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Sourdough Starter From Scratch in 7 Days

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Here I want to share with you how to create sourdough starter from scratch in 7 days with minimum discard.

What you’ll need:

  • Filtered water
  • And your patience 😊

Day 1

30g filtered water 

30g whole wheat or rye flour (lightly spooned in – do not pack)

Mix water and flour of your choice together in a Mason jar (or glass canister). 

Loosely cover (you’ll want room for airflow). 

Let sit at 80F (27C) for 24 hours (near a window in a sunny room or inside a turned-off oven).  

Day 2

30g filtered water 

30g whole wheat or rye flour 

You’ll see activity in your jar today (bubbles, volume, bad smell). 

Add more water and flour to your existing mixture and stir well. (Or discard half of existing starter and add flour and water)

Loosely close the lid and store at 80F (27C) for 24 hours. 

Day 3

20g  whole wheat or rye flour 

20g filtered water 

20g ripe starter 

You’ll see activity in your jar today (bubbles, doubled volume, bad smell). 

Separate 20g of starter into a new jar. Discard the rest.

Add water and flour to the new jar and stir well (1:1:1 by weight).

Loosely close the lid and store at 80F (27C) for 24 hours. 

Day 4

20g whole wheat or rye flour 

20g filtered water 

20g ripe starter 

You’ll see activity in your jar today (bubbles, doubled volume, bad smell). 

Separate 3 tsp (20g) of starter into a new jar and discard the remaining starter (from yesterday).

Add water and flour to the new jar and stir well (1:1:1 by weight).

Loosely close the lid and store at 80F (27C) for 24 hours. 

Day 5

20g whole wheat or rye flour 

20g filtered water 

20g ripe starter 

Your starter is almost ready (smells better, doubled in volume).

You’ll need to feed it 2 times a day now, morning and evening.

Each feeding should follow the same procedure as days 3 and 4 (single feeding measurements above – 1:1:1 ratio by weight)

Day 6-7

20g whole wheat or rye flour 

20g filtered water 

20g ripe starter 

Your starter is ready, but we want it to have even more strength.

Keep feeding it 2 times a day like you did on day 5 (single feeding measurements above – 1:1:1 ratio by weight)

Day 8 

10g whole wheat or rye flour 

10g filtered water 

5g ripe starter

Your sourdough starter should be ready for baking, but let’s make sure.

To test for readiness, drop a tablespoon of starter into a bowl of room temperature water.

If it floats, it’s ready to use. If it doesn’t, allow more time to ferment.

If needed, continue to feed it 2 times a day (single feeding measurements above – ratio 1:2:2 by weight).

Day 9 and Beyond 

15g whole wheat or rye flour 

15g filtered water 

5g ripe starter

Continue checking the progress of your sourdough starter using the float test (used on day 8).

If needed, continue feeding 2 times a day and increase the feeding ratio (single feeding measurements above – ratio 1:3:3 by weight).

If your starter reaches peak volume in less than 12 hours and starts to deflate, it means it matures and gets hungry faster than you are feeding it. 

It’s time to increase the feeding ratio to 1:4:4.

Troubleshooting

No activity:

Try one more time. If there is still no activity – something might be wrong with your flour, you have to try a different kind of flour.

Water on the surface:  

This liquid is a naturally occurring alcohol which indicates that it’s a little past time to feed your starter and is an indication of a weak starter. You can pour it off or stir it into your starter and carry on with refreshment. Stir it up, and add more food (flour and water).

Mold:

Not good, your flour is stale or expired with mold spores in it. You will need to replace it with new flour.

Starter is rising too much, overflowing the jar:

This is a very good sign. Just use a larger jar, or next time try to add less flour and water.

Continue to feed starter 2 times a day with ratio 1:2:2.

In 12 hours period it should reach the peak and start to fall down. When it’s falling down, means it’s getting hungry and you have to feed it again. If starter gets hungry faster than 12 hours, you have to increase the ratio to 1:3:3, 1:4:4… 1:10:10

This way you are training starter, it’s getting strong and will help you to bake beautiful bread.

