeding it 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water.

Sourdough Starter Conclusion

In conclusion, making your own sourdough starter is a rewarding journey that connects you with centuries of baking tradition. With a little patience, experimentation, and care, you can enjoy the delicious and healthful benefits of homemade sourdough bread. Happy baking!

Visit Stir + Saunter’s recipes here, where sourdough recipes are regularly added.

Do you need help organizing your recipes? Stir + Saunter creates digital recipe books to organize your recipes while reducing paper waste. They come in a variety of colors and themes and can be used in PDF annotation apps, such as GoodNotes and Notability. Click here to see Stir + Saunter’s collection of digital recipe books.

Digital recipe book for paper waste reduction and organization

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top