Making your own sourdough starter is easy and it’s the first step in baking delicious artisan bread. Baking bread from scratch is satisfying in its own right, but when you’ve also had a hand in the creation of one of the most fundamental components, the leavening agent itself, you’ll feel an even greater satisfaction and connectedness to the process.

Are there kids in your house? This little science project is ideally suited to sharing with any children you can convince to join in. Culture their budding scientific minds while creating your own bread culture.

The video below outlines one simple method that worked for me the first time I tried it. Further down the page, I’ve also included printable instructions with measurements for the ingredients.



In the video, I give credit for this technique to Peter Reinhart. It has since come to my attention that Debra Wink, a chemist and accomplished baker, is the mastermind and author of this Pineapple Juice Technique. A lot of research and testing went into developing and refining the technique. The choice of pineapple juice over other juices is from much trial and error. Debra was kind enough to email her essay on the Pineapple Juice Technique. Click here for a PDF.

As I mention in the video, the wild yeast spores and lactic-acid bacteria that give your starter its leavening properties are all around you. You are simply creating the conditions ideally suited for them to thrive and multiply. I used whole wheat flour in this recipe because fresh whole wheat flour may harbor greater numbers of yeast spores than ordinary all-purpose flour and so increase your likelihood for success. It worked for me, so you might try the same. If, at any time, you wish to transition your whole wheat sourdough starter to a regular white flour starter, it’s super easy to do so.

Make Your Own Sourdough Starter
Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Create your own sourdough starter from the wild yeast floating all around you. The starting point for the ultimate in artisan bread DIY.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 96 hours


  • Whole wheat flour
  • Unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Purified water


Step 1. Mix 3 ½ tbs. whole wheat flour with ¼ cup unsweetened pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for 48 hours at room temperature. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. (“Unsweetened” in this case simply means no extra sugar added).

Step 2. Add to the above 2 tbs. whole wheat flour and 2 tbs. pineapple juice. Cover and set aside for a day or two. Stir vigorously 2-3x/day. You should see some activity of fermentation within 48 hours. If you don’t, you may want to toss this and start over (or go buy some!)

Step 3. Add to the above 5 ¼ tbs. whole wheat flour and 3 tbs. purified water. Cover and set aside for 24 hours.

Step 4. Add ½ cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup purified water. You should have a very healthy sourdough starter by now.

I do wonder if the fact that I bake all the time with a sourdough starter (and so theoretically have wild yeast floating around our house by the gazillions and covering everything we own) would increase the likelihood that I would have success creating my own sourdough culture from scratch. So I anxiously await feedback from anyone who attempts this process at home. If you give this method a try, please let us know about your results in the lively discussion below.

How To Make Sourdough Starter

Comments from our Forum

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  1. txtita says:

    Eric, I am super impressed with your method for creating a sourdough starter. I live in Costa Rica and prior to moving here I dried my starter into flakes for transporting from Texas to Costa Rica. I was able to revive it successfully and have made some wonderful bread in the past few years.

    I stopped baking my own bread because we found a terrific baker in town making excellent artisan sourdough breads. I actually neglected my starter to the point I could no longer get a decent rise in a loaf of bread. Two months ago the baker retired and we have no longer have a source for sourdough bread. So, it was time for me to get back to baking and I needed to create a new starter from scratch. This it what lead me to your Breadtopia website.

    I am just now on step 3 of your method, and I added the flour and water about 3 hours ago. The volume has already doubled and it's bubbling and brewing just like a healthy starter should. (I should mention here that Costa Rica produces some of the finest pineapples, and we have an abundance of pure fresh pineapple juice.) Just 2 more days and we'll have fresh sourdough bread again.

    Thank you so much for publishing your starter recipe.

  2. Eric says:

    Excellent. Glad to hear it. smile

  3. Eric, I am new to sourdough starts and would like to better understand how and what to store my start in when its in the refrigerator. I have a large plastic bottle that was once used for coconut oil and would like to use it, but I'm afraid of the lid closing in the gasses or the plastic breaking down. Otherwise I have a home made crock bowl with no lid. Could you help me with that basic question?

  4. alanj1 says:


    I haven't made bread with starter for several years. When I did we were living in Florida and the bread was awesome!

    Now we are at 10,000 ft. altitude in Ecuador and I decided to make some starter. I have a flour I purchased from a mill in Penn. that is an ancient wheat and is basically a whole wheat flour. I made the starter at noon yesterday, using the typical 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, and by 10:30 today it had doubled and was very active.

    I stirred it down, removed half, and added flour and water. At this writing it is already increased in volume by half!

