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Sourdough Starter

Many years ago, I received this recipe and some starter from a good friend. 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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