Sourdough Starter Recipe

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Some 25 years ago, I received this recipe and some starter from a good friend, who is now a neighbor. I use it to make many loaves of the Sourdough French Bread (recipe also in Recipe Finder).
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + standing
MAKES:48 servings
Quick Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + standing
MAKES: 48 servings


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)

Nutritional Facts

1 tablespoon equals 19 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, trace sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.


  1. In a covered 4-qt. glass, ceramic or plastic container, mix flour and yeast. Gradually stir in warm water until smooth. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel; let stand in a warm place 2-4 days or until mixture is bubbly, sour smelling and a clear liquid has formed on top. (Starter may darken, but if starter turns another color or develops an offensive odor or mold, discard and start over.)
  2. Cover tightly and refrigerate starter until ready to use. To keep starter alive, use and replenish, or nourish starter, once every 1-2 weeks.
  3. To use and replenish starter:
  4. Stir to blend in any liquid on top. Remove amount of starter needed; bring to room temperature before using. For each 1/2 cup starter removed, add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the remaining starter and stir until smooth. Cover loosely and let stand in a warm place 1-2 days or until light and bubbly. Stir; cover tightly and refrigerate.
  5. To nourish starter:
  6. Remove half of the starter. Stir in equal parts of flour and warm water; cover loosely and let stand in a warm place 1-2 days or until light and bubbly. Stir; cover tightly and refrigerate. Yield: about 3 cups.
Originally published as Sourdough Starter in Best of Country Breads 2000, p53

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Reviewed Aug. 3, 2015

"Do you have to keep feeding the starter everyday? What if some drys out on top? Out of all the recipes i read this one was the best to understand."

Reviewed Oct. 26, 2010 Edited Feb. 29, 2016

"To replenish the starter, add flour and water equal in volume to the amount of starter used (for example, if you take out 1 cup of starter, add in 1 cup each of flour and water). Stir well and let stand in a warm place (80-90 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours or until light and bubbly. Stir starter and then cover loosely and refrigerate. These instructions can be found in the Taste of Home Baking Book on page 374."

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2009

"I'd also like to know how to replenish the starter??"

Reviewed Nov. 14, 2009

"I would like to know how to replenish the starter."

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