    I realize from having baked here for years the difference reduced atmospheric pressure makes on leavened products. So I'm wondering if the same applies in this case to starter? If that is the case, then what adjustments need to be made?

  5. Eric says:

    Hi Sue,

    Being at 5000' shouldn't make a big difference in how you do things. You can thin your starter by adding some water. Once the starter is going, all you need is flour and water to maintain it. When your starter rises well after feeding it and it's bubbly and spongy, you can bake with it.

  6. I'm a rank amateur baker, but I love sourdough bread, especially rye. Thanks to your instructions, I'm just about to transfer my first sourdough starter to a jar - after almost giving up on the process. I got as far as stage 3 on your list, with no signs of life at all. Then I moved the container out of the kitchen and into the den where it's a consistent couple of degrees warmer, and the next day the soupy mixture had tightened up and there were bubbles! I expect to try my first bake in a cast iron container the next few days. My question, though, is this: Do I need to match the starter with the bread I'll be making? It's a whole wheat starter; can this be used to produce a sourdough rye, or do I need to morph a bit of the whole wheat into a rye starter? Thanks so much for your hugely informative and entertaining site.

  7. fishmael says:

    Hi Eric! I had a decent-looking starter going, very elastic with some bubbles, but after the final step of adding more water and flour, the bubbling has ceased. I tried feeding it some more filtered water and flour but it hasn't helped. It's in my kitchen which ranges from temps 60-80 degrees fahrenheit. Any ideas as to what's gone wrong?

  8. Rowdee says:

    OK, please be patient with me here so I can solve this mystery. I have tried many times to make a starter so I can make sourdough bread. Im from San Francisco and living in Rio and I miss the stuff a lot. I cook for a living and host in my home in a group that cooks and chefs here use. Its really fun. I oove to bake and successfully make lots of bread. Heres my problem. I start my starter with "weighed" amounts of flour and water. I use bread flour because I cant get rye here, but theres no reason it shouldnt work. I mix in a glass bowl with a loos cover and always get a huge reaction within a few hours. I wait for 24 hrs and then weigh and add water and flour again. Its alwasy alive and really growing, but.... after that feeding it always fades and wont come back. Ive tried adding only flour and get a lot of bubbles, but never does it come back enough to be usable. I tried Chef Johns method and others many times. Quite often I get a bowl of liquid, thats why I dont add water. What is wrong and what am I looking for after that first or second feeding? Why do I never succeed with this? A mystery...

  9. chosun2hs says:

    Hello Eric,

    I am dying to make sourdough starter & I am on my second attempt. The first was with starter from a friend that never showed any signs of being alive. The second is using the method on your site. I have followed instructions perfectly. It smells nice and sour, yet there are very, very few bubbles. It is not doubling at all. I am on day 5. I decided to proceed into day 5 because of the sour smell alone. It seems slightly puffy & thick like pancake batter. I've kept it in my microwave (not while running) because my house temperature is only 67 and I hope that it is warm enough in my microwave. Could you please help me? I desperately want it to thrive soon so I can bake lots of goodies for my family 😊 ~H

  10. Lisa says:

    I am on my third attempt making my starter, I live in Chicago and my apartment appears to be too cool for the starter to take off at room temperature. The second attempt was in the oven with the light on, no success. Third attempt is in my yogurt maker, perfect environment, the starter is coming along nicely.

Earlier Comments

2,120 thoughts on “How To Make Sourdough Starter

  1. Wil

    Hi Dorothy, your bread looks fantastic, good job! It sounds like your starter is doing ok. Normal for one batch of starter may be different from another. Mine is not like a pancake batter, more like cake icing. My feeding is 1/4 cup of flour to a llittle less than 1/4 cup of water. Anytime you have liquid in your starter just stir it up like you did. A little thicker starter using a little ww or rye flour would probably keep your starter from separating for longer periods of time. I use my starter once every week or two and it never separates or gets hooch on it. I believe the age of your starter will have a lot to do with it too.


  2. Dorothy Chan

    I made a second batch of bread from my starter and one loaf looks like a sourdough loaf, but the other not so much. But they both taste great. I post the image here.
    I have made another discovery. I took out the starter from the fridge and fed it once yesterday with 1/4 cup of flour and water. I stirred it and it looks good. Then today, I fed it again because I plan on making two loaves of bread tomorrow or the day after. After 4-5 hours, the new “feedings” seems to float on top. Looking at it from the side, it looks like the old starter (which is quite white) is on the bottom, then there’s a layer of liquid and on top of that a layer of bubbly greyish looking mess. It doesn’t smell bad. So I decided that I’ll give it a stir and see what happens. It has now been 2 hours since I’ver stirred it. It looks like a pancake batter with lots of small bubbles on top. Does it sound normal to you. Before I did the second feeding, it was looked really thick and gooey. Hmmm!