Good luck with your sourdough starter from scratch 🙌

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Sourdough Starter From Scratch In 7 Days
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77 thoughts on “Sourdough Starter From Scratch in 7 Days

  1. I don’t understand what to do with the leftover starter. It seems like you just keep throwing it away. So by day 8 you only have 25g – 5g starter, 10 water and 10 flour. It keeps getting smaller and smaller. I feel I am missing something.
    Can you please explain? Thank you. 🙂

    1. Barbara, hi!
      Yes, you have to take every day the required amount of starter. And discard the leftover.
      Or you can collect it in the fridge and use for pancakes or something else 😊

      1. Hello,
        Thank you for the beautiful recipes!!!
        I am building up my starter, following your recipe, using whole wheat flour. On day 10 it doubled after 12 hours, day 11 and 12 I have little rise, maybe 20 to 30%
        Shall I continue feeding twice daily with the same ratio(1:2:2)?

  2. Can you use a 3 days old started that floats on water and smells good ? Like fruity smell ?

    1. If it Was from the fridge? I would still give it a couple of feedings before adding to the dough.
      Or if you mean it was created 3 days ago? Then I would definitely wait untill it will get little mature, about 8-9 days old.

  3. Can I make a starter from whole wheat flour? What should be the measurements?

    1. Sure you can!
      Use same measurements 😊

  4. What is whole grain whole wheat flour in Australia ? I tried this wth wholemeal not whole grain as I didn’t know what it was .. first day it was like a dough not like a paste .. I used wholemeal .. what do you recommend for flour for Australia please

    1. Hello!
      Sorry, I don’t know what types of flours you have in Australia.
      Whole grain is more like a grainy type of flour, have all three parts of the kernel (the bran, germ and endosperm) and are more nutritious than “refined” flours.
      It could be rye, spelt, barley, wheat.
      Try to check local farms or mills, they have the best one.

  5. HI, thank you for your recipe, it works perfect.

    1. I made my starter till 10days and it was totally fine and full of bubbles but it smells kinda acidic, but i thought nevermind and, i made focassia with it, and the final product was airy and bubbly but it tasted very tangy and sour , i didn’t like that tangy taste , what to do to make it taste like yeasty normal flavoured bread ?

  6. Hello, first of all thank you for your great recipes and instructions!
    I have a several month old starter, which I feed twice daily 1:2:2, but it never triples in volume. It only doubles in about 4 hours, then falls. I have tried to increase flour and water ratio up to 1:10:10, but it still only doubles, taking around 10-12 hours. What am I doing wrong and what can I try to make the starter stronger?

    1. Hi!
      Thank you for your feedback!
      Try to increase ratio slowly.
      Do 1:5:5 and see how it will react, if it reaches the peak and falling down faster than 6 hours increase the ratio.
      I hope it will work 🙏

  7. The ratio on Day 1 is off – should be 45g water and 30g flour instead 🙂

    1. Thank you!
      Will fix it 🙏

  8. Hey there, for the first day you write 30 water and 45 rye but in the video is 45 water and 30 rye. which one is correct?

  9. Thank you!! It will work both ways 😊

    1. not working why?☹
      new and organic whole rye flour !!
      the four day not interaction very smaller

      1. Is there any tiny bubbles?

  10. The written instructions say 30g water and 45g rye flour. But your video says 30g rye flour and 45g water. After following your written instructions, I think your intention was to tell people to use 30g rye and 45g water.

  11. Hi my dear…i can make my starter with white flour???or only whole wheat flour?!?!?

    1. Manal, hi!
      It should be any whole grain flour.

      1. Hello dear
        I’ve started yesterday with my starter and thanks for how clear you website is
        A question after my starter is ready at day 9 and I use it for baking what do I do with the remaining starter
        Every time I bake I need a new starter like the entire 9 days process?

    2. Manal, hi!
      Any whole grain flour will work.

  12. Hi, I’ve had great activity from my start on days 1 and 2 but day 3 there was little to no activity and I did have a little layer of water on the surface. What should I do ? Is this normal?

