Sourdough Starter

This is a basic sourdough starter made with yeast. Be sure to use bottled or other nonchlorinated water.

Makes: 3Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 4 days 10 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Makes: 3


  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 1⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 cups warm water (110°F–115°F)


  • Sterilize all equipment first by boiling in water for 5 minutes. This includes the container for the starter and all measuring cups and utensils. Combine the flour and yeast in the sterile 2-quart glass or glazed ceramic bowl or container. Gradually stir in the water to form a thick, pasty mixture. Cover with a clean dish towel and set container on a baking sheet to catch any overflow that may occur. Place in a warm area, ideally 70° to 80°F, and allow to sit for 3–4 days, stirring once each day.
  • When the starter is ready it will be bubbly and will have a sour but pleasant aroma. (If starter smells bad or develops a pink or orange tint, throw it out and start over.) The starter is ready to use and can be covered with a tight-fitting lid and stored in the refrigerator at this point.
  • The starter will need to be fed once every other week. To feed the refrigerated starter, bring starter to room temperature then add 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour. Let sit at room temperature for 8 hours and return to the refrigerator. Sometimes a brown liquid byproduct of fermentation called “hooch” will appear on the starter. This is harmless and can be stirred back into the starter.
  • Any amount of starter that is removed for use in a recipe should be replaced with equal amounts of both water and flour, using the same procedure as for feeding. To replace 1⁄4 cup starter, add 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄4 cup flour.