  3. Wil

    Actually, the “sourdoughs” kept their starter in and on top of their flour sack. It was continuously feeding between use. After using, they would throw in a little water keeping the “ball like” mixture going for ever, in hot and cold weather. I think there has been a misunderstanding about discarding starter. Doubling your starter when feeding, is a long and accepted method of starter maintenance. When you keep a small amount of starter, as the “sourdoughs” did, and many of us here do, you practically use half of your starter anyway and when you replace what you used, well you get the point. If you keep large amounts of starter, say 2-4 cups, it gets harder to maintain the integrity of the starter. If you only keep replacing it with small amounts of flour and water, the starter will actually starve because you have too large a yeast and bacteria population for the amount of food available and it will actually start to die out. Thus, you cull the population, give them lots of food (flour and water) and you keep a healthy thriving sourdough starter. So, you can see starter is easily maintained, just like the pioneers, if you keep a small amount and you really don’t discard anything. Please review Eric’s video’s on making and maintaining starters. There is lots of good stuff in them about “what”, “why” and “how”. BTW, using a small amount of starter, as little as a tablespoon, when mixing your dough and then putting it in your refrigerator for a couple of days, gives you that wonder sourdough taste.


  4. Dorothy Chan

    Hi Wil, April and Andy,
    Thank you all for your comments. BTW Happy Thanksgiving. Like I said the bread taste good, but doesn’t have the “sour” taste. Nevertheless, I fed it again yesterday and sat it on the counter overnight and it was bubbling really well and there was no hooch on top. After I stir down the bubbles a bit, I made two loaves and they have been sitting in the oven for about 12 hours now. It is proofing slowly (a lot slower than with yeast) and I am going to see how it does tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I fed my starter with 1/2 cup flour and almost 1/2 cup water at 10 a.m. and sat it on the counter. By dinner time, it was bubbling really nicely with big bubbles on top and very uniform small bubbles throughout. I put it in the fridge and the last I checked, it was still looking good.

    Thanks for all your help and suggestions.


  5. Andy

    My view on starter agrees with Aprils comment:
    Sourdough was made by most everyone at one time in this country and even the prospectors were given the nickname “Sourdoughs” because thats what they made and carried with them to make their breads. It was not complicated and doesnt need to be. I doubt that they stopped panning for gold several times a day,to run back to camp just to stir the mix, or pour out half of it on the ground and then add more of their precious flour to it. Not likely.
    Its fun to understand the science of it, but not necessary.I won.t argue that adding pineapple juice may add to the success rate, I cant argue with the science, but then again, I have never had a failure either. Go figure?

    My mother showed me how to make a starter 30 years ago, and she learned it from her mother, and it is very simple. No yeast, no milk, no sugar, no mineral or distilled water, no vinegar and no pineapple juice.

    Mix 1 cup white flour and 1 cup warm tap water together in a glass bowl or mason jar, cover with a towel, set over the refer and ignore for 3-4 days. It is working well if it has a froth of small bubbles and a brackish liquid on it. If it starts smelling like bad cheese or baby puke, ( about day 4 )then its just doing its job.Dont throw it out unless it has turned a pink color.The smell is caused by airborn bacteria breaking down the flour so the airborne yeast can eat and grow.This smell will dissipate a day or two later.( just tell your friends its your sneakers)You can stir it if you like, but there is no way that you are adding any oxygen to help it grow unless you really work at it. Depending on the temp it may take 4-7 days to have a starter. It will have a sour smell and that liguid on top, and its not pretty. If you have never been exposed to a starter before this, then most likely, you will be thinking that this needs to be flushed.Dont! Its ready to use if you like.Just be sure to only use a portion of it and replace what you take with equal parts water and flour.
    Sourdough gets a more complex sour taste over time.I leave a new starter out for the first week, feeding a little flour and water to it every few days, pouring some off just to keep it from overflowing the container. I also set it on a large plate in case it gets crazy and bubbles over.After that its into the refer with a piece of plastic loosely held in place. I dont take it out and feed it more than once a month or so. Add a little flour and water and back it goes. It will dry out if ignored for a long time and will eventualy act dead. But it can be easily brought back to life. Just add warm water and flour and set it on the counter with a towel over it.
    I have made a dozen or so starters, not because they go bad but because we have moved often, or I lose interest in it and get tired of seeing this jar of nasty looking glop sitting in the back of the fridge, looking like a kids science project gone bad. Or we decide to get back on some wacko low carb diet 🙂

