DIY Sprouted Flour Sourdough Starter

DIYSourdoughStarter

Starter on the left: A few days old. Starter on the right: Brand new – not even mixed yet.

 

Making a sourdough starter from scratch is very easy. It seems like it would be difficult but trust me, it’s not. It just takes patience. My goal is to give simple, straight to the point instructions to help the novice sourdough maker get off to the right start. If you are not a novice, you may have your own way of doing things. That’s great! There’s more than one way to skin a cat! This is what works for me.

All that is needed to make a sourdough starter is flour and water (filtered)…and time. Any type of whole-grain flour can be used. I chose Einkorn Wheat berries that I sprouted, dehydrated/dried and ground using my Blendtec. Be sure to sterilize your jars and utensils (metal is only okay to feed and stir, not store) with very hot water or the sani-cycle on your dishwasher. You don’t need unwanted bacteria in your starter! In order to ferment, bacteria needs the sugars in the flour to feed on. This is why it is important to feed the starter daily during the initial fermentation process.

On day one, using a ratio of 1 to 1 flour and water (I use a half cup of each), pour  into a mason jar and stir well. Only use filtered water as chlorine will kill the yeast. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth, coffee filter, or thin cloth. The starter needs the air to collect the airborne spores of wild yeast and good bacteria. Fruit flies and other bugs love sourdough starter so keeping it covered really is important.

On day two, stir the starter vigorously (I use a wooden spoon) and add another 1 to 1 ratio of flour and water. Some sources say to change the starter into a clean jar every day. I switch mine every other day and it fine. You may see some bubbles at this stage and maybe even some liquid separation. This is called “hooch” and can be drained off.

phonto-1

Before transferring to clean jar

Repeat feeding the starter daily for seven days using the 1 to 1 flour to water ratio, changing  jars every other day or so. As the jar fills, some of the starter can be removed and used for things like sourdough pancakes. This way you don’t have a huge amount of starter and it can really get going. I usually split starter into two jars around day 4, but I do not throw any away. Waste not, want not…at least during the starter process. Later on, you will have so much that you will be looking for friends to pass it along!

By day seven you should have a wonderfully sour-smelling, viable sourdough starter. If you live in a warm climate or it is summer, fermentation will happen more quickly. It is now ready to use in whatever recipe you would like to tackle first. Always reserve some of your starter when cooking with it so that you have some to keep it going.

Pat yourself on the back! You’ve accomplished something your ancestors needed to know to survive! It’s a wonderful skill to learn to stay in touch with your roots.

sourdough

 

To care for your sourdough starter, leave it out on the counter in a jar, glass bowl, or crock, lightly covered. Feed it twice daily with your 1:1 ratio of flour to water. Always stir well. If you are like me and only use small amounts of starter at a time, store in the refrigerator and feed once per week. Just take it out 4 hours before needed and feed. It will do its thing and be ready for whatever you need it for. Super easy!

I’d love to hear your sourdough stories! What works for you and what doesn’t?

Enjoy!

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    My starter, Bertha, lives almost permanently in my fridge. She comes out for use and for feeding and that is it. She keeps my no knead sourdough bread company. I only use biodynamic home ground rye flour for my starter, nothing else and when I was initially starting, I had a white flour and a rye flour starter and the rye bubbled bigger and sooner. I also use flitered water only as the chlorine will kill those wonderful wild yeasts. The bread is tastier too when made with white flour as the rye adds just a little texture and flavour. :) Now I make my bread with the rye starter and homeground khorosan flour. It’s nutty like spelt and seems to be a little more sour which I love.Total sourdough convert. It’s worth the little bit of extra effort and it means I can eat bread too as I’ve an intolerance to unsoured or unsprouted wheat. :)

  2. Rachael says

    This is such a great blog!!! Really makes me hungry just reading and looking at the pictures : ) I recently baked my first loaf of bread and it was incredible!!! I used a starter my friend told me about. It’s from Sourdough’s International and now I have to spread the word! I loved it. Definitely going to order more when it comes the time.

    • says

      Thank you, Rachael! A tip on sourdough starter. Save some so you can keep it going. That way you don’t need to buy more. Keep it in the refrigerator if you aren’t using it regularly. Just feed in once per week and you are good to go!

  3. Danuta says

    A year ago I made my sourdough starter from scratch and from this day on , I did not buy any bread, I take starter out of fridge, feed with rye flour then put some into the jar for the next bread then into the fridge. The rest is feeded with white flour. It is over a year and the starter is pretty strong. You do not need to buy anything, Just filltered, boiled water (lukewarm) and dark rye flour. Mix it and feed for seven days , then some to fridge and bake your first bread. :))

  4. aam_mommy says

    I feel silly asking this but when you say to use 1:1 ratio each day, do you mean the original ratio used to start the starter or the amount of starter you have:1:1? Also, I started another starter [a dough ball type as opposed to a liquid one] and accidentally left it out an extra 24 hours instead of baking with it on day 5. Should I discard? How dangerous is “old” sourdough? You all make it sound easy but I am very confused and frustrated! Not to mention, I feel like I’m wasting so much of my precious [expensive] einkorn flour! Thank you, in advance, for your help and time.

    • says

      I never discard. Maybe I’m weird but I’ve never seen a reason to through any away. I don’t know what to tell you about the ball you left out. You’ll have to make that call based on how it smells and looks:)

  5. aam_mommy says

    thank you for the quick response! do you feed your starter the same amount you started with each day or increase it as the starter increases? Do you measure by volume or weight? thanks!

    • says

      I vary the amount based on how much starter I’ll need the next day. If I know I won’t need a whole lot, I’ll only use 1/4 cup flour. If I need more for a big baking day, I’ll do a cup. I measure by volume.

  6. Katy says

    I’m so excited to find your blog! I’m a novice asking a possibly stupid question. Can I use sourdough starter in non-dough grain dishes, e.g., when I’m “baking” a casserole of whole-kernal wheat, rye or rice? Would I make the original starter using whole grains to begin with? Or would I use flour & then stir the finished starter into fresh whole grains for cooking? It makes me so happy to know there are food outlaws :)

    • says

      Hi Katy! I am glad you found us! I would assume you can use the sourdough for anything that calls for batter. I use whole grain flour for my starter (Einkorn flour) so no additions needed. You can always add more flour to it if it’s too thin but that flour should be sprouted. Hope that helps!!!

  7. Julie says

    My starter is separating after just hours of being mixed together and the water the separates out has a green tint to it. What should I do? Is this normal? I used filtered water and freshly ground sprouted whole white wheat flour. Thank you!

  8. Deanna says

    can you eat this if you are gluten intolerant? my husband has MS and his doc says he should go gluten free, but that includes all the cross-reactives to gluten

  9. Sandra says

    I am on day five and it has not risen, it does have the liquid, which i’ve poured out before I added more flour and water. I am using sprouted wheat flour. What could i be doing wrong?

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