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  1. Natalie says

    I am going to try the sourdough starter this week. I do have a question. Once the starter is finished (after the 7 days) what do I in order to bake it? Is that where I follow the fridge to bake methods?

    • Tiffany says


      Once your starter is fully active and you have a nice “domed” look at the peak of the yeast eating, you can take that and make bread. The fridge to bake method is only if you create the starter but end up storing it in the fridge because you don’t need it immediately. I’ll have a basic sourdough bread recipe for you this week, but in the meantime, if you have more starter than you need, make pancakes, waffles, biscuits or even chocolate cake (which I’m working on for Father’s Day today). Otherwise, keep building it up because you’ll need two cups worth for my bread recipe (plus some leftover to continue feeding).
      ~ Tiffany

  2. says

    Thanks for posting such a great tutorial. I love all the step by step pictures. Sourdough is the next thing I want to get into. I’ve done the soaking and sprouted flour now for sourdough! Can you use sprouted flour to make bread “natural yeast?” Thanks again!

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Hannah! You can use sprouted flour, but the results will likely be a bit darker and possibly denser. Since sourdough generally takes a few trial and errors anyway, you may want to experiment with non-sprouted flour, just to eliminated some of the steps involved. Once you have your “perfect” light loaf, then simply sub the sprouted flour. Then again if you don’t mind the work, sprout away! :) ~Tiffany

  3. says

    I’ve been wanting to do this for ages and just keep putting it off. No more! I just need to find me a decent-sized container to store it in. :)

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Jaimie!

      When you’re first starting out, a quart jar is excellent. When the starter is going, I’ve found my “medium” sized pyrex bowl to be EXCELLENT. I use a large dinner plate to cover 90% and my yeast is multiplying like you wouldn’t believe. No special container required! ~Tiffany

  4. says

    I’ve read so many posts on sourdough, but this was one of the most straightforward and informative yet. I learned several new things, like the fact that you can maintain it with as little as 1 Tablespoon amounts. And that you should take it out of the fridge over 3 days in advance. Thanks for the great info, and for putting it so clearly!

    • Tiffany says

      Thank you Elsie! The smaller amounts are excellent when you have a small starter and don’t want it to grow much. You’d want to use a little more though if you have a couple quarts going though – one tablespoon won’t be enough to feed all the yeast if you’ve got 8 cups worth, know what I mean? And yes, the timing is so the yeast not only comes to room temp, but so it’s completely active and out of the dormant state. So glad you learned something new!! ~Tiffany

      • Carling says

        Hi! How much would starter (less than 8 cups) would you consider ok to feed it only 1 tbsp? Also, what is the reason for pouring off the liquid and not just stirring it back in? Great article!

        • Tiffany says

          I would feed 1 Tbsp for every 1 cup. You CAN stir the water back in, which is what I do now, but pouring off the liquid will result in a thicker starter (and it’s easier to add more water in the recipe than it is to remove). Thanks Carling!

  5. says

    You had me at “sweet, creamy butter”. I love the daily photos, those will come in handy when I try this (which will be soon)! I am so glad you posted this (and shared on Natural Living Monday), because I have been wanting to try this for a while.

    I will be looking out for your sourdough bread recipe :)

  6. Natalie says

    Ok I’m on day 5 of the starter and it smells like it should (I think) but no liquid is forming on top. Is this ok? Or should I start over?

    • Tiffany says

      You’re fine Natalie. The amount of liquid you have really depends on how much water you add and your environment. No liquid isn’t a sign of a bad starter. As long as you’re seeing bubbles on top (and perhaps in the middle too if you can see through the jar), then you’re doing good! :) ~Tiffany

      • Natalie says

        Awesome – no liquid but have bubbles and smells good. So looking forward to having some of this bread soon:) Thanks!

  7. says

    Thanks for all of the great info! My starter is active and I attempted biscuits and pancakes with my excess, but I don’t think it’s really *there* yet.

    Lots of the instructions I’ve seen say like you did to discard or use all but 1/2 cup. Is this just for expansion or will I mess things up if I just keep adding flour and water and don’t discard anything? I’d love to keep feeding it until I have enough to make a loaf of bread, a batch of biscuits, and pancakes all at once, ya know?

    I’m featuring you again for Wellness Wednesday! :)

    • Tiffany says

      You’re welcome Anjanette!

      Tossing out the starter is mainly for expansion. As the yeast continues to multiply at an exponential rate, it’ll increase more and more in size with each passing day. It does play a small part in ensuring somewhat even distribution between new water/flour and existing yeast, but I’ve had roughly 6 cups of starter in a bowl at one time and haven’t run into any problems adding/stirring well… yet. I personally think throwing away starter in the beginning is mainly to keep the starter in a manageable size when you’re first starting out.

      Once your starter is active, not discarding anything and using a large bowl won’t make a difference in the end. I now have a medium-sized pyrex bowl on my counter that I just keep adding to until I have enough… I don’t throw away any starter anymore.

      Thanks again for the feature! I’m happy to hear your sourdough adventures are going well – please let me know if I can help in any way!! ~Tiffany

  8. Katie777 says

    I used the extra started for sourdough cookies they have a tang everyone loved them. Sweet bread with apples and cinnamon, then hamburger/hotdog buns it gives the buns a different texture. I never threw any out.

  9. mary says

    I put in one cup of flour and one cup water on the second day. Will that screw everything up, should I start over again?

    • Tiffany says

      LOL, maybe because hot dog buns are made of flour? Keep going Mary. As long as the smell isn’t really bad, you’re good!

