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Sourdough Starter

Many years ago, I received this recipe and some starter from a good friend who is now a neighbor. I use it to make my own sourdough bread. —Delila George, Junction City, Oregon
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + standing
  • Makes
    about 3 cups

Ingredients

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

Directions

  • In a covered 4-qt. glass or ceramic 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 and 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 it and start over.)
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate starter until ready to use. Use and replenish starter, or nourish it, once every 1-2 weeks.

    To use and replenish starter:
    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.
    To nourish starter:
    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.

Sourdough Starter Tips

What is the best flour for a sourdough starter?

Bread flour is best for sourdough starters, but all-purpose flour can also be used. Learn more about the different types of flour and when to use them.

What is the best container to keep sourdough starter in?

Select a jar or ceramic container that’s at least 4 quarts, which will give the starter lots of room to grow. A container with a lid can be helpful, too. Once your starter has been going for awhile, you can keep it in a smaller jar in the fridge.

Does sourdough starter go bad?

Sourdough starter can go bad if neglected. Make sure to keep on top of the feeding and discarding. The starter may darken, but if it turns another color or develops an offensive odor or mold, discard it and whip up a new one.

What happens if you don't feed your sourdough starter?

Forgetting to feed your sourdough starter for long enough periods will kill the yeast and organisms you’ve worked hard to cultivate. After all, making sourdough is quite different than your traditional yeast bread making. If you’ve only missed one feeding, you may be able to bring it back with some feeding and careful watching.

Do you stir sourdough starter before using?

To use and replenish your sourdough starter, stir to blend in any liquid. Remove the amount of starter needed and bring to room temperature. For each ½ cup starter removed, add ½ cup flour and ½ cup warm water to the remaining starter and stir until smooth. Cover loosely and let stand in a warm place for 1-2 days or until light and bubbly. Stir; cover tightly and refrigerate. Follow this step-by-step sourdough starter guide for more tips like these!
Nutrition Facts
1 tablespoon: 19 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 4g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • Gerard
    Jun 4, 2020

    Dang, this has nothing to do with "sourdough". This is not even a 100% hydration poolish or any sort of sponge. This is only a 197% activated commercial yeast. While it might leaven a bread it can't bring the complexity

  • Laurie
    May 24, 2020

    Can anyone tell me if gluten free flour will work for this recipe?

  • Lady Fingers
    Mar 23, 2020

    I used this recipe years ago. It doesn't start out very sour, but gets better and better as it matures. I kept that batch going until I moved. I'll be starting a new batch today!

  • BeckyJCarver
    Mar 17, 2019

    Easy instructions - teaching my teen how to make bread so this was an easy one to start with.

  • BigAppleAnnie
    Jan 29, 2017

    Looks easy enough and I've been wanting to try Sour Dough Bread. As to the recipe for French Sour Dough Bread recipe mentioned, I did a recipe search and nothing even closely resembling it came up. Meantime, I will baby this starter and adhere to the advice of other commenters to feed it (like a baby of course).

  • Saskie73
    Jun 10, 2016

    countryrose86, I don't know if you found your answer or not, but for what it's worth, every sourdough starter recipe I've ever seen recommends that if you don't use the starter regularly, you feed the starter every 10 days. I'm not sure why this recipe doesn't seem to state that, it's kind've an important tidbit of info!

  • countryrose86
    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.

  • carrie_johnson2010
    May 23, 2013

    No comment left

  • pearlrvr
    Oct 26, 2010

    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.

  • VASue
    Nov 22, 2009

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