How to Make a Sourdough Starter: Day One

Today we begin the great sourdough starter experiment.  The goal of this experiment is to catch some wild yeast and try to keep them happy so that they will multiply.  By harnessing the power of wild yeast in a sourdough starter, we’ll eventually be able to bake bread without using any commercial yeast at all.  That’s what traditional sourdough is – a bread leavened by wild yeast.  The process can be very technical and scientific, but I’m not going to delve into all those boring details right now.  Instead, we’re just going to jump in and get started and I’ll explain things as we go.

There are several different ways to create a sourdough starter and I don’t know that any one method is truly better than the others.  I’m using Peter Reinhart’s method from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, but what I’m about to share with you is a bit different than what’s in the book.  That’s because he updated the method after the book was published and shared the correction on his blog.  So, I’m using Mr. Reinhart’s updated instructions with a few small changes of my own.  I have successfully created a sourdough starter before, but haven’t used this exact method, so we really are embarking on a brand new adventure together.

Here’s how I started:  I mixed one cup of whole wheat flour with 3/4 cup of room-temperature pineapple juice in a bowl until everything was well blended.  I scraped the mixture into a clean glass jar and marked the level with a rubber band so that it will be easy to detect any growth if it occurs.  I covered the jar with a paper towel and secured it with a rubber band.  Now all I have to do is let the jar sit at room temperature for 24 hours.  Pretty easy so far, right?

Want to create your own sourdough starter?

Here are the instructions (click on the links for photos):

Day One: In a small bowl, mix one cup of whole wheat or whole rye flour with 3/4 cup (6 oz) canned pineapple juice (at room temperature) until all of the flour is hydrated.  Scrape mixture into a quart-size wide mouth glass container, such as a jar or glass measuring cup.  Mark the level of the starter with a piece of tape or rubber band. Cover the container with a paper towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.  Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day Two: You probably won’t notice much change at this point.  Scrape the contents of the jar into a mixing bowl and add 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose or unbleached bread flour plus 1/2 cup pineapple juice (make sure juice is room temperature).  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Wash and dry your glass container and scrape the mixture into the container.  Mark and cover the container just like day one.  Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day Three: You may notice some activity at this point.  The mixture may have risen some and there might be bubbles.  Regardless of whether you notice any fermentation or not, discard half of the mixture (or give it to a friend to cultivate), and mix the remaining half with 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose or bread flour and 1/2 cup filtered water (make sure water is room temperature).  Wash and dry your container and scrape the mixture into the container.  Mark and cover as before.  Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day Four: The mixture should have at least doubled in size at this point.  If it seems to be sluggish and hasn’t doubled in size, allow it to sit at room temperature for another 12 to 24 hours.  Otherwise, repeat instructions for Day three.

Day Five: Feed the starter (repeating day three instructions) first thing in the morning and then again in the evening (about 12 hours apart).

Day Six: If your starter has been very active and always doubles in size (or more) between feedings, then your starter is ready to bake with.  You may also choose to refrigerate your starter at this point and slow down the feedings to once a week.  If you’d like to bake some bread, here is a basic sourdough bread recipe to get you started.  If your starter still seems a little sluggish, continue with the twice daily feedings as above.

Day Seven: Same as above.

If you’d like to play along, I’d love to hear about it.  Please feel free to share photos of your sourdough starter experiments on the Pinch My Salt Facebook page.  If you’re a blogger and decide to write about the process, please share your links with me so that I can share them with others.

  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Love this series!

    9:01 pm  Sep 23rd, 2011
  2. Cindy W

    King Arthur Flour has a pretty terrific Sourdough Guide on their site. If for some reason you don’t “catch” wild yeast, you can start it with regular yeast (or have a good friend give you a cup of their “mother”), then cover loosely with cheesecloth so that some wild yeast might still get through and follow your directions above.

    9:04 pm  Sep 23rd, 2011
  3. Gem

    How odd? I was just given a Herman (German friendship cake) from a friend which is basically a sour dough starter. I’d never heard of it before and now I read this 🙂 I’m currently on day 5 and in another 5 days I will split the dough into 4, make one into a cake and give the other 3 to friends and so on 🙂

    1:13 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  4. Peter

    This is exciting….if everything (when I should say) I will try my own start too! Thanks Nicole.

    2:43 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  5. amelia from z tasty life

    I made bread froma starter recently and have a post in the making…sometime hopefully! Will come back and share. I used Tartine’s method (from by he san francisco bakery…)

    4:44 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  6. Sue/the view from great island

    This sounds like a great fall/winter project, I’m on board!

    5:45 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  7. Nancy Guppy

    Thanks. I am inspired to try it but I can’t eat wheat. Do you know if this would work with sorghum or other types of flour? Maybe a note in your book. Thanks.

    6:16 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  8. Stephanie

    This is great info! So excited to follow along your sourdough journey!

    7:11 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  9. Laura

    I used both his method (pineapple and orange juice behaved the same), and Chad Robertson’sn (using just whole wheat flour and bread flour, not juice added). Chad’s started was faster and more reliable in my recollection, but maybe the season was different who knows.

    Have fun with it!

    7:24 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  10. aleida

    woooh! this is something i’ve been afraid to try for a long time. you’ve given me an excuse and motivation to do it NOW! thanks.

    10:36 am  Sep 24th, 2011
  11. Kelly

    Yes – I am going to try to do this with you. Thank you for posting. And I wish you the best and much joy as you press on in life.

    3:26 pm  Sep 24th, 2011
  12. Stacey Feather

    I am joining in and am really excited! I am also using kefir and was told you cannot keep sourdough starter and kefir in the same room.

    3:55 pm  Sep 25th, 2011
  13. dawn

    I read one where they just used water. Yours sounds better with the pineapple juice. Do you know what the difference is between the two?

    5:54 pm  Sep 26th, 2011
  14. Allison

    I am sad I haven’t been on my reader in a week, because I would have loved to do this day by day with you but I am so glad it is here. My first attempt at my sourdough starter resulted, sadly, with a lump of mold. I am looking forward to coming back to this next week. Cool weather allows for a hot oven. Bread making season is here. Thank you!

    1:43 pm  Sep 27th, 2011
  15. Allison

    Side note – I did not use pineapple juice the first time, did some more research, found that a lot of people say pineapple juice is the only way to go.

    1:44 pm  Sep 27th, 2011
  16. ClassiclyAmber

    Fabby, fabby! Thanks so much for sharing. I saw Mr. Reinhart’s method – but am happy to see this tut! Been wanting to try my own starter – withOUT store bought yeast – for a while now! I’m on it! 😀

    1:18 pm  Oct 8th, 2011
  17. Lynn G

    I can hardly wait to make bread from this starter. I’m
    On day 3 and everything is progressing as you have described it. Instead of throwing away half of it I started another jar, so now I have 2 jars on day 3. Hope I don’t end up with a kitchen full of sour dough starter.
    I’ll keep you posted.

    8:43 pm  Dec 7th, 2011
  18. Sharon

    Can I use freshly ground whole wheat flour for all the steps of this recipe?

    4:03 pm  Dec 28th, 2011
  19. Jayalaskhmi

    Sounds doable. Can we use freshly ground wheat flour. And how to store the left over ?