  10. Julee says

    I lifted the tea towel on my bowl to feed my starter, and there was mold growing on top! What did I do wrong?! :(

  11. Melissa says

    Just tried this last night, already messing up. Im not sure what is going on with my rye flour, but 1 Cup flour and 1 Cup water is anything but soupy, its extreemly thick. tried it 3 times, finally just added more water, but im afriad to feed it tonight and have the same problem and waste all my flour..what do you think I should do? try again using another type of flour?

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Melissa!

      Thicker starter is actually better in my opinion. You use less water in the making, but you can always add more in depending on the recipe you’re using (pancakes, bread, waffles, tortillas, etc.). If you’re concerned about wasting flour, feed with 1/4 cup instead of a half. You can add different flours now, but it’s best to continue w/the same flour while creating a starter. You can switch it once it’s fully active, or even use different flours in the recipe. I’d keep going if I were in your shoes! :)

      • Melissa says

        Ok, I’ll keep going and see what happens. Thanks so much for getting back. I have no idea how you find the time to respond to all of these comments..but Im glad you do! Thanks!

          • Melissa says

   were right to keep on going, I have an active starter. But still another question. I am on my 6th day, however in looking at your pictures, my starter appears to be sort of in between the 3rd and 4th days. I’m ok with that (except that I’m anxious to make bread :)). But should I keep going until it looks more like your 7th day regardless of how many days?

          • Tiffany says

            Congrats Melissa!

            Sometimes starters take longer than just 7 days to be fully active. Different starters will also look different, depending on the flour/water ratio used. Basically, you want bubbles and a dome. Heavy flours won’t necessarily do both, but since you’re using rye (right?), you’ll see both. Do this test: feed in the morning and 2-3 hours later you should have a dome. If so, you’re ready for bread. Do a half batch at first, since making bread itself is often trial/error. This way you’ll have plenty to keep feeding too. :)

  12. Clare bennett says

    First, thank you so much for posting such a detailed informative recipe! Second, I just started mine yesterday and this morning the top of it is dry and cracked. I followed your instructions but maybe my house is too dry?? Or it’s the flour ? I used bobs red mill dark rye flour. When I first combined the water and flour it was roughly the consistency of pancake batter, is that proper? Not sure if I should feed this one or try again with more water, please advise. Thank you!

    • Tiffany says

      Sorry to take so long Clare! I would just keep going. Be sure to cover it with a towel or lid or plate (cracked) something. Too much air will make it appear dry, but all is ok. Pancake batter is about right! Keep up the good work!

    • tamara says

      No you don’t add yeast. You just stir flour and water together over 3-7 days. I stirred mine outside to really get fresh air in there. The yeast in the air takes hold and feeds in the flour water mixture. I use both white whole wheat and whole wheat flours. Best!

  13. tamara says

    Sourdough is so easy to maintain. Mine sits in the back I’d the fridge for a month at a time. Whenever I want to use it I just pour the alcohol off the top and add the cup of flour and cup of water to revive it. It’s good to go after about six hours. Sourdough is really hard to kill.

  14. Kim says

    I just wanted to share that, when I was at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market a few days ago, I found a 5-pound bag of rye flour for only $0.10 more than the 2-pound bag I was finding everywhere else. I believe it was $3.58. If you’re wanting to start sourdough with the suggested rye flour but hate spending that much for such a small bag, you might want to check out WM!

  15. Munira says

    After sourdiugh is ready,what do you recommend to cover the glass bottle with?(I usually cover my kefir bottle with gauze and tighten it with a rubber band.)thanks in advance.

    • Munira says

      Excuse me,I wanted to mean sourdough starter. I am going to keep it at room temperature and feed it with 1tbls of whole wheat flour and filtered water.I do not know how I shouLD cover the bottle now At room temperature.

      • Tiffany says

        Treating your sourdough starter like kefir is fine. I’ve used a plate that’s cracked a bit, and I’ve also used a coffee filter. :)

  16. Shauna says

    I’m understanding that you drain off the liquid during the starter process, but then discard some of the actual starter every day after it’s activated… is that correct?

    • Tiffany says

      Correct – it’s to concentrate the starter that’s being fed. You don’t HAVE to pour off, but it makes it grow faster. Just use in bread or pancakes so you don’t waste it.

  17. anisha says

    I want to try sourdough starter, but th only confusion is, it’s winter here in Perth, should I give it a try now or wait until spring.


    • Tiffany says

      Fortunately, time of year doesn’t matter with sourdough starter Anisha. Go ahead and give it a go!

      • anisha says

        Thanks Tiffany, as you have asked to keep it in warm place, can you recommend where to keep it ( may be I my sound kiddish, but am quite new to baking breads n hence such query), also want to check as I don’t want inside the house n fridge to smell sour n yeasty.

        • Tiffany says

          If it’s in a jar, I keep it in a cabinet above my microwave. If in a bowl, it’s on top of the microwave itself. Some people put it above the fridge! You have to get up close and personal in order to smell it, so I wouldn’t worry about that unless your kitchen is very small and more closed than open. :)

  18. Becky says

    I was wondering after 7days and feeding it a 1/2 cup of rye flour and 1/2cup of water, and then using it to bake bread. What do I do next to ensure I have enough starter for two loaves next week? Put in the fridge feeding it the same amount or less or can I skip the fridge and keep it put continually while feeding it? Thank you 😉

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Becky,

      To have enough starter for two loaves of bread you’ll need to take how much is needed for the recipe and then add another cup. That’s the amount of starter you need BEFORE you pull some aside for the recipe (you want to keep about a cup leftover to continue feeding). Depending on when you want to bake and how much you need will determine whether you add daily or fridge, and how much you feed.

  19. Marty says

    I’d like to try my hand at gluten-free sourdough. Any thoughts on developing a gluten-free starter? What would be the best GF flour(s) to use, in your opinion? Would the procedures remain the same or vary depending on the flour/flour mix used?

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