    So how does it taste in a bread recipe? Well, thats totally subjective isnt it? We eat what I make and it doesnt take long for the bread, rolls, cornbread, or hot cakes to disappear. Is it as good as San Francisco sourdough? I very seriously doubt it. The San Francisco sourdough is known the world over for having its own unigue flavor due to a specific bacteria in the area. But that doesnt mean its the only good flavor or texture out there. Its pointless to compare. Otherwise its the Coke vs Pepsi debate. What matters is that you and your family like it.
    Just keep it simple and you will stick with it longer and enjoy it more.

  6. April


    I don’t think you have to oil the parchment paper. The oil might be helping the dough to spread. Also, set the parchment with the dough into a bowl or basket to give it some structure. I always place my dough into a form for the second rise otherwise my loaves would always be wider than tall.

  7. Wil

    Hi Dorothy,

    I do think your dough may have been a little wet to start with. And, if your proof went a little long, that can make your dough wet as well. Like April said, you should not have had liquid, I don’t think it was “hooch”, on top of your dough. The big hole, or gap you talk about is likely again because of the wet dough, more wet equals bigger holes. The gases caused by fermentation have little resistance trying to escape when in a watery medium. Same with your starter. When it is wetter, you will have lots and lots of bubbles and frothing. When the starter is dryer when you feed it, it will expand,but the top will mostly be smooth, maybe a few big bubbles. I find that 15 mins w/cover off is just too long for my oven. The LeCrouset duch oven will tend to give you a darker crust. I use the clay bakers from Eric, pre heated to 500. I do use a thermometer. At 450 for 30 mins w/cover and about 5-7mins w/cover off, my bread has a temp of 202-205.

    Happy Thanksgiving, I will be baking 2 large loafs early in the morning. One will be a round Cranberry Pecan and one long plain white w/some rye. The dough has been in the refrigerator since last Saturday evening and fermented with 1/4 cup of www/rye starter. I will take it out of the fridge, shape, let it set for about 40 mins and bake. Ummmmm, I can smell it now! What a way to start off a Thanksgiving day.


  8. Dorothy Chan

    At noon I decided to turn on the oven light to give my dough a little warmth. At 5 p.m. yesterday I finally got to my dough and there were big bubbles in it. I turned it onto a floured surface and fold it a few times and put it on oiled parchment paper for the 2nd rise. It was pretty flat and globby looking. After 2 hours (it still looked flat) I bake mine in a Le Crouset dutch oven at 450 degrees for 30 min. covered and 15 min. with lid off. It was very brown. I cut it open this morning, the texture was great, there is a big gap between the crust and the bread, the texture is chewy and tastes great, but I think I overcooked it a little and the outside is very brown. I just fed my starter and am hoping to make another loaf tomorrow and see how it goes.


  9. April

    About starter:

    I don’t know if I am extraordinarily stupid or lucky but I do NOTHING to my starter and it works great all the time.

    I don’t feed it on a schedule or warm it up. I have never thrown any away.

    It lives in the back of my fridge and I drag it out however often I need it – three times a week or once in two weeks or whenever.

    After using what I need I just toss in a little flour and water, sometimes I don’t even double it, then I stir it up and put it away. If I have a lot of starter sometimes I don’t even feed it, I just put it back til next time.

    I am not sure why some people make their starter so high maintenance.

    I will remark that I recently made a new starter with fresh pineapple and am getting some strange results but the jury is still out on that one. I have decided to let it ‘mature’ (be neglected) in the back of the fridge before using it again.

  10. April


    There should not be standing water on top of your bread dough in any case. I wonder if your starter is up to the task. The dough should look exactly the same as if you made it with commercial yeast.

  11. Wil

    Dorothy, it sounds like your dough is very wet. I still think that people tend to over proof their dough and that could be what you are seeing. Slightly underproofed dough, even if it looks like it hasn’t risen at all, will most of the time, give you a nice oven rise and a very nice loaf of bread. Let us know how it turns out. BTW, I have been leaving my dough ferment in the fridge up to 3 days before baking. I take it out, form it, let it set for 40 – 60 mins and bake. After 40 mins the formed loaf has not risen at all. In fact it goes a little flat, depending on how wet it was. Yet, they come out of the oven perfect every time.