    7:17 am  Jan 3rd, 2012
  20. sam henderson

    I cannot wait to get started. Thanks for sharing.

    6:08 am  Jan 10th, 2012
  21. SunSponge

    Are the quantities correct?

    Day 1:one cup of… flour with 3/4 cup canned pineapple juice

    Day 2:add 1 cup of … flour plus 1/2 cup pineapple juice

    Day 3:1 cup of … flour and 1/2 cup filtered water

    This is Day 1 for me, but the 1 cup / 3/4 cup juice is way thick and does not look like the picture at all, it stands up. The photo looks like a far more liquid mixture and now that I’m reading other recipes, this one uses the least amount of liquid of any I see online… yet the photo looks very different than what I have.

    Then Day 2 and on uses a 2:1 ratio of flour/liquid.

    I live 20 miles from getting more pineapple juice if this is not correct…

    I see no mention in any of the text as to thickness or ‘feel’ of the mixture.

    thank you.

    11:22 pm  Jan 21st, 2012
  22. JB

    I have the same issues as SunSponge. It looks WAAAAAY too thick… not at ALL like the photo.

    9:10 am  Jan 30th, 2012
  23. Valery Hurdle

    I tried this recipe for a starter, along with a plain white AP flour & water mixture, as experiments to share on my class page. I didn’t have pinepple juice, but had some fresh oranges, so I used the juice from the oranges. It was quite successful and really only a day ahead of the four/water starter. I found the recipe online somewhere (it might have been your friend’s blog) and it explained that the acidity in the juice keeps the unwanted organisms from developing, while encouraging the beneficial organisms to grow. Made sense to me!

    11:20 pm  Apr 23rd, 2012
  24. Bill

    How does the flavor of this recipe/starter compare to the highly promoted & advertised “SAN FRANCISCO Sour Dough starter”?

    I do like the flavor of SF Sour Dough & want something comparable.

    11:24 pm  Jul 8th, 2012
  25. Annie

    I think that the SF sourdough is probably impossible to keep going outside of San Francisco. It’s the unique yeasts in the air there that make SF Sourdough so special. I think that even if you brought some home from SF it would eventually revert to whatever yeast spores are living in your own neighborhood.

    Also, regarding thickness and/or thinness of your starter. It doesn’t really matter as far as concerns the health of your starter. I like to keep my starter quite thick; it can’t be readily poured from the jar. This way, if I need it thinner I can just add liquid to the recipe. But this hasn’t been necessary.

    I made this pineapple starter last September when it was posted here and it is still going strong.

    I keep 3 jars of starter. One white, one rye, and one whole wheat. When I do a spelt loaf I start it with the rye starter. (three jars in the fridge is more than enough!)There are times when my starters get neglected, not being stirred or fed for up to 3 weeks. This isn’t a good habit for sure–they usually get fed once a week, always kept in the refrigerator. But they always come back bubbly and alive. I hope to keep this starter the rest of my life.

    I love the video of Sourdough Rye demonstrated by Eric at This is a wonderful site for learning how to make crusty, yummy, artisan style bread.

    Thank you, Nicole for your very useful lesson on starting one’s own starter.

    8:23 pm  Aug 7th, 2012
  26. SunSponge

    Annie: Any evidence to your SF ‘unique yeast’ theory, or just a hunch/guess?

    Regarding the thickness… glad it works for you, but it’s far too cumbersome for me to use this recipe.

    I’ve successfully and far more easily created sourdough starter using plain yogurt, flour, and skim milk.

    Like this example:

    This method here on pinchmysalt is far more cumbersome and I did not see any benefits.

    To each their own. The yogurt one works great and I love using my own home-made yogurt.

    10:00 pm  Aug 7th, 2012
  27. Annie

    Okay, I dinked around the net just long enough to see that there is some (not a whole lot) of controversy about the “legend” of San Francisco sourdough. Most of the legend is about when it was first made (back in the days of the gold rush) and how it’s been handed down (kept alive) all this time. Seems that story can’t be proven…or dis-proven for that matter.

    The other story, the one about the local yeasts, does hold some truth. Whether or not San Francisco’s airborne yeasts and lactobacilli (microbiological flora) make a more sour sourdough than any other place is debatable. There are certainly different techniques to making a sourdough more sour. Some are genuine fermentation methods and some are “cheaters”; that is, they add citric acid. There are many commercial breads that claim SanFran on the label but are just “cheaters”. Adding citric acid to your own homemade bread, in my opinion, is fine if you simply want to add a little more sour to your bread and can’t get it through fermentation. Just don’t add more than about 1/8 tsp per cup of flour (or less). That recommendation comes from the King Arthur Flour website.

    I have also read that refrigerating the dough before baking gives more sour flavor but I haven’t tried that myself.

    So, yes, different localities have different airborne things that will go into your sourdough making it “unique”. Maybe the “San Francisco Sourdough” thing is just a very successful marketing machine. And then, maybe their spores ARE “better”.

    There are a lot of different techniques for starting and keeping a starter; from only using fruit in water to only using flour and water. From feeding it every day to feeding it every week. Refrigerated or not. I really like this flour and pineapple juice method. Seems pretty foolproof in my experience.

    And yes I agree, I’ve read that the yogurt method can work well too. Don’t understand how it could be easier. Tell me about that. I didn’t find this pineapple juice method cumbersome at all–happened very fast with no babysitting. Just removing some and adding more flour and liquid is basically how I take care of my starter even after it has matured. Doing this once a day for only 3 days didn’t seem like much for what I have gotten out of it. Does the yogurt method work faster than 3 days for you? Maybe you’ve got some awesome mini critters in your air!

    1:33 pm  Aug 8th, 2012
  28. SunSponge

    For me, the yogurt method is
    1) more common ingredients as we always have plain yogurt around
    2) easier to mix since it’s not so doggone thick… trying to mix that pineapple method in a glass ball jar was not easy. The yogurt method is smoother and easier to mix and work with.
    3) Easy to correct. Need a bit more yogurt? milk? flour? no problem. need more pineapple juice? oh yikes… no more around. store is 20 miles away. No thanks.

    If the yogurt starter goes bad, no problem. Just more fool proof and fast and common ingredients, etc.

    It’s a no-brainer for me to choose it. Fits my needs.

    1:48 pm  Aug 8th, 2012
  29. Annie

    You don’t continue to feed it with the pineapple juice. You can get the whole thing going with only 1 cup (1/4 cup on day 2 works fine). Also, you can make it as thin or thick as you like. Raisin water works well too

    3:09 pm  Aug 8th, 2012
  30. przecinkowa

    I’ve got a question: Can I use a different kind of juice? Like an apple juice? In my country I don’t have canned pineapple juice :/ We have pineapple slices in juice and I think it’s not the same.

    10:42 am  Aug 13th, 2012
  31. Annie

    Does the label on the slices say that the juice is some other kind of juice? If it says it’s packed in its own juices then I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    I don’t know if apple juice would work; never tried that. I have read and watched some videos on the web that tell of making a starter from different kinds of fruits. I just don’t remember what fruits they were except I do remember someone making a starter from raisin water (water that has raisins soaking in it and left to ferment)

    Google sourdough starter and you will come up with a lot of different techniques. I just made a beautiful sourdough loaf today that I started proofing last night before I went to bed. It turned out beautiful…high and crispy crusted I didn’t get to slice into it because I had planned to give it to a neighbor, which I did.

