Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (2024)

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (1)

I would tell a lie if I told you I eat a lot of bread. I actually eat very little bread since discovering that I have a gluten intolerance. However, when I have it, and when I make it, I devour it in a heartbeat. Eat now, suffer later. You could say that bread is my weakness when it’s available. But it must be fresh, hot out of the oven bread. And when it’s sourdough? Well, the gloves come off!

It’s only natural that my very first job was working in a little Mennonite store in Remington, Virginia. I’ve always said that my cooking and baking skills came from that stage in life rather than from my mother or grandmother. I never got many opportunities to cook “with” my mom or grandma, or maybe I simply wasn’t interested in it at the time.

A few years ago a friend of my mothers sent me a sourdough starter through the mail. I was terrified that the white powdery substance would be inspected as some chemical war of terror, but it made it safely to my mailbox in just a few short days — from North Carolina to good ol’ Virginia.

Sourdough was a brand new thing to me. I loved eating sourdough, but I never understood the complex science behind it. I’m a fermenting queen now, but back then? No way.

The history of sourdough is simple. People needed an option to preserve and make something on a regular basis with a yeast they could capture naturally from the air. Fermentation was one of the very first ways of preserving food for our ancestors. Yes, it came long before canning. And sourdough was born out of a need instead of a want for delicious soury bread.

Find ALL of my sourdough recipes by clicking here.

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (2)

Unfortunately, with something so simple, I failed. I failed miserably the first time. I even had to ask for more suspicious white powdery mailed substance so that I could start all over again — and then I failed again. Eventually I gave up because I didn’t have the time for this complex science. Recently, however, I discovered it’s not science at all, but an art.

I began with my very own sourdough starter this time.Not that I didn’t admire my friends shared starter, but I wanted a legacy. I wanted a starter that could be passed down to my son’s wife or, if we ever have one, our own daughter. Of course, the starter would be 20 years or more old by then, but that’s the beauty of it. Isn’t this something every mom thinks of? No? Yeah I’m weird…

I thought I had failed again, oh my word, my future daughter-in-law in the year of 2035 won’t have a family generational sourdough starter of her own. How silly. But by the fifth day the smell of fermented grains filled my kitchen. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought my husband had a hops binge the night before…without me….how rude.

I had not failed. My 2035 daughter-in-law would have a sourdough starter of her own…bless her heart. And I would now have fresh sourdough for my family every 3 days.

It’s simple and easy. The starter stays on your counter. You feed it everyday. And then you use it when it comes time to make bread. You should know that it takes about 12 hours for your bread to rise completely. So you’ll want to make sure you start it the night before or early that morning of cooking.

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (3)

Sourdough Starter

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 – 1 cup cold water
1 quart size mason jar

Day 1: Combine flour and water into quart size mason jar, or large crock, until consistency is a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover top tightly with a cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Set in warm place on counter out of direct sunlight. Consistency is the key in this recipe, notthe amount of flour and water.

Day 2 and 3: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water every 12 hours (or twice a day). Make sure that your starter is less than halfway full in the jar. If it is more than half full, it could spill over during fermentation. Simply pour off excess. In fact, I always take a cup of starter out before adding the flour and water. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Day 4 through 5: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water once a day. Again, pouring off any excess. You will continue doing this every single day from this point on. Transfer your starter to a permanent home such as a sourdough crock or larger jar. Do not use plastic or metal. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Your starter will begin smelling very fragrant after day 5. Before day 5 it might smell very sour and musty. Don’t fret yet. As long as there’s no mold and you’re keeping up with feeding it properly, you’ll be fine.

After it has successfully fermented, it will have a very lovely yeast smell to it, almost vinegary, and it will be full of bubbles. It can take up to 7 days of feeding your starter before it is ready to use. It will become very bubbly and active. Once it is ready to use, you’ll take out what you need and add flour and water back into the mixture every single day. If you are not going to make bread every week, then you can refrigerate the mixture and feed it once a week. However, it does much better just staying on the counter and feeding it daily.

We love the Sourdough Biscuit Recipe and make it weekly. These are literally the best biscuits you’ll ever taste.

Here’s a great Sourdough Bread recipe for you! If you want a more Artisan Sourdough Bread, you’ll want to click here for a previous recipe.

Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup to 1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. oil
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. salt
6 cups flour

Method:

1. Add all ingredients, holding back two cups of flour, into a mixer or large bowl. Knead until smooth, adding enough flour until the bread forms into a soft ball.

2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (or do so in your stand mixer), until dough is elastic and smooth.

3. Put dough into greased bowl, cover with towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for 6 hours.

4. Punch down dough and knead again for 3 minutes. Divide into buttered loaf pans and let rise again for 4 hours.

5. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is brown. Loaves will sound hollow when tapped.