  12. Dorothy Chan

    Thanks for your reply.
    Yesterday afternoon I started a sourdough bread following Eric’s recipe. It has now been sitting inside my cold oven overnight. I just looked at it, it is not as bubbly as a yeast bread dough looks. And, there is “hooch” on top. Since I am a bit off with my timing, I won’t be able to shape it for another few hours. I’m curious how it will turn out in the end. Will keep you posted of the results.

  13. Ed

    Made your sour dough starter with pineapple and just letting you know that it is bubbling well. I started the culture with organic whole meal flour and natural pineapple juice as discribed. I am looking forward to baking with it once it is ready.

    Thanks for the recipe.


  14. Wil


    Yes, discarding half of your starter every once in awhile is kind of a washing and it will allow your starter to stay close to the original strain, which will be the stronger, desirable bacteria and yeast in your starter and keep their numbers more in balance.

  15. Wil

    More on starters; As you can see, managing too much starter can be costly and time consuming. You have to keep discarding, as much as half your starter and adding more flour and water. If you have a lot, you have to do this a lot. Since we mostly use 1/4 cup or less at a time, it is practical to keep probably no more than a half cup or less of starter. I have a feeling that some of the failures, making sourdoug bread comes from overproofing because of using starter that has “peaked” at it’s feeding cycle. When I take my starter out of the fridge, it is hungry and ready to go, NOT frothing over with bubbles. It is a balancing act but you get to know your starter’s life, just like a pet or a child. I would also like to get a pitch in for NOT using comm. yeast along with your starter. You defeat the purpose of your time and effort growing a fine sourdough starter, not to mention the final results in the taste and texture of your bread, when you add store bought yeast to your bread . It will become the dominating yeast, making it unlikely to give you the true sourdough bread and characteristics you’re trying to achieve in the first place.


  16. Dorothy Chan

    When you say “If you go a week or so without baking, take out, discard and replace half of your starter”, do you actually mean discard half the starter then add back similar amount of flour and water then let it sit to rise again?

    Thanks for your comment on the “hooch” issue.

  17. Wil

    Dorothy and Gord,

    Use less liquid until your starter is a little thicker, something like icing for a cake. Also, if you’re getting “hooch”, your starter has finished feeding and it needs to be fed more often, before it has finished feeding. Or, slow the fermentation process down by putting the starter in the refrigerator. I found that using a little whole wheat or rye in your starter helps to keep a nice starter, slightly thick, not watery and without hooch. I can’t remember when I have had hooch in my starter.

    Dorothy, see my answer above to Gord about starter management.

    Hope this helps,

  18. Gord

    Dorothy – I am making the sourdough recipe too and also using all purpose white flour and after the first two days despite many stirrings, my sourdough is exactly the same as you describe. The pineapple juice and flour appear always to have seaparted.

    I’ll keep at it for several more feedings though and hopefully I’ll get the same results as you!



  19. Dorothy Chan

    Hi Eric,
    I made the sourdough starter using Peter Reinhardt’s recipe but use all purpose white flour instead. I followed the recipe exactly. After the first 48 hours it looked like a rather thin liquidy mess and the juice and flour seemed to have separated. I stirred it and gave it the next feed. After the second 48 hours, it still looked pretty much the same, liquid on top and flour on bottom, but there were a few bubbles. I did the third feed and the “batter” seemed a little thicker, and after the 24 hours, it still has the liquid and flour separation. I did the last feed yesterday afternoon and today (it’s now 9:57 a.m.) and there is still a little liquid separation, but there are lots of bubbles and is smelling like sourdough. So, I guess I can use it now.

    After I take out 1/4 cup, do I add back a 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 cup purified water then store it in the fridge until next time? And when I need to use it again, do I just leave it on the counter to warm up before I use it?

    Thanks for your video and advice on your website, it has been most helpful.


  20. Gord

    Thanks Wil!

  21. Wil

    Gord, yes you can just keep it in the refrigerator. Baking as much as you do, just add back what you take out. If you go a week or so without baking, take out, discard and replace half of your starter. Let it sit on the counter a couple of hours or until it looks like it is starting to bubble, put it back in the refrigerator and start over again —-replace what you use. Hope this helps


  22. Gord

    I am in the process of making some sourdough starter as per Eric’s video.

    I’ve made several loaves of the no-knead bread and they’ve turned out fantastic. But I’ve been using instant yeast vs sourdought starter.\

    I make maybe 2 (maybe 3) loaves of NK bread a week.

    Should I simply keep my sourdough starter in the refridgerator? Will using it this “frequently” keep it fresh? Anything I need to do to it once it is “starting”?