    2:09 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  32. przecinkowa

    But this is some kind of syrup not just juice, so it contains sugar.

    thank You for respond 🙂

    2:48 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  33. SunSponge

    So after making a batch of sourdough starter… what are you doing to make bread? Adding the sourdough starter to your regular bread dough?
    In what ratio?

    What if I want to make sourdough pizza crust?
    Double the size of my starter a couple days before, then blend it into my regular pizza dough?
    once again… what are ratios people are using?

    Thank you.

    3:18 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  34. Annie

    3 cups flour
    1 3/4 cups water
    1/3 cup starter

    This makes a VERY wet dough which some will find hard to handle. But I have found through a series of trials and errors and successes that the wetter dough produces a higher loaf. But note: I am using a preheated clay baker which gives a great “oven spring” to the bread.

    To handle a very wet dough you have to keep your hands very well dusted with flour and move very quickly.

    This is a basic No-Knead bread technique BTW

    Let me just HIGHLY recommend for great videos and explanations on the handling of dough that makes bread to dream for. Between Nicole’s starter and Eric’s techniques I have gained a reputation for being a good bread baker.

    at you will see how to make a sourdough rye. I pretty much follow this technique but I prefer to leave out most of the strong-flavored herbs. I just use caraway and I use half molasses and half honey for the sweetening.

    at you will see just how simple it really is to make a sourdough bread even while camping. Eric’s second try turned out wonderful. And here you will see the different results between a sturdier, stiffer dough and a wet floppy dough. Eric is so good at it; I’m still learning.

    3:34 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  35. Annie

    I also find that putting the starter in the bowl first and then adding just a very little water at a time mixing as I go makes that lump of starter break up much better. Then I add the pre-measured flour to that. I don’t mix it a lot; just enough to incorporate stuff.

    3:54 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  36. Annie

    Oops, I forgot: I put 1 & 1/2 tsp salt into the flour before adding the flour to the water

    3:55 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  37. SunSponge

    Is there a ratio of how far a sourdough starter will go? and after getting the starter mixed with the regular ingredients.. I am guessing the time it should set is dependent on 100 different choices?

    4:32 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  38. Annie

    I’m having trouble figuring out just what you mean by “how far a sourdough will go”. do you mean how long will it last? or how much starter you can put in the dough? Help me understand.

    4:55 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  39. SunSponge

    “or how much starter you can put in the dough?”

    Yep… so for every cup of sourdough, how far will that ‘stretch’ out when mixed with standard dough? I’m guessing it depends on what I am trying to bake?

    As you can tell, I am a rookie!


    6:19 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  40. Annie

    I have seen recipes that call for only 1/4 cup all the way up to ones that call for a full cup for one loaf of bread. I’m a bit of a rookie too actually so I haven’t studied or experimented much to tell the diff. But the beauty of sourdough is that, just like yeast, it grows and continues to grow as long as it has food to eat. That food is carbohydrates (sugars). That doesn’t mean that you have to add sugar to the sourdough; the starter will find enough sugar in the flour.

    That, by the way, is why, if we eat a lot of grains, we can gain weight. It’s the starchy carbs that do it. The enzymes in our mouths will turn starch to sugar before we even swallow it and it’s all “downhill” from there :). And oh boy, do I LOVE starchy carbs in the form of bread. Bad girl! I went a bit off subject there; sorry.

    Anyway, the way you “feed” your sourdough and keep it alive is to give it more flour. If you don’t bake bread for a while that’s okay, just remove some of the starter, put it in your compost or trash (don’t put it down the drain!–remember, water and flour make glue). Then add some flour and water back to your starter and it will be happy. Keeping it in the refrigerator will slow down the activity and prolong the bubbly action. But then, keeping it in the refrigerator is sometimes a good way to lose sight of it and forget about it for a year (been there done that, oops) It usually dies with that kind of treatment. I’m better now about pulling it out every 5 to 10 days to feed it. It’s a habit now—so is baking sourdough bread lol.

    So, to get back to your question; I find that using about 1/3 cup of starter to every 3 cups of flour works pretty good. However, if you are only going to proof the dough for 6 hours, say, then you might need to use more starter. If you proof it for 12 hours then you don’t need very much because it will grow (“stretch”). It will permeate the whole lump as the scriptures say. The experts tell us not to let it proof longer than that because it “over-proofs” and I don’t know what that means. My guess is that it looses its umph. I’ve seen that happen in the starter jar. It will double and rise to the top of the jar if I feed it and leave it out on the counter. And then it falls back down to its original level. That’s okay for the starter but it wouldn’t be very good for when you are trying to make bread.

    Every time you make bread you feed your leftover starter and put it back in the fridge. The only people I know that leave their starter out are the folks that bake every single day and have big families. That gives the starter a better environment to grow quickly and be ready for baking sooner.

    Sourdough starter is VERY forgiving. If it separates (liquid on the top) no problem. Just stir it all up and feed it–it’s your baby bubbly

    8:50 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  41. Annie

    More tips:
    Don’t screw the top of the jar down tight–sourdough needs to breath (give off gas)
    If you use a quart jar it should always be about half full to give it room to expand. 2 cups is a good amount to always have on hand. It will give you enough for a couple of loaves with enough left in the jar to keep it alive.
    Here’s a good web page to look at

    9:00 pm  Aug 13th, 2012
  42. Samuel PG

    Thanks for sharing this. I have been trying to get this going and have so far succeeded in a starter that smells like sourdough but that is not really growing at all, even though I am about a week into the process. Should I keep trying or start over?

    7:32 am  Nov 19th, 2012
  43. Annie

    I think, since you say it smells good, that you should simply feed the thing. Remove some and stir in fresh water and flour. Let it sit 12 to 24 hours and stir again and sniff. Taste it and see if it has a nice sour taste. Keep your eye on it and see if it doesn’t rise up a bit. “Growing” doesn’t mean the amount of starter will actually get bigger; “growing” means that the starter, that is the natural yeasts, will multiply and permeate the whole batch. It will rise in a while because of the gasses released but if you stir it it will go back down to where it was.

    When you have 2 cups of nice-smelling, bubbly starter (remember, the bubbles go away when you stir it) then you are ready to bake bread. Take out 1/3 cup for the bread and take out about 2/3 cup to toss or give to a neighbor. this will leave you with 1 cup in the jar. Stir in about 1 cup flour and about 1/2 to 2/3 cup water. Cover with something loose (starter needs to breathe). You can just leave the lid sitting loose on the jar or cover the jar with a paper towel or cloth held by a rubber band. If you are going to bake again the next day then leave it out on the counter. If it will be several days before you bake again then put it in the refrigerator.

    Hope this helps.
    Feel free to ask more questions.
    And don’t forget about this wonderful website–you can ask questions there too and talk to a real expert.
    You will see in this video that Eric leaves his dough to proof for 18 hours. That probably works nicely but I get a fabulous rise by only proofing for 12 hours (over night works well for baking early in the next day). I also use a tiny bit more water and end up with an even wetter dough. This takes practice to be able to handle it but I find that I get perfect, high rising, crispy crusted bread every time.