Sourdough Starter

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (4)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 - 1 cup cold water
  • 1 quart size mason jar

Instructions

  1. Day 1: Combine flour and water into quart size mason jar, or large crock, until consistency is a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover top tightly with a cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Set in warm place on counter out of direct sunlight. Consistency is the key in this recipe, notthe amount of flour and water.
  2. Day 2 and 3: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water every 12 hours (or twice a day). Make sure that your starter is less than halfway full in the jar. If it is more than half full, it could spill over during fermentation. Simply pour off excess. In fact, I always take a cup of starter out before adding the flour and water. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.
  3. Day 4 through 5: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water once a day. Again, pouring off any excess. You will continue doing this every single day from this point on. Transfer your starter to a permanent home such as a sourdough crock or larger jar. Do not use plastic or metal. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Notes

Your starter will begin smelling very fragrant after day 5. Before day 5 it might smell very sour and musty. Don't fret yet. As long as there's no mold and you're keeping up with feeding it properly, you'll be fine. After it has successfully fermented, it will have a very lovely yeast smell to it, almost vinegary, and it will be full of bubbles. It can take up to 7 days of feeding your starter before it is ready to use. It will become very bubbly and active. Once it is ready to use, you’ll take out what you need and add flour and water back into the mixture every single day. If you are not going to make bread every week, then you can refrigerate the mixture and feed it once a week. However, it does much better just staying on the counter and feeding it daily.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 grams
Amount Per Serving:Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Sourdough Bread

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (5)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 6 cups flour

Instructions

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients, holding back two cups of flour, into a mixer or large bowl. Knead until smooth, adding enough flour until the bread forms into a soft ball.
  2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (or do so in your stand mixer), until dough is elastic and smooth.
  3. Put dough into greased bowl, cover with towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for 6 hours.
  4. Punch down dough and knead again for 3 minutes. Divide into buttered loaf pans and let rise again for 4 hours.
  5. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is brown. Loaves will sound hollow when tapped.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 grams
Amount Per Serving:Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Other posts you might enjoy:

  • How to Make a Sourdough Starter
  • Traditional Sourdough Pancakes
  • Easy Sourdough Pie Crust
  • Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe
  • How to Make Sourdough Biscuits
  • Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls (Long-Fermented)
  • Sourdough Dinner Rolls (Long-Fermented)

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Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (6)
Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe (2024)

FAQs

How much sourdough starter to use in bread? ›

It varies a lot, often from ~10% to ~30%. Sourdough breads often start with a levain/sourdough where a small bit of sourdough starter is first elaborated out to more flour, which essentially becomes a big lump of sourdough starter in the final dough.

How do you make enough sourdough starter? ›

There is no single best ratio, but I've found a ratio of 1:5:5 fed twice daily at 12-hour intervals to produce a sourdough starter that's strong and healthy. This ratio corresponds to 20% ripe starter carryover, 100% water, and 100% flour (a mix of whole grain rye and white flour) at each feeding.

What is the best ratio of sourdough starter to flour? ›

The most common feeding ratio is 1:1:1 (sourdough starter: flour: water). This is also known as a 100% hydration starter. For example, let's say you have 40 g of sourdough starter in a jar. To feed it, you'll add 40 g of flour + 40 g of water.

Can I start my sourdough starter with all-purpose flour? ›

Tips For Making Sourdough Starter

Use all-purpose flour to keep a healthy starter. Place the starter in a container with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F.

What happens if you use too much starter in sourdough? ›

If you have too much starter compared to the additional flour and water you're adding, your hungry starter consumes all the nutrients and then it's not as bubbly.

What is the minimum amount of sourdough starter to keep? ›

All you need to do is take 20g of the starter you already have and then feed it with 20g of flour and 20g of water (so 1:1:1). Then you'll have a 60g starter, which is considered a smaller amount. You can of course reduce these amounts even further if you wish, but this is a reasonable size to keep waste to a minimum.

How to make 100% sourdough starter? ›

A 100% hydration sourdough starter is a culture which is kept and fed with water and flour at equal weights. Like for instance 5 oz water to 5 oz flour. A 166% hydration starter is fed with equal volume of flour and water, which most typically is one cup of water (8.3 oz) and one cup of flour (5 oz).

How long does it take to make a good sourdough starter? ›

How long does it take for a sourdough starter to be ready? In general, I've found it takes about 7 days from when you first mix flour and water to when a sourdough starter is ready to be used to bake bread.

Do you have to discard sourdough starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

Can I use starter that has fallen? ›

You can keep a “peaked” starter in the refrigerator for about 12 hours (sometimes more), and still use it directly in your mix. You do not need to let it come up to room temperature. If your starter is well past peak (a few hours) and visibly falling, you can give it a “refresh” feeding to reactivate it.

Can I use tap water for sourdough starter? ›

*If making sourdough is new for you, do not be discouraged if you starter takes longer to get active than mine – stick with it, it will happen! *Tap water is usually fine, if you are not sure, use boiled and cooled water, you can use it at room temperature or cool; do not use distilled water.

Can I use unbleached flour for sourdough starter? ›

What Flour Should I Be Feeding My Sourdough Starter With? You can feed your sourdough starter with any flour you like, as long as it provides the starches the wild yeast in your sourdough starter need to convert to Co2 to rise your dough. The flour you choose should always be unbleached flour.

Can I use unbleached bread flour for sourdough starter? ›

NOTE: Use regular, unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour for best results- skip organic. The enzymes are different which can hinder the rising process the first time around. I use either KAF, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Filtered water or tap water is fine.

What is the best percentage of starter in sourdough bread? ›

In this article, we are going for a basic, pleasantly sour sourdough bread. For that kind of bread, using a starter at 100% hydration such as the one created in the previous article, I like to go with 20 to 25 percent (bakers' percentage) or sourdough starter.

How much sourdough starter to use instead of yeast? ›

Generally, you can substitute a packet of yeast for 100g of sourdough starter. If your recipe uses less than a packet of yeast, you can use less sourdough starter, however it won't make too much difference because of the way wild yeast works.

How does the amount of sourdough starter affect the bread? ›

The more starter you use, the faster your dough will ferment - resulting in a less sour loaf.

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