  23. Connie Dove

    Has it really been a year since I’ve been here? Your site, Eric – has really taken a life of it’s own and man, I had a blast reading these posts – esp. by that “rookie” dude – I had tears rolling down my face, I laughed so hard!

    I relate to those comments about “your” sourdough starter becoming “your own”. The starter I got from you – perhaps 2 years ago – comes out to my counter much more regularly in the cold months, and I cannot believe, with your tips (esp. keeping spring water on hand!) that my ‘baby’ keeps coming to life and performing so magnificently. Unlike any other bread I make, my starter never ceases to amaze-or last very long. I have even surfaced some recipes for (the frugal Polack in me) the starter that I can’t find it in my heart to toss – for things like sourdough cookies, etc.

    Just for the fun of it, I’m going to start a new starter with some week-old Concord grapes today…see how it compares to my old stand by. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  24. Thank you for your kind words Aubrey. Come join us on our blog anytime!

    Eric, Thanks for giving us space here to share all this information.

  25. George

    I am amazed at how many times I’ve seen this approach to building a starter on various forums where the contributor fails to give credit to the source. When I see these posts I do my best to lead the other readers back to this site.
    This pineapple starter formula works exceptionally well (my own batch of it remains healthy and it’s nearly a year old) and I am pleased to refer my friends and acquaintances to this source for instructions on how to make it happen.

  26. Aubrey

    I totally agree about most of the gluten free breadlike objects….texture’s wrong, taste is horrific….I wasn’t really brave… more desperate.

    it’ll need some fiddling about to get it working to a way she likes, but it’s a lot cheaper to experiment with than the 8$ a pound (plus shipping) specialty flours that do nothing for taste, texture or anything else, and winds up with an ingredient list reading more like a science project than something you’d want to eat.

    With the right ‘other’ flours (I highly recommend buckwheat, not just because of the flavor, but because it’s relatively inexpensive as well) you can use a sponge as the basis for such delights as cinnamon rolls, almost any dessert bread, pancakes, etc etc.

    btw, my regrets and condolences on your losses, recent and otherwise.

    Mr Breadtopia, I apologize for the topical drift, and I appreciate your patience and forbearance in letting this sidetracking continue as long as it has.

  27. Thanks so much Aubrey! You were brave to try it out on yourself as the guinea pig. I do understand that you don’t recommend it and it might be risky for someone with the gluten problem. She said most gluten free breads she’s tried aren’t even worth eating. She does occasionally eat a bit of wheat bread but then has to pay for it. I hope that the long fermented sourdough method will make a difference and that she can enjoy it without any problems.
    Thanks for taking the time to share all your information.

  28. Aubrey

    just add the www before it. 🙂

    as for the starter, I started with unbleached, unbromated wheat flour, and instead of pineapple juice, I just add a tsp of white vinegar.

    I use ap flour and water for the loaves.

    I use the nyt no knead bread recipe, replacing an equal amount of flour and water with the starter. I add a sprinkle of sugar to the dough as I’m mixing, and then I put it into a lubricated crock, and ignore it for 24 hours minimum. longer tends to be better.

    pour the dough out into a greased loaf pan, and be warned, this is going to be the most relaxed, slack dough you’ll see in your life. you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to. bake in a hot oven (450) for about an hour. If you temperature test, your dough’s center should be about 205. the loaf itself should have a crackly crust and sound hollow when rapped.

    I’m by no means an expert here, so I’m having to do a lot of this by ‘feel’.

    for the sponge, I just mix the entire dough batch at once, and let it all ferment. If I add flour after that, I have to leave it for another 24 hours minimum, or it bothers me.

    if your friend wants to do a more traditional method, then simply use 30% of the total flour as the wheat for a sponge, then later add the non-toxic flours (buckwheat, etc) at the same time you’d work in the rest of the flour.

    I’m sorry I’m not more help, but I’ve cooked for so long that it’s one of those ‘measure by touch and texture’

    I’ll give you the nyt bread recipe I work with, and your friend, I’m afraid, will have to experiment, but even the absolutely worst loaves were better than a lot of commercial loaves.

    this is the core recipe.

    this is an article afterwards that covers more about it.

    your mileage may vary, and like I said, I do NOT recommend this, so while I’ll answer whatever questions I can, I’d say that anyone who follows in my footsteps might be a bit crazed. 🙂

  29. Hi Eric, Sorry I’ve taken this quite a bit off topic. Thanks for hosting this great site.

    Thanks for the articles, Aubrey. They are interesting. Unfortunately, the middle link wouldn’t work for me. Sometimes web addresses on forums are automatically shortened which leaves dots in the middle and then the link won’t work. Could you just post the words between Science…and…en-tolerance for me and I’ll paste it in? I found lots of celiac articles there, but I don’t think I found the one you meant to link to.