    There are some other differences that I use but I say, just get started and you will be enjoying your bread in no time. And watch other videos on the Breadtopia site to get a more rounded view of the whole process–Eric doesn’t do it exactly the same every time.

    9:21 am  Nov 19th, 2012
  44. Annie

    I just want to mention that I do let my dough proof for 18 hours when I make a regular no-knead bread using conventional yeast granules. That makes amazing bread too! Only takes 1/4 tsp yeast!

    9:23 am  Nov 19th, 2012
  45. Samuel PG

    Thank you for the quick reply. I have been letting it breathe with a paper-towel rubber-banded on top and have been feeding it with the schedule recommended in the directions, but it just never seems to grow in size by more than a quarter of an inch, even after giving it 24 hours. I will feed it for a while longer and maybe make a test batch of bread to see if it will work. Thank you again!

    9:24 am  Nov 19th, 2012
  46. Nicole

    Samuel PG – I agree that if it’s smelling nice and sour and is growing a little bit then you are definitely on the right track. Feed it for a few more days and maybe move it to a slightly warmer spot if you can. If you aren’t yet feeding it twice a day, go ahead and start doing that. Good luck!

    10:10 am  Nov 19th, 2012
  47. Joyce Piz

    Where can get a copy of recipe for starter and baking instructions please e-mail

    11:38 am  Feb 6th, 2013
  48. Annie

    Samuel, remember that the starter does’t actually get bigger as it grows. What is growing is the little live yeasty babies living in the starter. If you want it bigger (more starter) then add some more flour and water. Just be careful because when it bubbles up it can overflow. You can put a bowl or pan under it if you are concerned with that. But usually, if the stirred starter fills the quart jar half way (2 cups of starter) then most probably it will only bubble up to near the top. When you stir it, it will fall back down to where it was

    Joyce, A wonderful recipe for making your own starter go to the top of this page–Making your own starter is exactly what this page is all about. If you want a recipe for making the bread when your starter is mature and ready to use you can go to the one Nicole posted or Google some recipes on line–there are LOTS. Again, my favorite place to go for bread instructions is–

    2:31 pm  Feb 6th, 2013
  49. Virginia

    This may be a dumb question, but can I use distilled water, rather than filtered?
    Thanks, Virginia, timid beginner.

    4:33 pm  Feb 21st, 2013
  50. Annie

    Don’t see why not Virginia. I just don’t recommend using tap water that has been chlorinated. Chlorine will kill the baby! 😉

    5:13 pm  Feb 21st, 2013
  51. Les

    Hi, 3rd try at a starter. Used wholemeal rye this time, day 3 halved mixture, added 1/2 cup water and cup of unbleached flour as per recipe. It has doubled in 7 hours, its gone mad!!! Do I still wait 24 hours or just go to day 4 early?


    3:35 am  Feb 25th, 2013
  52. Annie

    Wahoo! It won’t hurt to give it another day. Stir it down, put it in the fridge and feed it the same way tomorrow. You can probably leave it out on the counter just make sure you leave plenty of head space for the bubbly action. If it doubles again then MAKE BREAD! If you make bread every day or even every other day you can leave your starter out. But keeping it in the fridge will keep it fresh and alive and (LOL!) a little quieter :). I only use about 1/3 cup of starter for a loaf and then let it proof for 12 hours (over night) before baking so it doesn’t seem matter it it starts out cold. Happy baking!

    7:05 pm  Feb 25th, 2013
  53. Colleen

    I am excited to try this. I have tried the flour/water way a few times with no success. I am not sure if climate plays a big role. We live up north where it is cold and need to have all windows closed for 5-6 months out of the year. What temperature should the environment be? Does it matter that much? I may have to wait till summer time to see if I have more success.

    3:15 pm  Mar 20th, 2013
  54. Annie

    As far as I know temperature is part of what determines development time. Cold: slow, warm: faster. Other things in the environment determine speed and flavor as well. I say just get started and see what happens. I assume your kitchen is warmer than your refrigerator! You should be able to have success right now. Just be patient when making your own starter; it may take up to a week but possibly less. Follow the directions given here and you will be on your way. My loaves have been quite high lately–beautiful!

    4:52 pm  Mar 20th, 2013
  55. Kathy

    Hi, I started my starter in a glass jar and it seemed to be doing well. It was growing, I split it and put it in a plastic measuring cup to give it additional room. It never really bubbled but did increase in size. Day 4 it seemed to have a crust on top and really didn’t increase in size much, so I let it sit another day. Next day I fed again, it is very thick and not bubbly, but did increase some in volume. Is having it in plastic causing problems? I’m not sure where to go from here. Ideas?

    8:26 am  Apr 4th, 2013
  56. Annie

    I don’t know if the plastic would cause any difference in how the sourdough lives. I wouldn’t use plastic; just personal preference. Also, the crust happened possibly because you didn’t put a cover over the container. I always put a lid on my jar and leave it totally unscrewed down; just set on top. If I use my starter at least once a week I never get a crust forming. The crust is simply starter that has dried up a bit from exposure.

    Also, there really isn’t any need to transfer your starter into anything. If the starter only fills half the jar that will give it room enough for it to “grow”. If it ever looks like it’s going to overflow just stir it down. It doesn’t actually grow bigger; it simply gets full of beautiful gasses that give it “lift”. If your starter lifted up to twice it’s original height then it will have bubbles. Keep it loosely covered so the crust doesn’t form and you will see bubbling going on. It’s not like soda pop bubbling, it’s big, slow mudpot type of bubbling.

    10:35 am  Apr 4th, 2013
  57. Kathy

    So it should have the lid on the jar and not just a paper towel? Should the crust be removed? Thanks for the help.

    2:32 pm  Apr 4th, 2013
  58. Annie

    I don’t use just a paper towel on sourdough starter. I know the photo above shows one being used but it just doesn’t work for me. Anyway, the rim of the starter jar gets pretty smeared with sourdough and it sticks to the paper towel–just a mess. With liquid things like Kombucha and dairy kefir, I always use a paper towel but not sourdough. Yes, I would switch to a lid. REMEMBER, don’t screw it down, just set it on top so it covers.

    You can remove the crust or not. Leaving it there won’t hurt the starter. You can just stir it in and most of it will re-hydrate in the moisture. If there are any pieces of it that don’t they can be lifted out when you are ready to make bread.

    Good luck!

    3:30 pm  Apr 4th, 2013
  59. SunSponge

    To: “win free iphone 4s” – and you are clearly not one of the educated people on pretty much any topic when you come here to spam.
    You clearly do NOT know what you are talking about and for future reference… please spam yourself, not us.

    12:16 pm  Apr 9th, 2013
  60. Annie

    Thank you SunSponge for that reply to this “win free iphone” creep. I saw it earlier today and knew it was bogus but didn’t really know what to say. Thank you that you took the initiative.