    1. Dianna, hi!
      It’s normal.
      Liquid on a surface means, starter is hungry.
      So just feed it and follow the regular schedule.
      Also slow activity from day 3-6 is normal too. It will get stronger on day 7

      1. Monica, hi!
        My suggestion, don’t put it in the refrigerator right away. Continue with feedings at least 1 more week.
        It should get stronger.
        Then you can feed it as usual, let it stay at room temperature for about 2 hours, and move it to the refrigerator.

  13. When the starter is ready and mature how can I refrigerate and feed it?

    1. Monica, hi.
      Feed it, let it’s stay at room temp for 2 hours, then put it in refrigerator.

  14. Hello there, nice recipe I’m on day 6! I’m using whole wheat flour from Mr. Bob. I understand that you feed every 12 hrs after the start has developed, increasing ratios and so on. Now is it alright to feed once a wk, granted the starter would be placed in the fridge and warmed up for a couple hours before feeding. Sunday bread is a must, is feeding every 12 hrs or even everyday absolutely necessary? Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi!
      I would suggest you to feed starter every day,2 times a day at least for 2 weeks, until it will get stronger, then you’ll be able to put it in refrigerator.

  15. Just started this exciting journey. I’m on day 2, and it smells horrible! It smells like vomit (sorry), is that normal?

    1. Ingry, hi!
      Congratulations on your beginning!
      Yes. Bad smell is normal 😊

  16. Hi Natalya, Thank you of this recipe!

    I have a question about the temperature. Do I need to keep the starter at a temperature of 27C?
    I do not have a place where I can keep it at 27C, my oven does not go this low.
    What will happen when the temperature varies between 20 and 30C?
    I keep the starter in the (turned off oven) with hot water bottles to make it a little warmer, but I am not able to keep it at 27 for most of the time.

    thank you from the Netherlands

    1. Roos, hi!
      As long as it more than 22-24C you are safe.
      In warmer environment bacteria is growing faster. That’s why it requires warm temperature

  17. Hi! I am just starting to learn the sourdough process! Very excited to find your page!! I love looking at all the different types of bread you have made! I was wondering if you had any recommendations for keeping the starter at 75-80F. Can I use a heating pad? I would appreciate any suggestions! Thanks!

    1. Tiffany, hi and welcome!
      Starter will work better in warmer environment. Use oven with light on, or find warm spot in your kitchen 🙏

  18. Hi! thank you for such easy explanation! Can I have your advice how to behave with the starter if I want to bake app 1 in a week? Can I store it in a frige?

  19. Hi there! Thank you for all the instructions! A question.
    On day 8 the ratio is 1:2:2. Only 5g of fresh starter. Is it enough of a amount (after being fed and risen) to start the dough? If I bake bread, let’s say, twice in a week, what amounts I should use? I understand it depends on how strong and hungry my starter is, but can you say approximately? Thank you! Hope I was clear with my question…

    1. Hi!
      You have to continue to feed starter 2 times a day every day, night before bread maki g, you have to make sure to prepare enough starter for the dough.

    2. Hola!
      Una vez listo mi starter lo mantengo en la nevera.
      Que debo hacer el día que lo voy a utilizar ? Debo alimentar la cantidad que necesite y dejarlo fuera de nevera?
      En qué proporción? Con cuanto tiempo de anticipación?
      Gracias

      1. English please 🙏

  20. Good day! I just started making my first sourdough starter, and I’m on my 5th day now. I can see some action in my starter, but why are there only few bubbles? I’m using an organic dark rye flour. Thanks.

    1. No worries, on day 6 you should start to see more activity 🙏

    2. like me ☹

  21. Hello, thank you sharing this step by step method to make sourdough! I only had one question! I am collecting my sourdough discard in a jar in a fridge. Do i have to feed it as well to keep it alive or can i just keep collecting it all together and how long will it last in the fridge? Thank you

  22. What about the bad smell that comes out when shaking a ripe starter,how should ripe starter smell when is at its peak?