    I have some questions for you, if you don’t mind. What kind of grain flour do you use for your starter and for your bread? Could you give your recipe and the time table you use for the sponge and loaves? I hope that isn’t too many questions and too much trouble but I know my friend would appreciate any such details. Thanks.

  30. Gary

    “You Mileage May Vary”…

    When in doubt…. check the “Urban Dictionary”….!

    Very “educatiional”…. lol

  31. Aubrey,
    BTW what’s YMMV?

  32. Aubrey,
    That’s very interesting that you can tolerate sourdough bread with celiac. I’ll pass this on to a friend of mine who also has that problem. Thanks!

  33. Aubrey

    been away for a while..

    I’m having to work around a long ferment, because I’ve found that the longer the ferment, the less digestive trouble this bread gives me.

    I just used the bit of vinegar to get the starter going initially, and post that have only been feeding flour and water, (with a pinch of sugar once a week or so)

    I started doing some experimentation, and found the issue wasn’t the bread, but the oven.

    after getting the oven situated, I’ve a much better loaf, and I’ve found that the older my starter gets, the finer the texture and the more rise it has.

    a very hot oven helps (mine wasn’t getting hot enough for the kind of rapid steam production I needed to lift the loaf)

    the reason for the long ferment (I’m up to 3 days currently, with good effect) is that I have celiac, and doing a bit of self-experimentation with long fermented dough, after a study in italy looked very promising for the prospect of lactobacilli altering gluten to make it ‘less toxic’ to the guts.

    so far, the only issue I have with eating this bread is if I let it ferment less than 24 hours, so a 12 hour ferment just isn’t an option for me, unless I want to spend my time in a fairly unpleasant manner.

    I will say this. if you have celiac and you’re reading this… yes, I AM insane, and I by NO means endorse this. However, I’ve found that I can have this bread without issue, but YMMV.

    so looks like all my trouble was a bum oven, and the age of the starter.

  34. April

    Thanks for the info Wil, I had no idea!

  35. Wil


    The lactic acid in sourdough starter/bread along with lower carbohydrate availability gives the bread a lower glycemic value than regular yeasted bread.


  36. Hi Gilda,

    Chlorine, which is present in municipal tap water to some degree or another, isn’t the best thing in the world for the yeast in starter. It’s also super easy to filter out with a simple charcoal water filter or you can let a pitcher of water sit overnight and the chlorine will evaporate out.

    But like April said, there may not be enough chlorine in your water to make any difference.

  37. Ron Wieselman

    I wanted to tell you that your videos are terrific!! I have been making no-knead bread for a few weeks and have just completed my 18th loaf. I am introducing many of my friends and relatives to your wonderful site. I agree bread is a most wonderful food. I could make it everyday but of course we can’t consume it all. Thanks so much for you help

  38. April

    I am curious as to why or how “sourdough” starter leavened bread is considered lower glycemic than bread leavened with commercial yeast?

    I imagine if you added whole chopped grains to your bread it would lower the GI.

    Tap is all I use in my starter and have had no problems but maybe I am just lucky.

  39. Gilda

    Hi Eric, I just got interested in making sourdough bread due to also being diabetic and just happened on your website from another source and I am so glad I did but I do have some questions about sourdough starter and breads.
    Does it matter if I use tap water in my starter?
    Are all sourdough recipes on the low glycemic index and if not can I make them low glycemic breads?
    Thanks for the videos, they are so very helpfu to a novice like me.

  40. Hi Sam,

    You got it. 100% hydration means the amount of water called for in a bread recipe is the same as the amount of flour called for, by weight. It means the same thing when referring to starter hydration.

  41. Hi Aubrey,

    The pineapple juice is helpful sometimes for getting a starter established. Once you have a lively starter, there’s no need for pineapple juice or vinegar.

    I suggest going with a long fermentation of around 12 hours. By the time 24 hours rolls around, your starter has run its course (“petered out” as they say), so it’s not surprising you’re getting no oven spring after that long. Try 12 and let us know how it goes.

  42. Aubrey

    my question is this…

    I’ve got a good, active starter (couldn’t get my hands on pineapple juice, so I used a tsp of white vinegar to one cup water and a cup and a half of flour) sitting at about two weeks old. I’ve got a lot of rise, a lot of activity….but no oven spring. none. zip. zilch. nada.