    12:26 pm  Apr 9th, 2013
  61. Annie

    Did you think this is my blog? Actually, it’s not; I have simply been the one who replies to a lot of the posts that come in. This blog belongs to Nicole who started this sourdough excitement with her “How to Make Sourdough Starter” topic. I followed her advice a year and a half ago and my sourdough starter is still going very strong. I don’t know where Nicole went. I should subscribe to her newsletters again. I did once but got into a “cleaning” mode and unsubscribed from a lot of emails, even ones I liked including this one.

    4:04 pm  Apr 9th, 2013
  62. SunSponge

    Nicole ought to set up spam control for this blog, but as you said, she has not replied to a single question/post.

    Absentee owners are disappointing.

    11:23 am  May 10th, 2013
  63. Janna

    My starter doubled one time, but will hardly grow at all in between feedings now. I’ve followed all of the directions. It is fragrant and bubbly, but I cannot seem to get it to double. Any suggestions?

    6:41 am  Jun 12th, 2013
  64. Annie

    Janna, Are you keeping it in the refrigerator or out on the counter? What kind of flour are you using? Are you using chlorinated and/or fluoridated tap water?

    2:17 pm  Jun 12th, 2013
  65. Janna Kiger

    I’m keeping it on the counter. I use pilsbury bread flour and tap water. What kind of water should I use?

    3:00 pm  Jun 12th, 2013
  66. Annie

    I always use filtered water just to be safe but there are plenty of people who use tap water even if it’s chlorinated and fluoridated and it works for them.

    Are you leaving it alone or are you stirring it once in a while. It needs to just sit. When you stir it, the gasses escape and the starter falls to it’s natural level. You say it’s fragrant and bubbly so that sounds really good. Taste it; it should have a nice sour flavor.

    Maybe it needs to be in a slightly warmer spot though this isn’t usually necessary unless your kitchen is cooler than average. Coolness will slow the fermentation but too much heat isn’t good either–you aren’t rising this like you would the bread before baking, just allowing it to ferment.

    I’m curious; what is your climate like? Dry? Humid? Average?

    9:05 am  Jun 13th, 2013
  67. Nicole

    Hi Janna (and Annie!) – Sorry I’ve been MIA on this post for sooooo long! Janna – how long have you had the starter going? I use filtered water for my starters because chlorine isn’t especially good for the wild yeast. If your tap water is chlorinated, you can let it sit out in a container for a while to let the chlorine dissipate before using it in your starter. One of the things Peter Reinhart mentioned is that some people have a very active starter very early and then it slows down so much that they think it has died and they give up, even though it will usually come around (this was the reason he developed the pineapple starter). If yours was active and doubled very early, perhaps that’s what is happening here. Keep feeding it on a regular schedule like you’ve been doing with chlorine-free water and see if it starts to wake up. The fact that it’s fragrant and bubbly is a very good sign. Another thought – is there a chance that you’re keeping it in a place that’s too warm? Could it be that it’s rising and falling so fast that you don’t see it until it’s already fallen?

    10:44 am  Jun 13th, 2013
  68. Annie

    Good points Nicole. (Nice to see you back!)
    I have had my starter rise and then fall even in the fridge if I leave it for a few days without feeding it. Certainly doesn’t hurt it.

    Thanks, again Nicole for this inspiring article. Something about your photos and words of encouragement really got me to step up to the plate. My beautiful sourdough is thriving after over 2 1/2 years. I think it’s improved with age. I would love to show you a photo of the pretty breads I get. For a while I got crazy and had 3 sourdough starters in my fridge: Rye, whole wheat & white. I realized pretty quickly that that was unnecessary since I only use 1/3 cup in each loaf. So now I just keep one jar with basic white. I use it for all breads.

    2:50 pm  Jun 13th, 2013
  69. melissa

    when I’m repeating step 3 am I always throwing out half and feeding or just feeding? Also, on day 4 there was a crust on the top and a bit of mold. Is this normal?

    3:19 pm  Aug 30th, 2013
  70. Annie

    Once your starter looks good and bubbly you can remove all but what you need which will leave about 1 cup in the jar. You can use what you have removed (I have recipes) or you can feed it to your compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile then you have to either give it to a friend or put it in the trash. Don’t put it down the drain; it could cause plumbing problems.

    No, mold isn’t normal. Are you sure it’s mold? A crust is normal if you starter has been exposed to air for a while. Are you covering it adequately? A cloth and rubber band works or just setting a lid on it without screwing it down. If it is truly moldy then I would throw the whole thing away and start over. That’s never happened to me.

    5:18 pm  Aug 30th, 2013
  71. Jessica Newfer

    At this moment, I have just completed the instructions above for “Day Three”. This is the first time I have done starter. It appears in your photos that you use a quart size jar. But it seems to be a lot of starter in the jar for me (I’m using the quart size jar). Since a lot of rising will occur on Day Four, I’m worried that it will overflow the jar? Should I have used a half gallon size instead? I’m also seeing a crust like one of the more recent commentors has said. It does not appear to be mold, but as a cover for the starter I’m using a type of straining sleeve (very flexible fabric) made to be used with a jar. I’m not using paper towel at all. Is this letting too much air in?

    5:54 pm  Sep 21st, 2013
  72. Nicole

    Hi Jessica – Yes, a quart size jar is fine. The starter should be taking up a little less than half the jar and it’s rare for it to overflow if that’s the case (although if you end up with a crazy active starter, there’s always a possibility!). If you have somehow ended up with too much starter in your jar, just remove some so that it looks about the same level as the photos and continue with instructions. As for the crust… like Annie says, there may just be too much airflow. It’s fine to put a loose lid on the jar to restrict the air flow. And it’s fine to just stir the crust back in to the starter.

    8:39 am  Sep 23rd, 2013
  73. Annie

    Could be that you are letting in more air than necessary. That would cause a crust. If you don’t have a regular jar lid to set on top then find a piece of cloth that has a tighter weave, like sheet material or a tee shirt scrap. I just set one of the plastic mason jar lids on top of mine without screwing it down. Works great.

    I’ve never had an overflow problem. I’ve had it come up very close to the top, like within an inch or so but it never overflowed. But different locations can cause a difference in yeast growth. I can’t see that you would need a 1/2 gal jar. Maybe you could try using a bit less flour and water. Most recipes only need a third of a cup or so of starter once your starter is going good.

    Hope this helps

    9:48 pm  Sep 22nd, 2013
  74. Annie

    I just thought of something. Jessica, did you remove half the starter as instructed on Day 3? If you didn’t then you would have twice the proper amount in your jar. Just wondering.

    3:26 pm  Sep 24th, 2013
  75. Eloise Bates

    I have a question. In day three you said to discard 1/2 the mix and then do the flour and water thing. Then on day four you say to follow the directions fr day 3. Does that mean to discard 1/2 the mixture or not? When do I stop discarding 1/2 the mixture?

    4:20 pm  Oct 23rd, 2013
  76. Annie

    Eloise, Yes, the day 4 instructions are a just little confusing. But still, just continue to discard half and add water and flour as in day 3 until it is happily doubling and bubbling within a 12 hour period. Do this for a total of 6 days. If your starter isn’t doing anything by Day 6 you probably need to start over. But usually it will come alive before that. If your starter is bubbling at all, then just keep going and follow the instructions for Day 6.–and make bread. Re-read all the instructions carefully; Nicole puts it quite easy to understand. My starter, now over 2 years old is better than ever. My breads rise the same as, and even better than when using yeast. This is so worth it.