    1. It should smell sour

  23. Hi! I’m a total newbie to the sourdough process. I’m trying to understand how to maintain the starter. Once I my starter is done, if I don’t need to use it right away, can I store it in a fridge and for how long. If I do use it, how long can I continue to store the original starter (I’m feeding it twice a day yes?), before I have to discard it and start over. Thank you for taking the time to answer!

    1. Hi!
      Even if when I don’t use starter, I still continue to feed it. Fridge makes bacteria weaker.
      Of if you still will decide to move starter to fridge, then do at least 3 refreshments before adding it to the dough.

  24. Can I use AP flour ? Or zero zero flour ?

    1. Hi!
      You need healthy whole grain flour to make it work

  25. Hello, the 3 refreshments you mention, when we have the starter in the fridge, is in what period of time? Thank you

    1. After fridge you have to refresh it 3 times, each time starter should reach the peak and start to deflate.

  26. Hello! I’ve been at this for about 2 weeks now (feeding every 12 hours) and I see bubble formation but there is no significant rise or double in size for my starter. I’m in the Midwest and it’s still fairly chilly – could this have something to do with it? What should I do? I put it in the sun during the day but that seems to dry it out

    1. Jennifer, hi!
      Yes, temperature plays a huge role in fermentation process.
      Please find warmer spot on your kitchen (oven with light on will create perfect temperature )

  27. Would you explain why the ratio on video totally different of the ratio with recipe on the website?thanks

  28. Hy…
    After 8 days how we can feed it…which recape we can use..where we have to keep it an how many time need to feed for a day..

    1. Continue to feed it 2 times a day with ratio 1:3:3 or 1:4:4

  29. Hi Natasha, thank you so much for you precious tips! I just need to know if I got every single step AFTER 8th day:
    1. if I’m not to use the starter right away I need to feed it room temp for 6 days more (12 hours feeding) then I could put it in the fridge:
    2.when in the fridge I have to continue the twice (or once?) a day feeding leaving 2 hours rising room temp, then fridge again
    3. When I have to use it , I have to refresh it 3 times (room temp process or I have to store it again in the fridge?)
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi!
      I would suggest to continue to refresh your starter at least 14 days, before placing it in fridge.
      No refreshments needed when starter is in the fridge.
      When you will decide to use it. Remove from fridge, do 3-4 refreshments, then you can use it in the bread.

      1. Thank you so much! I’ve done as said and I had the best bread ever made!!! I had my starter in the fridge, refreshed it 3 times a week and it was incredibly powerful!!!

      2. Thank you very much!
        I’m happy it worked 🙏

  30. Rex bavarian flour an rye flour same or no??

    1. If it doesn’t contain any additives, just rye flour. Then yes

  31. Hello, i wanted to ask what will happen if sometimes, we miss the timing of feeding every 12 hours to 14-15 hours? Will it still be ok?

    1. Nothing much!
      Just make sure you will do second feeding in about 10 hours

  32. In many of your recipes you use AP flour + tiny amount of Rye Flour to feed the starter. Here, and in your book, you suggest whole wheat or rye.
    I know, starter is a starter, both will work if active, but which one you truly recommend?

    1. Any whole grain flour will work. Rye or wheat doesn’t matter 🙏

  33. Hi, I wanted to ask if mineral water is also good for the recipe?

    1. Hi!
      I’m not sure. Usually I’m using filtered water

  34. Hi thank you for your great recipe , which type of flour is the best for making sourdough starter for panettone bread?

    1. For panettone you will need stiff starter made out of strong white flour.

  35. Can i use rye flour in making stiff starter for panettone bread?

  36. Hi
    Thank you for the recipe . So this recipe is to be used at the 7th day if I am right .
    Do I have to keep feeding it after using some of it or I have to do a new one ?

    1. I would suggest to continue to feed it all the time, and bake bread on day 9 or 10

  37. Hi, I’m on Day 8.
    Do I have to keep switching jars for the whole life of the starter or at this point do I just discard starter from old jar?

    Should I just weigh and deduct from old jar or keep starting with new jar? Thank you.

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