Sourdough Starter

How to make your own sourdough starter

The great mysteries of life include making your own sourdough starter.
It has to be simple, even the Klondike panhandlers were also known as sourdoughers because they make their bread using sourdough. Yes carried it with them.

So what is it, how does it work, how do I make it, and how do I use it.  Good questions, and we hope our answers will enrich your life and give you the joy of making your own sourdough bread.

What is sourdough starter?

Sourdough starter
Sourdough Starter bubbles

This is the material that provides the leavening of your bread. It is combined with the flour to form the batter.

How does it work?

The wild yeast associated with your flour, and the enzymes in the flour, create gas (CO2) as the result of digesting the carbohydrate in the flour.

How to make your own Starter.

Make sure you use flour with a high protein value, and if possible, organic.

Important note – cleanliness is critical.  Make sure all utensils and container are clean.  Use filtered water for best results, particularly if the filter will remove the chlorine and such.

  1. Put 1/2 cup of flour and similar volume of water into a clean container.  Glass is the material of choice, here.
    Using a large spoon carefully mix the material together until smooth.
    At this stage use something like 1/2 to 1 litre size jar. Keep the starter in a cool, not cold, place.
  2. Add same amount each day for next 4 days.  At the end of this time you will be noticing some bubbles – the wild yeasts are working!
    If the jar looks too full, discard  some (up to half), this first time.
  3. Continue this feeding and building process, transferring your starter to a larger jar (Say a Kilner 3L jar, or a similar size polycarbonate container).
  4. In about 12 – 14 days you will have a starter you can use, but only if it is showing a lot of bubble activity.
    A factor in increasing activity is warmth, so left in a slightly warm place will promote activity.
  5. Remember to add flour and water to rebuild your starter after use.  Store the active starter in the fridge and give it a small feed after taking from the fridge to use – allow the food time to work (bubbles).


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