    5:49 pm  Oct 23rd, 2013
  77. Eloise Bates

    Thanks for the quick reply, Annie! And it is doing its ‘thing’, so I am very happy at this point. Will keep you updated.

    8:34 am  Oct 24th, 2013
  78. Colleen

    Well I have tried this 3 times and it hasn’t worked. It starts to have a few bubbles on the 2nd and 3rd but is doesn’t progress and then this last time on day 4 I noticed mold on the top. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Maybe no natural yeast in the air or flour. I did try using organic spelt flour. Any suggestions?

    10:59 am  Oct 24th, 2013
  79. Annie

    Colleen, I can’t really say what is going wrong with your efforts. Mold is certainly not a good thing and how it’s getting there is a mystery to me. Maybe start again using plain, unbleached white wheat flour.

    What is the temperature of your kitchen? Just curious; don’t know if that would make too much of a difference. Room temperature (around 70 degrees F.) is the best but cooler is okay.

    2:59 pm  Oct 24th, 2013
  80. Dani1984

    I just finished my very first starter, and it made great bread! But, it was just white bread…not really much sour about it 🙁 The starter did everything it needed to, but I want it to have that distinct flavor. If I repeat the feedings for closer to 8/9/10+ days, will it continue to ferment, or is there a point where the flavor is just the flavor and you can’t sour it more?

    8:45 am  Nov 10th, 2013
  81. Annie

    You might not be aware of the fact that many commercially sold “sour dough” breads are made more sour with the addition of citric acid so it’s easy to think that all sourdough should have a distinctive sour taste.

    The main reason for even having sourdough in the first place isn’t so much to get a sour flavor but to be able to rise bread dough without the use of yeast.

    That said, some sourdough making will turn out a sour tasting bread. This mostly depends on environmental factors. San Francisco has a reputation for turning out sour tasting sourdough breads. There are people who debunk this idea but I think it may have some truth to it. You can Google this idea.

    Anyway, if you want to spark up your bread with a bit of sour flavor go ahead and mix in no more than 3/8 teaspoon of citric acid to the measured flour & salt before blending it in with the starter/water. I frequently do this because I just love that sour flavor myself.

    I have found that I (and my hubby) really don’t like the sour flavor with whole grains. Whole wheat has so much of it’s own sweetness savor that for some reason it just doesn’t seem to go together with sourness. Might just be a personal preference. But with a crusty white bread it’s divine!

    Also, the longer you proof your starter the more sour it will get. But I don’t recommend doing the final proof for too long as it can (not always) lose some of its lift-ability. It also depends on your baking technique. I use a very hot pre-heated clay baker which gives excellent results.

    Hope this helps

    4:37 pm  Nov 11th, 2013
  82. jenny b

    My starter never sprung up; however, it grew mold so I had to toss it. I am wondering if my home is too cold right now? I think I will use the alternative recipe this coming week as I am making a sourdough stuffing for Thanksgiving.

    6:55 pm  Nov 24th, 2013
  83. jenny b

    umm…just realized that to make my sourdough bread, I need to have a starter. I will try again but will need to buy a loaf for this holiday.

    7:10 pm  Nov 24th, 2013
  84. martin

    Excited to see if this will work for me. Is it OK if the wholewheat flour I start with is coarse-ground? My Day 1 mixture is a little lumpy looking. Harder to find fine-ground wholewheat in Ireland, as indigenous recipes tend to call for coarser.

    1:07 am  Nov 25th, 2013
  85. Annie

    Martin, I don’t think the course flour will cause any trouble. Just feed it and stir it every day according to Nicole’s directions.

    12:01 pm  Nov 25th, 2013
  86. Rosanna

    Question, on the days that you “discard” 1/2 the mixture, can you actually keep them and have additional starters from them going, so you can try different recipes throughout experiments? They are basically extra, right? You could also give the “discarded 1/2” away as a starter each time too, correct? You just use treat them as starters at Day 3 on, right?

    4:15 pm  Feb 4th, 2014
  87. Annie

    Yes, the “discarded” starter is perfectly good starter as long as your starter has matured to where it is lively and bubbly. Give it to a friend or make something with it. I keep two starters just so I have a back-up in case something foreign gets into one of them and wrecks it. Hasn’t happened yet to me but it does happen.

    Also, I don’t keep so much at a time any more. When I bake with it I only need to have about 1/3 cup anyway. but I do keep it fed frequently. Usually I take all but about an inch of starter out and add 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 to 1/2 cup water to it in the jar. That gives me more than I usually need.

    Some people like to keep more than one variety of starter because they are purists in that when they do a whole grain loaf they want it to be 100% whole grain. I don’t mind having 1/3 cup white flour starter in a loaf of whole wheat or whole spelt or rye. Doesn’t bother me at all. My fridge gets chaotic enough without having more than two jars of starter going at a time in there.

    I have recipes for using that extra starter if you want them. Pancakes are the most popular. You can also make cookies, bagels, flat breads, crackers, biscuits, etc. If you bake every day or every other day you never have to throw away any starter because you are always using it. I don’t bake that much–I’d be a blimp if I did!

    Just reporting: I started my starter with this pineapple recipe of Nicole’s when she posted it in September of 2011. It is the best starter I ever had. It smells so good and when I feed it, it bubbles up to double in about 3 hours. Always amazes me. And my friends never stop praising my sourdough loaves.

    8:02 pm  Feb 4th, 2014
  88. Rosanna

    Thanks Annie! I’d love daily recipe ideas I cook a lot as a single mom I’m always looking for new and cost saving ideas 🙂 I hate tossing any of it, just seems such a waste 🙂

    12:33 pm  Feb 7th, 2014
  89. Annie

    Here’s some websites with sourdough recipes:

    Sourdough Pancakes

    Sourdough Biscuits

    Sourdough Bagels

    Sourdough Pie Crust

    Baked Sourdough Donuts

    Sourdough English Muffins

    No-Knead Sourdough Pizza Crust & other ideas…

    Sourdough Pita Bread

    Sourdough Cookies

    And, here’s a neat way to save your starter

    Let me know if any of these websites aren’t valid; I think I checked them all but…
    Have fun!

    4:48 pm  Feb 7th, 2014
  90. Rosanna

    Annie- thank you a million times over! I made the pancakes today, good golly they were amazing!!!! I’m having so much fun with these recipes!

    7:08 am  Feb 8th, 2014
  91. Annie

    Glad I could help

    7:15 pm  Feb 8th, 2014
  92. Rosanna

    Annie, one more question, lol, instead of discarding half my starter or splitting it, if I want to do double batches of recipes, can I just feed it?