    I’m doing a very long ferment (longer than 24 hours), otherwise following the no knead recipe.


    I have my reasons for doing the long ferment, and just wondering if there was anything I could do to get more lift out of the baked loaf. The flavor’s good, the crumb’s nice, but I’d like something besides 3″ wide sandwiches.

    replies appreciated.

  43. Sam

    Hi Eric
    Thanks for the starter recipe and the video. I have made some wonderful starter, now I need to start baking some bread. I just came across a recipe for sourdough baguettes that calls for 140g of Starter at 100% hydration. Could you please explain to me what this means? I’m guessing it means 70g of starter, mixed with 70g of water. Am I correct? Your help will be appreciated.


  44. VASusan

    I received an Amish Friendship sourdough starter a couple of days ago, and the directions say not to refrigerate. Since I am totally new to this, does that mean I should never refrigerate it? How would I store it?

    I know this is an old thread but wanted to say that Evelyn was right about the directions saying not to refrigerate the Amish starter. It’s surprising that it can keep so well at room temperature with such infrequent feedings and with milk in the recipe, but it kept well when I had some. The Amish starter is made with 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar added to 1 cup of starter.The directions for the Friendship starter say not to refrigerate and to keep it at room temperature. Use or discard all but one cup and feed every 5 days. A friend of mine kept hers in a zip loc bag on her counter for months.

    I adapted the Amish recipe a couple weeks after I got it to the one given in Joy of Cooking for sourdough starter with less sugar, 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup so I could use it for making regular sourdough bread. Joy of Cooking says you can refrigerate it or freeze it. I kept mine at room temperature for the first couple weeks, then refrigerated it. I used it for many months for making regular bread and fed it more frequently. It made delicious bread and I was very happy with it, but it finally developed an off odor and would no longer rise the bread well, so I had to throw it out. I’m going to bake some Amish Friendship bread tomorrow (more like a coffee cake than bread) which needs the sweet Amish starter so I used a couple of TBSPs of Carl’s 1847 Oregon Trail starterand and added 1/2 cup of flour, milk and sugar to make enough starter for the Friendship bread. I think it’s going to work fine. It smells good and looks healthy and is full of bubbles all the way through.

  45. Hi Aaron,

    I know this isn’t a very precise answer, but you just need to feed it enough to keep it healthy. There are a zillion scenarios for feeding and storing that will work. When you’re only using 1/4 cup of starter at a time, sometimes you might have to (or want to) dispose of some so that you can double or triple the volume when feeding just to give it a robust meal and really refresh it well without ending up with a ton of starter.
    You’ll likely want to keep in the fridge between feedings. Except for taking it out to feed before baking. Was that sufficiently vague and confusing?

  46. Hi Eric,
    I have just finished my first batch of sourdough starter and am about to bake my first loaf with it (which I have to admit I am very excited about!) I do have a few questions though:
    1. My original starter measures to about 2 cups. So after using 1/4 cup of the starter for the recipe, should I feed the original starter with 1/4 cup more mix of flour and water?
    2. I plan to use the starter a couple times a week. Should I still plan to store the starter in the refrigerator?
    3. Since I plan to use the starter a couple times a week should I feed the starter with a little bit of flour and water every day or just a day or two before I use the starter?
    Thank you so much for the website, I have really loved celebrating my inner baker!

  47. Mrs. phillips

    I used the pineapple recipe first and could not get any fermentation. So I substituted bottled water instead and it worked great. Maybe the juice was the wrong kind? Thanks for helping with my own starter, I cannot wait to get baking!

  48. Wil

    Carl, in the end, I believe your starter in most part is going to be what it is going to be, from your environment, your home. I would not use an air tight container. Since I converted to the pineapple starter last year, I have been using one of those little plastic containers you get chicken salad or something in from the supermarket. The lid snaps on, keeps unwanted critters out and it pops off easily if the starter should get out of hand. I keep my starter in the frige and the plastic container works for me.

  49. Hi Carl,

    Using whole flour is fine, of course, but just know (if you don’t already) that whole wheat starter requires more frequent feeding than white flour starter. The germ oil, absent in white flour, is prone to spoiling at some point.

    You should always allow for air access to your starter to release the CO2. I don’t think you can, or necessary want to, keep whatever yeast is floating around your kitchen from getting in your starter. Sooner or later, your starter is most likely going to take on whatever indigenous yeast is dominant in your house or locale and it with become authentic Carl starter or something along those lines.

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