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. marty

    well that picture didn’t post. trying again.

  2. marty

    i mixed my first batch of sourdough from the starter yesterday around 3. it has turned WARM and humid here on the gulf coast of mississippi, and i hadn’t turned the air conditioning on yet. by bedtime, it was clear that the bread couldn’t be left out all night, as it had already nearly doubled, so i put it in the fridge and got it out again at about 8 this morning. i just turned the sloppy wet but very live dough out on a floured board, turned in enough flour to make it into a handle-able dough, and put the doughball into a bowl coated with some tasty olive oil, seamy side up. oh, i hope to be eating some good bread this afternoon! i pinched off a bit to try and it seemed decently sour. here’s pix.

  3. Peggy

    I am at the last stage of sour dough starter,how do I maintain the starter, how often and how much of water and wheat flour do I use. Please help your instruction end at stage 4. or am I misssing the maintaining part.

    • Bill

      See the link titled ‘Managing Your Sourdough Starter’ in the list to the left under Sourdough Starter Videos.

  4. marty

    well, it’s four hours after i added the flour and water of step 3, at which time i thought this starter experiment might have died; the earlier bubbles had largely died away and the starter had become extremely thin and soupy. to my surprise, when i checked it just now, it looks extremely active and bubbly (picture included). it does not have a sourdough nose to it yet, though is does smell more like a viable starter than it did earlier. maybe tomorrow?

    • You’ve definitely got a lively starter there. You might want to just stiffen it up with some more flour, then it will really take off.

      • marty

        yeah, i decided this one couldn’t go 24 hours without more food, so i gave it another feeding last night before bed. now (as you can see) it is even more active, a sourdough volcano of yeasty energy! should i divide and feed now, or just feed again?

        • marty

          another view

          • marty

            woops, that was the same view. let’s try again, and see if i can get it right. no guarantees, not today . . . .

            • At this point it’s ready to use, divide, store, whatever you want to do. When do you plan on baking with it?

  5. Mandy

    I HAVE BREAD!!! Thank you SO much for your easy steps to making a sourdough starter. I unsuccessfully tried to make starter twice before finding your site. I used it to make my first loaf tonight and its pretty darn good!!! I used locally grown and milled flour, Arizona Sonora White wheat and Hard Red Winter wheat. I’m going to keep experimenting with the mix to make it more sour, less wheat. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!! Thank again!!

  6. marty

    i am 26 hours into the starter experiment, and i’m encouraged to say that it is showing some bubbles (actually had some bubbles even 8 hours ago). so, we’ll see! btw, i do bake several times a week, and live on the gulf coast, where i often have all my doors and windows open; there could be any number of wild things in my air. i’ll update if successful at final stage.

  7. John

    When you say “cover” the starter, should the seal be airtight? Or does it matter?

    • The lid should not be air tight.

  8. Carol

    Yeah, it worked the first time. I was worried it wasn’t working because I didn’t see it fermenting. And on the last day, I saw the nice little bubbles. Thank you so much for the recipe… Now onto making the bread

  9. Anna


    Just wondering if you dont have pineapple juice, or easy access to pineapple juice what can you use instead? Water mixed with honey or sugar? if so what ratio?
    Many thanks

    Look forward to attempting a starter and many of these amazing breads


    • Tom

      Hi Anna,
      You can use apple juice instead. The juice is used to raise the level of acid in the beginning starter to deter the growth of bad bacteria. Once you have your culture going for a few days, the good bacteria are strong enough to overpower the bad bacteria.

      If you do not have access to either of the juices, you may want to either find someone that will share their starter or purchase one (either dried or live culture).

  10. Vivian

    I was given an opportunity to adopt part of a sour dough starter fed with organic spelt flour. I took it home, put it in a nice Mexican ceramic jar with a lid and put it in the fridge with the lid cocked. I believe someone came over and placed the lid back on the jar. I don’t THINK it was air tight, but now I have taken out the starter, stirred it, gave it about 1/2 cup of flour and a bit more warm water and am watching it and keep thinking it suffocated. It’s been eight hours since I took it out of the fridge and I just marked the jar with a black marker with the time….and put it on top of a covered radiator. As I keep coming back to look for bubbles I just see a couple….not much “froth”. Meanwhile it smells like my friend’s bread. Should I just leave it out overnight?
    Also meanwhile I am wondering has anyone used apple cider that has been in the fridge for a loooonnnnngggg while to make a starter? Would that work…. (Plan B?)

    • Bill

      I have had my starter for two months now. It is sealed, but in a jar large enough that it won’t try to break the lid when it grows. I usually keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week. I’m always checking on it though, and sometimes put it in a warm place and feed it once a day if I think it needs perking up. I also do this the day before I use it to make bread.

      If you have any bubbles at all then your starter is probably okay. If my starter is too wet then it only makes bubbles on the top.

    • Dee

      I’d just like to point out that fermentation is what’s called an ‘anaerobic’ process, which means that it doesn’t need oxygen, so you’d be hard press to suffocate your starter. 😉

  11. Robert

    Dont know if this helps bit it worked for me.
    At the start and during each feeding i microwave the starter material for 10 seconds. Seems to like the heat. I used king arthur white bread flour .

    • Paul Bauman

      I’ve been feeding my starter right out of the fridge for some years now. I warm the water not the starter. It’s going to sit on the sink til it doubles anyway. Microwaving the starter seems like extra steps not needed. And a good way to lose your starter…

  12. Rho



    I love your website; I have decided to return to sourdough rye bread baking as my usual supplier has been letting me down.

    I used to make my own bread very regularly in the past; however, once organic ready made became available I rather took the quicker option (and I am also a very busy person).

    My starter had been limping along for days. It smells ok and is reasonably active but it hadn’t achieved that lovely frothy / lively stage.

    Until this morning!

    Last night I fed the starter, as usual I thought. This morning a lovely bubbly dynamic starter greeted me. The difference? Could it be that I had inadvertently used rice flour instead of wholegrain rye last night? I took the wrong packet out of the cupboard and only noticed my mistake this morning – after whooping with joy at the sight of my very energetic starter.
    It has been pretty cold here in the UK recently and keeping the starter warm has been something of a challenge. For the past week I have been tending my log burning stove even more regularly than the starter!
    I share my rice flour experience, in case it may help other would-be bread makers to get their starter, well, started… I do hope I have not compromised the integrity of my whole grain starter, and it is lovely to have finally been able to get on with making a loaf of bread. I await the result this evening…

  13. David

    The mixture never did get going. No bubbles.

  14. Justin

    I watched the video, thought it looked easy, bought the ingredients then used this web page for the measurements. I took ‘tbs’ to mean teaspoon as it is written in lower case. I’ve always been taught that;
    I’m starting again, this time will real pineapple juice too. Wow, did the pulp in the tea strainer taste amazing! 🙂

    • Justin

      Heh, as a friend who has far greater cooking skills than I have has pointed out, teaspoon doesn’t have a ‘b’ in it! I must of just seen the lower case as thought teaspoon. You live and you learn 🙂

      • Justin

        Hmmm, it worked though it seems to have died off? I got through all of the steps with it behaving like it worked then about 2 days later it seems to have fizzled. I transferred it to a jar like you keep yours in but smaller. I’ve fed it around 2-3 table spoons a day, adding water a little at a time to keep it at a pancake batter type consistency. I’ve just been leaving it at room temp out of direct sun light on the kitchen bench. Daily temps throughout the growing stage have been in the high 20’s and into the 30’s (deg C).

        • Justin

          Just had a bit of a read of the managing your starter page. I’ll dump some and feed it half of it’s new size and see what happens over night…

          • Justin

            Now we are cooking with gas! This is around 24hrs later. Wish I’d marked the glass or taken a photo prior to adding the flour & water after the dump to measure the rise.

            • Justin

              And finally some bread!

      • Phil C.