    5:07 pm  Feb 10th, 2014
  93. Annie

    Absolutely; make as much as you want. All it needs is to be fed fresh flour and water. When I need extra I just put the “discarded” starter into another clean jar, feed it and then I have 2 jars…or 3 if you like. All you need is 1/2 cup of starter to start a healthy batch. It multiplies like bunnies if you’re not careful 🙂

    9:14 pm  Feb 13th, 2014
  94. Zoe

    I hope I’m not repeating what a previous poster already said (I didn’t have time to read every comment), but I think the first time you mention to wash & dry out the jar you’re making the starter in, not to let it go down your drain because flour and water make glue. I live in an RV and am currently on Day 3 & I have washed out my containers a couple of times sending that sticky starter down my “pipes”. Except, I do not have pipes. I have hoses and now my tank that is attached to our kitchen sink isn’t emptying completely. In fact, it is reading always full now. 🙁 I think as a fair warning to everyone about to attempt this recipe, you should warn them BEFORE they wash out their starter jars. :/ I fear that we may now have to replace our outgoing water lines and possibly even our grey tank. Please, warn people ahead of time. I was never taught that water and flour make glue…although, I suppose I should’ve known better because holy cow, it was really hard to wash out my jars, lol!

    Now, in regards to the actual recipe, I think it’s coming along nicely. I guess I won’t know ’til about tomorrow when it is supposed to (hopefully-fingers crossed) double in size. I have never baked bread before in my life and I thought I’d take a whack at baking my favorite bread. It does all make sense and I am growing excited with anticipation to begin the baking process! Thank you for doing a tutorial on this. 🙂

    Here’s to hoping it’s worth all this trouble!

    1:59 pm  Feb 18th, 2014
  95. Zoe

    I hope I’m not repeating what a previous poster already said (I didn’t have time to read every comment), but I think the first time you mention to wash & dry out the jar you’re making the starter in, not to let it go down your drain because flour and water make glue. I live in an RV and am currently on Day 3 & I have washed out my containers a couple of times sending that sticky starter down my “pipes”. Except, I do not have pipes. I have hoses and now my tank that is attached to our kitchen sink isn’t emptying completely. In fact, it is reading always full now. 🙁 I think as a fair warning to everyone about to attempt this recipe, you should warn them BEFORE they wash out their starter jars. :/ I fear that we may now have to replace our outgoing water lines and possibly even our grey tank. Please, warn people ahead of time. I was never taught that water and flour make glue…although, I suppose I should’ve known better because holy cow, it was really hard to wash out my jars, lol!

    Now, in regards to the actual recipe, I think it’s coming along nicely. I guess I won’t know ’til about tomorrow when it is supposed to (hopefully-fingers crossed) double in size. I have never baked bread before in my life and I thought I’d take a whack at baking my favorite bread. It does all make sense and I am growing excited with anticipation to begin the baking process! Thank you for doing a tutorial on this. 🙂

    Here’s to hoping it’s worth all this trouble!

    P.S. If you’re not supposed to wash your jar out down the drain, do you have another suggestion as to how to remove that sticky starter? Paper towels are not doing the trick. 🙁

    2:01 pm  Feb 18th, 2014
  96. Annie

    Sorry about your tank; what a mess.
    I know Nicole’s pictures (above) make her jars look spiffy clean but to tell the truth, mine never look that way. My jars are VERY scruffy looking with globs of dried starter stuck all over LOL!! Once in a while it gets a bit too much and then I wash my jar by letting it soak in a bowl with enough warm water to completely cover it. I just let it sit until I can wipe that now softened “glue” right off. I always pick and rub off any large globs and toss them into my compost bucket. I do this in the bowl so that the little bit of starter left in there gets completely diluted in the bowl of water. This probably won’t work for you because of your sewer system. I can see how even a small bit of flour would collect on the bottom of the tank and eventually clog the drain. We have a large underground septic tank and a drain field. Any starter that gets into the tank will settle to the bottom and in a short time will be eaten up like all the other solids that go down there.

    Now, don’t think I would ever put my discarded starter down the drain; no, no. That would be too much and could stick to the sides of the pipes. That goes to friends or into pancakes, cookies or whatever and gets given away sometimes. I’d say most of it gets tossed into my compost pile

    4:13 pm  Feb 18th, 2014
  97. Diana Katerina

    Thanks for the easy instructions. I’m on to day 6 and have been making it with kefir whey and flour and only refreshing it every day not twice a day. It’s coming along nicely. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1:20 pm  Mar 5th, 2014
  98. Jeff Schieberl

    First attempt it fell/collapsed on its self between day 4 and 5. It only rose 60% so I let it go 12 more hours, (in the 12 extra hours it fell) Trying again!!! Any advice as to what I may have done wrong? The weather was quite hot?

    4:25 pm  Apr 16th, 2014
  99. Annie

    Jeff, a collapsing starter doesn’t mean your starter is bad. This falling stage is quite natural. Feed it again by removing all but a cup or so of stirred down starter and add about 2/3 to 1 cup flour and half that amount (or a little more) water. Stir it real good and let it sit. The “rising” is just to let you know your starter is alive and well during the hours following a feeding.

    What some people don’t understand is that it’s only when you bake bread does the dough rise and then hold its expanded size. Starter, in itself, is not expected to hold its lofty height for very long. It will collapse. If it did rise and if it is still bubbly and has a nice fermented (sour) aroma, then you are good to go. Treat it well by feeding it regularly and you will be rewarded.

    6:01 pm  Apr 17th, 2014
  100. Jeff Schieberl

    Hi Annie! Thanks for the advice, My starter is now ready and I’m making bread this weekend. Will let you know how it goes.

    6:54 pm  Apr 21st, 2014
  101. Jeff Schieberl

    Made my first two loafs of bread! (using your starter and sourdough bread recipe)They came out perfect and tasted better then I could have hoped for. Had it with my wife’s spaghetti. reminded me of the great bread we got at the local bakery when I live in Milan Italy some 38 years ago. Many Thanks!!!

    8:17 am  Apr 26th, 2014
  102. Annie


    8:46 pm  Apr 26th, 2014
  103. Dylan

    Thanks for the sweet recipe!

    This recipe works amazingly well but I found that I didn’t need to use pineapple juice for my starter to come alive! Water and flour works just fine if you give the starter more time initially to get fired up (48 hrs without touching it). Eliminating the pineapple juice can help reduce the carbon and water footprints of our tasty homemade breads which, consequently, will up our DIY credentials haha (if you live near pineapples, however, I envy you!) I also found that using a kitchen scale ($2 at my local thrift store) made this whole process a lot easier. I was able to get that sweet 100% hydration at every feeding.

    As a side note make sure to give your yeasty-friends a good name and talk to them too (they’re beautiful living organisms!)

    2:48 pm  May 1st, 2014
  104. Anna

    I am wondering if you have to discard 1/2 on each of the days that copies day 3 or if you just keep adding.

    7:09 pm  Oct 5th, 2015
  105. Annie

    Yes, you have to keep removing half the starter until it reaches the point where it doubles after every time you feed it. Once your starter is “hot” then you are ready to bake bread. If you bake a loaf every time you feed your starter then you can use that discarded starter for your bread. Though, for one loaf, depending on your kitchen, the weather, type of flour, etc., you generally won’t need more than a third of a cup of starter. After you’ve been making breads for a while you will figure out for yourself just how much starter you need to keep around and how much you need for your baking.

    Whatever you do, do not put the discarded starter down the drain! If you’re not going to use it then put it in your compost or trash.

    I agree with Dylan about using a scale when baking. You will get consistent results that way. You don’t need a scale when feeding your starter–the amounts don’t have to be exact in any way. With the amount of bread I make, I keep about 2/3 of a cup of starter in my fridge or on the counter (depends on amount of time between baking). Then half of that will be put into the dough and the other half gets mixed with new flour and water. Consistency of the starter is according to personal liking.

    10:27 am  Oct 26th, 2015
  106. Annie

    PS: just for your hopeful information; I made Nicole’s starter 4 years ago and it is the best starter I ever had. It just keeps getting better and better. I’ve given a lot of it away to friends.

    10:31 am  Oct 26th, 2015
  107. Reberta

    The instructions state to leave the starter at “room” temperature, exactly what is that.? My house doesn’t get above 73 at the most, my friends is sometimes as low as 70. This is for the whole house except for the back porch & bedrooms which are colder. What do I do in this case?

    9:55 am  Dec 24th, 2015
  108. Nicole

    Hi Reberta- Just keep it in the warmest part of the house… high 60’s to low 70’s should be fine. It might take a little bit longer to become active during these cooler winter temps, but it should still work.

    12:53 pm  Dec 28th, 2015
  109. Reberta

    the last comment I made is the first one ever that I have posted.
    thank you!

    9:58 am  Dec 24th, 2015
  110. Mary

    I’ve always wanted to start a starter but worry I would have a hard time keeping up with it. We would go thru one small loaf per week. How do you manage this? Thanks

    6:30 pm  Jan 28th, 2016
  111. Annie

    Mary, here’s how i schedule my bread making. If you are asking about how to manage making a starter then just go to the top of this page and follow Nicole’s directions–awesome starter technique.
    I make one loaf a week with an occasional one in-between for a special occasion. Managing it is no problem for me. I want to have fresh bread early every Sunday morning so it has to be made the day before. Every Friday evening I prepare the dough and set it to proof all night while I’m sleeping. Sometime the next morning, anywhere between 10 and 14 hours later, I form the loaf, set it to its shorter proofing while the oven heats up and then bake it. It is always perfect for Sunday.

    If I need bread for a special get-together in an evening I set it out to proof the night before and it is ready for the gathering in the evening.

    I never worry about a loaf going stale. As soon as it it cool I put it in a brown paper bag and it is fine. To keep an uncut loaf longer than 24 hours I might put it in a plastic bag and then crisp up the crust in a pre-heated, very hot oven for about 6 minutes

    6:45 pm  Feb 3rd, 2016
  112. dianne

    My starter is thick. Not liquid. But i measured properly (even weighed the juice). Is this how it is supposed to be? It doesn’t look like the picture. It’s more like dough

    2:30 pm  Feb 9th, 2016
  113. Marilyn

    I am wondering if I can use gluten free flour?

    1:29 pm  Apr 18th, 2016
  114. Marilyn

    Can I use glutton free flour?

    3:37 pm  Apr 22nd, 2016
  115. Brian

    So I’ve combined the pineapple juice and King Arthur whole wheat unbleached flour.
    My mixture came out pretty dry so I added a bit more liquid. 24hrs later and the mix is pretty gummy/stretchy. Almost like an over moist pizza dough. Have I done something wrong?

    8:18 pm  Apr 25th, 2016
  116. Allison Green

    Hi! Excited to try out this starter, I’ve had such great luck with your other recipes. Your spicy pumpkin soup and roasted artichokes were what really got me cooking about five years ago, and I haven’t looked back since!

    A question about keeping the starter in the fridge… what steps do you use for feeding it each week? Do you let it sit out at room temperature for a period of time before or after the feeding?

    6:00 am  May 6th, 2016
  117. Colin

    Just tried this with the pineapple juice. It wasn’t doing a lot for the first couple of days but I kept at it. It started to bubble slightly so I fed it for a couple of days. Then one day I realized that I had forgot about it for a couple of days and when I checked it had a dry crust on the top. I just threw it away and fed it again.

    The starter had the distinct sour smell but wasn’t rising. I actually thought about throwing it away and decided one more day and feeding. I am glad I did cause today it has more than doubled in size. I am so excited.

    Time to try the sourdough bread recipe.

    7:44 am  May 24th, 2016
  118. Noelle Ray

    Thanks for this info! I just tried to start a sourdough starter with flour and water…it was bubbling like crazy in 3 days (I live in AZ where it is warm), but it didn’t smell good. I am going to try the pineapple juice to see if I can get the bacteria right! Thanks!!!

    8:48 am  May 31st, 2016
  119. Bethany

    I make this pancake recipe with the otherwise-discarded starter:

    Sometimes when we don’t have an active batch, we’ll do a 24 hour starter JUST to make pancakes. It creates an entirely different texture of melt-in-mouth pancakes that make it hard to go back to another recipe. Enjoy <3

    6:14 am  Jun 9th, 2016
  120. Ann Waugh

    Dianne, the starter can be as thick or thin as you like. It depends on how you put the bread dough together. If the starter is very thin then you might need to add more flour to the dough depending on how hydrated you like your dough to be. The wetter the dough the more open the crumb will be. But it takes a very quick hand to get a loose, wet dough from the board to the basket. it’s all about personal preference. I keep my starter something like a thickish pancake batter. Nowadays my dough, when ready for the basket, is pretty darn loose and wet. Practice is the key.

    I use 520 grams organic, unbleached white flour, (2 tsp. salt is mixed into the flour) 1 2/3 C water and 1/3 C starter to make dough for one loaf. Because this makes such a wet dough I allow a lot of extra flour on the board and on my hands for forming the loaf.

    Allison, I keep my starter in the fridge until a couple of days before I plan on making bread. I take it out late in the day, feed it and let it do its thing on the counter over night. I usually feed it again the next morning, leave it on the counter and make dough that evening. Then I let the dough proof over night, form and bake the bread in the morning.

    Brian, you’re probably doing just fine. Some flours will make a smooth, gummy mass. Keep going with the recipe.

    Marilyn, Gluten free flours are another thing altogether. I have heard of some gluten-free sourdough recipes but I have strong doubts about them since they don’t have the gluten necessary for a good rise. The gluten-free breads that I have made use more of a batter than a dough. They often have special added things like gums and thickeners to replace the gluten. You might have to Google your question. If you find something let us know.

    Colin, no need to throw away that dry crusty top. Next time if that happens, just either stir it into the starter or lift it off and toss it. It is only the very top layer of starter that got a bit dehydrated and is not an indicator of spoilage. I set (only set) a plastic jar lid on the top of my starter to keep it moist yet giving it some air as well.

    5 years after following Nicole’s recipe here, my starter is still performing fabulously. Most of the time it sits in the fridge totally ignored by me…it doesn’t seem to mind as long as I feed it once a week. Twice is better.

    4:04 pm  Sep 9th, 2016
  121. Brian

    Does humidity matter? I live in Colorado where our average humidity is 10-30%

    4:08 pm  Sep 10th, 2016
  122. Nicole

    Brian, humidity shouldn’t affect things too much.

    10:19 am  Sep 12th, 2016
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