How to Make a Sourdough Starter: Day Seven

Sourdough Starter Day 7 Morning

I can’t believe it’s been a full week since I started this sourdough experiment.  I can now say that I have a brand new fully active sourdough starter – the first I’ve created in Fresno.  I’m excited to bake with it and see how the flavor compares to my other two starters that have been traveling around with me for a while.

This starter seemed to be fully mature yesterday, but I decided to keep feeding it for one more day.  When it comes to sourdough starters, the more you feed them, the happier they will be.

I took that first photo after I fed it this morning.  It started growing immediately and had already passed the rubber band mark by the time I had the camera ready.

Sourdough Starter Day 7 Afternoon

It then doubled in size within a few hours and by afternoon had almost filled the jar completely.

Sourdough Starter Day 7 Evening

By evening, it was filled to the top and very bubbly throughout.  After taking this photo, I stirred it down, discarded half of the starter, and fed it with the usual amount of flour and water.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll start the bread.

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)

    Wow! That is one lively starter. Can’t wait to see the breads you make with it.

    7:04 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  2. Jessica @ Glaze

    I have been looking for a good Amish friendship bread starter recipe since I killed the last one I had. I did everything right I swear! Any ideas? or maybe I just need to contact my local Amish community.

    7:43 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  3. Christi

    I’m amazed at your starter –just beautiful! Can you tell me if you continually use pineapple juice to feed it, or do you just use the juice (as opposed to non-chlorinated water) when starting a starter?

    Many thanks!

    8:18 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  4. Nicole

    Jessica – Sorry, not sure about the Amish Friendship Bread. I haven’t had it since I was a kid, but I remember it being very good 🙂

    Christi – The pineapple juice is only used for the first two days of starting the culture and then filtered water is used from that point forward. The acidity of the juice helps things along in the beginning stages. My starter currently has no hint of pineapple juice.

    8:38 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  5. Christi

    Thanks so much for your reply, Nicole. I don’t know how I missed that…but I did -doh! ;-/

    8:43 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  6. kriswithmany

    OK, now I really want to start one. That looks great!

    8:48 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  7. Aileen

    How does pineapply juice makes a difference?

    I created a sourdough starter 2 years ago but the breads which I baked with that starter came out too dense and very sour in taste. How can I make a sourdough starter that I can use to bake crusty breads that are airy and not too sour in taste?

    I’d like to try your starter recipe…

    9:40 pm  Sep 29th, 2011
  8. Laura

    Nicole, that looks amazing, and so active! Can’t wait to see what you use it for.

    1:43 pm  Sep 30th, 2011
  9. Renée J. (RJ Flamingo)

    Through Linda’s sourdough fettucine post, I discovered that you just did what I’m doing on my blog, right now! Must be “Sourdough Season”! LOL! The interesting thing is, I’m using unbleached white flour and tap water from the very beginning, and so far, my results seem to be tracking yours.

    This is my Day 3: I also linked to your initial post in mine. What fun!

    10:12 am  Oct 7th, 2011
  10. jessica

    i know one bakery in my town that already had their starter for 80 years, their bread tastes amazing

    10:41 pm  Oct 8th, 2011
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    How to Make a Sourdough Starter: Day Seven – Pinch My Salt

    11:40 pm  Mar 31st, 2013

    Hello, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!

    8:18 am  Jun 7th, 2013
  13. Katya

    Hi! I need help… I fallowed your instructions exactly but for some reason my starter is not very active. It does bubble and rise a little but in 7 days it never double. Any ideas way???

    8:33 pm  Sep 7th, 2013
  14. Nicole

    Hi Katya,

    Perhaps the starter needs to be kept in a warmer place? The bubbling and rising is a good sign… Keep feeding it and store it in a fairly warm spot and see if it eventually doubles in size. Good luck!

    12:35 pm  Sep 9th, 2013
  15. Nicole

    Okay so I’ve completed the steps for day one of my starter. My question is once I have the starter complete and used part of it to bake bread when I continue the starter do I start back at day 1 feeding it or just pick up with day 3 and continue? Thank you!

    12:04 pm  Sep 18th, 2013
  16. JJ

    I wonder what to add to the starter that’s leftover to make more.

    3:15 pm  Oct 17th, 2013
  17. Nicole

    I’ve started my starter! I am excited. Mine looks thinker than your pictures, but I didn’t add extra liquid like you suggested you could on day 2 post. Hope that it’s still ok. My question is when you store it in the refrigerator, do you only cover it with a paper towel, or something else? I didn’t notice the answer in any of the posts. Thanks!

    10:27 am  Nov 16th, 2013
  18. Ron Mason

    Hi, 6 oz. of pineapple juice poured over a cup of flour was just a gob of dough. I had to add several more ounces of juice to make it mix into any kind of consistancy. Youf thoughts on that please.

    2:44 pm  Feb 21st, 2015
  19. Libby

    Hello there! I’ve been wanting to make a sourdough starter for quite sometime now, and I’ve looked at many recipes, but finally I decided I was brave enough to start one. I didn’t have any pineapple juice, so i just used water and a bit of sugar… maybe half a tbs.. the first day along with bread flour (since I had a ton of bread flour on hand). The second day I used a bit of corn syrup instead of sugar…. I got up today (day three) and it had DOUBLED 😀 I’m so happy. But I did have to put it in a larger container since the mason jar seemed a little small… I followed instructions for day 3… so far so good 🙂 I was wondering- after day 7, does the starter need to be refrigerated? I’ve seen in many other starter recipes to refrigerate it once it gets going… or should I leave it out on the counter???? What do YOU DO with your starter after it gets going? I almost kept the discarded half to give to a friend or just to have extra, but i decided not to since I didn’t know if anyone would be interested or if I’d be making that much bread. haha. Maybe I’ll save some from the next part…

    9:33 am  Jul 27th, 2015
  20. Libby

    OH NO! I just realized I added ONE full cup of water instead of half of a cup!! WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

    9:35 am  Jul 27th, 2015
  21. Nicole

    Libby – No problem, just double the amount of flour and it will be fine. Next time you feed the starter, just discard some extra to account for the extra flour and water you added. And yes, you can start storing your starter in the refrigerator once it gets going strong.

    9:43 am  Jul 27th, 2015
  22. Libby

    Perhaps I should start over… Darn it all. -_-.

    9:36 am  Jul 27th, 2015
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