A lot of people started making bread during the pandemic, so I’m late having started this journey last month. But if you follow me on Instagram (see Bread 🍞 highlight), you may have seen that I’ve hit the ground hard on this new hobby! Considering I don’t love cooking or baking, I’m surprised by my own enthusiasm in bread baking. I think it’s because work has been even more stressful recently, so having a tactile activity to take my mind off it is a welcomed break.
Anyway, after my own trial and error and research, I zoned in on a beginner sourdough starter recipe and essential tools for those with absolutely no previous bread making experience:
Super Beginner Sourdough Starter Recipe
A sourdough starter is just flour + water + time! That’s it!
Day 1 – Mix 1/2 cup (60g) whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup (60g) lukewarm filtered water in a glass jar, cover lightly (no screw cap), and put somewhere warm 70-80 degrees (I put mine a couple feet from my fireplace and it thrives there).
Day 2 – Keep 1/2 cup (60g) of your starter and discard the rest to another glass jar (this will be your discard jar, and there are lots of recipes for your discard so you don’t waste! I’ll have a post on this later). To your remaining starter, feed it with 1/4 cup (30g) whole wheat flour + 1/4 (30g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (60g) lukewarm filtered water, and mix, cover, and put some place warm.
Day 3 – Keep 3/4 cups (90g) of starter and discard the rest. Feed starter with 1/2 cup (60g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (60g) water, and mix, cover, and put some place warm.
Day 4 – Keep a little less than 1 cup (105g) of starter. Feed with 1/4 cup (30g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour (if you want it to be economical. Otherwise keep to bread flour) + 1/4 cup (60g) water.
Day 5 – Keep 1 cup (113g) of starter. Feed with 1/2 (60g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (60g) water.
Day 6 – Keep a little more than 1 cup (117g) of starter. Feed with 1/4 cup (30g) whole wheat flour + 1/4 (30g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (60g) water.
Day 7 – Keep 1 1/4 cups (130g) of starter. Feed with 1/2 (60g) bread flour + 1/4 cup (60g) water.
My starter was strong enough to make sourdough bread with on Day 7, but see if yours has risen 2-3x or can pass the float test. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks — don’t give up! My starter is like my 2021 Tamagotchi pet haha.
For more detailed yet still simple instructions, I recommend The Clever Carrot. I used their recipe as a base, but the recipe and schedule I provided are adjusted based on what gave me better results:
The 1st photo of this sourdough starter was when I just used all purpose flour and cold tap water. I saw very little growth for days. The 2nd-3rd photos were with bread flour and lukewarm filtered water. For the 4th photo, I nearly started over with whole wheat flour, which immediately grew so much faster. The 5th and 6th photos were with a blend of whole wheat and bread flour. The 7th photo was the consistency when my starter was strong enough for baking.
Super Beginner Sourdough Starter Tools
You probably already have most of what you need to make a sourdough starter. However, the truly must have item if you don’t already own one is a kitchen scale! Now that I measure in weight I can never go back.
You may also have lots of spatulas, but I found all mine too big/short/flimsy for mixing in and scraping the sourdough jar. I have this OXO jar spatula and literally use it everyday when feeding my starter.
A wide mouth glass jar is ideal for a sourdough starter, but I have so many mason jars at home I’m just using those for now. An angled measuring cup would help with pouring water into the jar, but I just use a regular measuring cup and deal with a little spillage.
I’ll later have a part 2, which will be a post on a Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipe & Essential Tools! Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments!