Sourdough Starter

Simple, easy, and versatile; Welcome to a whole new world of baking.


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About This Recipe

By: Noriko Shindo

To bake sourdough bread, you need a sourdough starter (basically a natural form of levain, or the yeast in baking if you will). If you are making the starter from scratch, I suggest you make the starter at least a week before you intend to bake any bread to make it active. If you read my intro on Starting Sourdough, you know that I like to use Rye flour in the mix. However, more basic forms of starter can be 100% white wheat (for this recipe just use 40g of white wheat so the wheat-to-water ratio is 1:1). I haven’t actually tried with 100% white wheat because we try to eat mostly unprocessed whole-foods in the house but I’m sure the principle is the same – only the taste or flavor will be different if you mix Rye in the starter. Once you start, you will find that you need to ‘discard’ some starter. I don’t like to waste food, so I keep the discard in a separate jar and keep in the fridge for other forms of use (which is another topic for another post).


  • 25g Rye Flour
  • 15g White Flour (Use strong flour with at least 10% protein content)
  • 40g (ml) distilled water at room temperature


You will probably not eat the starter as is, but already even in its basic form, it is great for fiber and iron intake!

  • Dietary Fiber (helps lower blood cholesterol and aids with constipation) 22% 22%
  • Iron (Helps function of hemoglobin) 13% 13%
  • Protein (helps strengthen bones, heart, and muscles) 12% 12%

Step by Step Instructions


Mix the flour(s) and water in a jar and mix thoroughly.


Add a rubber band to mark the current height of the mixture (see picture).


Close lid and leave in a dark, warm place.


After approximately half a day, you will see the starter has risen above the rubber band. Discard most of the starter, leaving about 5-10g in the jar and repeat steps 1-3.


When you make a starter for the first time, try to ‘feed’ your starter twice a day (steps 1-3) for about a week until you see that the starter can rise to 2-3 times the height of where it started. Once you have an active starter like this, you can throw the starter in the fridge and ‘activate’ it (steps 1-3) only the night before you intend to bake. If you find someone who can give you some of their starter, then the first week here is not required.

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