        As Americans, we should just get accustomed to using unambiguous metric units, even in cooking — grams and kilograms for weights; milliliters and liters for volume. Congress authorized the use of the metric system in 1866, and here we are, a century-and-half later, largely left behind by the rest of the world. NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter in 1999 because a Lockheed Martin engineering team used English units of measurement, while the agency’s team used the more conventional metric system for a key spacecraft operation. At least we’re only dealing with sourdough starter here.

  15. Christina

    Good ole fashioned sourdough in a Dutch over from my wild sourdough starter aged about 6 weeks. Nice and crunchy crust, tender inside, great crumb and excellent sourness. No kneading required!

    • Mark H.

      Looks great. Did you feed the starter just before using it in the dough or did you use starter which sat for 6 weeks?

    • Phil C.

      Very light bread. Looks like it stuck to the ceiling!!

  16. Mark H.

    Is it true that the wild yeast found in San Francisco produces that characteristic sour “tang” or is this just an old wives tale?

    • teresa

      Also important to the process is lactic acid bacteria. This works with the yeast to create an environment that allows the yeast to grow and develop without being invaded by things like mold. It’s the wild lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, floating around San Francisco that is what makes San Francisco sourdough so special. The slightly different strains of yeast and bacterias are why sourdough bread tastes a bit differently from area to area. Also, please note that bakers name any bread that is made with a fermented starter a sourdough–even though many of them are really not that sou

  17. Norma

    congratulations silvia ! I wish mine had worked I also used rye flour and unsweetened pineapple juice I used bob mills rye and drained juice off canned pineapple maybe that was the problem going shopping to try again.

    • Phil C.

      Don’t you mean “Bob’s Red Mill” rye flour?

  18. Silvia

    The starter worked great. I used only organic rye flour and organic pineapple juice. It made a fantastic bread! Thank you!

  19. Debbie

    Once the starter is done does it need to be kept in the fridge?

    • teresa

      it will need to be fed every 12 hours if left out of the fridge….
      if u put it in the fridge….u only need to feed it every 3 days or so….i recently learned that giving it a stir will help it along for a while even without a feeding…..

      • Brian

        After feeding it a few times with it responding well, I have kept it in the fridge over 6 months without a feeding. While this may not be recommended, it proves that starter is resilliant. I usually feed it with a scoop of flour and water to texture over night under an oven light, then I feed it again the next day, and its usually its old peppy self. I have even revived a starter that had no water in it…all the moisture evaporated and I was still able to take a hunk of dough from the jar and revive it…long live sour dough starter!

        • teresa

          Good News! The More i dont need to feed my starter the Happier I am 🙂 thanks!!!!! yeee hooo!

  20. teresa

    i learned yesterday that the white film on organic red cabbage ….blueberries…plums…grapes….is what many people use to get a starter going….by simply placing these items in with the flour and water

    I also learned that u can use gluten free flour to make sourdough

    • Paul Bauman

      Because that whitish film IS yeast.

      • Brian

        Please correct me if I’m wrong, but there are many many kinds of yeast. I read it is best to encourage the natural yeast that lives in the flour to multiply and that yeast from fruit isn’t going to be as good since its food is not grain. I’m not sure about this though.

        Also, I think people over think making starter. The pineapple juice discourages growth of unwanted organisms. It doesn’t really matter what you are using…after a few steps the pineapple juice becomes exponentially insignificant.

  21. Norma

    I have tried twice to start your pineapple juice starter with no luck getting it to do any thing other than just sit there. can you not use anything but white flour? I only have rye flour. , Is that the reason it isent working . I’ve baked rye sourdough and other yeast breads all my life with no problem. until now .would really like to try your pineapple juice starter.If only I could get it started.
    I very much enjoy your web pages and all the videos, thank so much for putting them on line!!

    • Erin

      Mine did not work with king Arthur while wheat flour, when I switched to white it worked fine.

      I wonder if a different type of whole wheat or rye would work. I am going to try other brands of ww in the future.

    • Paul Bauman

      I made mine with rye flour- initially (Reinharts formula) but then used white bread flour for subsequent replenishments.
      Are you giving it a stir a couple of times a day? That helps.

  22. Norma

    I’m not having any luck getting your pineapple sour dough starter. Have tried twice with no luck

    • Hi Norma,

      It mostly comes down to just that… luck. You can do everything right and still not have success if no naturally occurring yeast happens to take. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts.

  23. Jacob Bakowski


    I followed you instructions to the T and after the first 48 hour period found a lot of activity. I then proceeded to continue the rest of the steps and it looks like starter has reduced in activity significantly. I waited a bit figuring it would re-coop, however there still is little activity and im on the sixth day. Any suggestions?


    • Tom

      Feed it?

      • Mark H.

        Make sure flour is unbleached and water is purified (no chlorine).

  24. Mark H.

    Question: My starter is a few weeks old and I am baking no knead bread twice per week for my family. The bread is delicious but does not have that characteristic “tang” I have tasted in other sourdough breads. Does this develop over time or is there a special technique for attaining this?

    • Paul Bauman

      As I’ve put on this forum before, I have been using Erics starter, also Reinhart’s starter for a couple of years now. They are pretty much the same. I’ve had the same issue with not getting that “sour tang”. Peter recommends a dryer/firmer starter if you want it extra sour. Almost the consistency of bagel dough. It WILL double and produce the lovely bubbles, believe me. I have just adjusted the ferment time. I’ll let the dough ferment for as many hours as it takes to almost double in size, and then into the fridge it goes. It’s just lightly sprayed with oil and covered with Saran. Depending on demand for the bread, I’ve found that two days is quite tangy. Three days is very tangy and well worth the wait.
      Everyone’s home temperatures are different, and I think a lot of it has to do with proofing and fermenting. Hope this helps.

      • Tom

        Look up making a Mother Dough starter. You ferment it for at least 3 days. It is a starter that is 80% hydration and is the consistency of dough.

      • Kathy

        So you leave the dough out to double in size, then refrigerate? Wow, I’ve made my dough, refrigerated up to 4 days, then left out to double in size. That works too. My starter is a little wet, and I’m not getting the rise I want either. Next feeding I may need to add a little more flour,

        • Kimberly

          Kathy, I do the same as you. I make the dough and put it in the refrigerator. I find that 3-4 days gives me the amount of sourdough tang I like, having been brought up in the SF Bay Area that type of super sour is what my taste buds like. I remove the dough/bowl from the fridge about 12 hours before I want to bake it and find that the dough then more than doubles in size. I have found that I get good rise by making sure I knead the bread for 10 minutes before shaping it and putting it in my cast iron covered dutch oven pot. I let the dough rest for about 45 minutes in that pot and then preheat the oven. I then bake. Before I started using a timer to make sure I was kneading the bread for 10 min, I wouldn’t get the rise I was looking for. Once I did start setting that timer for kneading, I’ve had loaves of bread rise right up to the lid on a 5 qt covered cast iron dutch oven pot. I was so proud of it I had to take a picture ;o)

          • Kathy

            Wow! Talk about rise! I haven’t been kneading much since this is a no-knead recipe. I may have to try that. Also, you put your dough into a cold cast iron Dutch oven? Do you oil it first?

    • Christine

      I have been reading that a 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid will help with tang you are looking for. I tried it and it did add more sour flavor but not as much as I was looking for.
      Personally, I agree with Paul. Make up the dough and proof it in the frig. It takes a little longer but “good things come to those who wait”.

    • Christine

      It also helps if you leave your starter in the frig between bakings. Keep in mind the more you bake the more “diluted” your starter will get. In other words the starter needs time in between bakings to really ferment. I bake once or twice a week but always wait and refrigerate a few days between my baking days. I also split my starter at one point and alternate so I can leave one in the frig for a week to get good and sour. I bake with one starter one week, feed it and put it back in the frig. The next time I bake I use the other starter, feed it and put it back in the frig.
      I’ve got good flavor in my bread and it’s no more work than one starter would be.

      • Bill

        As I read, “the starter needs time…” I was thinking, twins. Great idea!

      • Bill

        As I was waking up my starter last night I realized it was the perfect time to split it and start using your two starter method. Thanks again for a great idea!

  25. Jordan

    Never Made sour dough before and it worked great in my apartment. Thanks for the tutorial

    • Cool.

  26. kristina

    Hi, I am very new to this, and would love to do it, but my family is on a gluten free diet. So that’s where my question comes in, can you make a starter with gluten free flour and pineapple juice? I did the mixing tonight, so I guess we will see, but would still appreciate any input from you. thanks so much


      • teresa

        this one is the Art of Gluten free Baking 🙂
        which im sure it is an Art…assuming its more complicated that one with gluten….if u find it possible please let me know…i will read this site now and hope to give it a try someday

  27. Esther

    I have made a starter in the past and froze it like you said and I also stored one in the fridge. I want to know if the one in the fridge is still any good? It had liquid on top which I poured off and it didn’t smell bad. CanI use it and if so how do I feed it?

    • Paul Bauman

      Eric has a video of having a starter in his fridge for quite awhile. I’ve also had a starter at times that hasn’t been fed for a long time. It’s just a matter of feeding it. If it’s a bit sluggish, feed it again. That “liquid” you’re talking about is called “hooch”. Basically, alchohol.
      Some people stir it back in to their starter. I don’t. I pour it off. I don’t want that flavor in my bread.

  28. Mark H.

    I think I am going to stop slashing the loaf with the SD Starter. The oven spring is tremendous and with my square slash, the loaves end up looking like they are wearing graduation hats as you can see from my last pic! I just made a loaf with 1 cup of whole wheat flour. the oven spring is great which is a good thing. next time, I am going to try no slash. The bread tastes amazing though!

    • Kathy

      My bread tastes amazing, has great holes, but doesn;t have the oven spring yours does. As far as storing, plastic, ugh. Plastic is fine if you plan on toasting or oven re-heating your bread. I’ve tried wrapping in cloth, good for only a couple of days. I moved from California to New Hampshire and brought my starter. Proofing is different because the nights are cold here. Maybe I need to feed more often. I feed, refrigerate, bake withing 1-3 days, then feed within a week, bake again. According to Reinhart, feed and use starter within 3 days. I will say, the English muffins are great too.

      • Mark H.

        Is the English Muffin recipe on the Breadtopia website?

  29. Mark H.

    Here is my first loaf from the new starter. It is all unbleached white flour. It is still cooling so I must wait before tasting. The captured wild yeast did an admirable job of raising the loaf!

    • Mrs. Lin

      Hi, Mark
      Nice bread.
      Can you share with us your recipe?


      • Mark H.

        The recipe is the Sour Dough No Knead method found on this website.

    • Looks like you got some serious oven spring.

  30. Mark

    With my new starter, it was a really slow rise. After about 20 hours, the dough has doubled is size. I can’t bake until late this afternoon so hopefully it won’t overproof. I will continue to feed this new starter until it is more robust. Curious to see how this bread will turn out!

    • Mark

      I just stopped home for lunch and the dough has risen even more. This starter is doing great! Can’t wait to bake tonight!

    • Tom

      May I suggest pouring/using half of your starter every day for 10 days? You can use the starter to make pancakes/waffles, wonderful cakes (believe it or n0t), banana/pumpkin/apple breads, etc. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh your empty container, add the leftover starter, do the math (substract empty container weight from container weight) and add that same weight of flour and same weight of water to the starter.
      After the 10 days your starter will be *very* vigorous!

  31. Mrs. Lin

    Thanks for your starter recipe.
    After (Step 4) adding the 1/2 C WWF and 1/4 C Water:
    within 12 hours: the starter is bubbly and frothy.
    after 24 hours: the starter falls back.
    Pls adv when will be the right time to use the starter?

    • Sarah

      If this is a brand new starter, you should feed the starter a few more days before you actually use it. This way you can ensure that it will reliably double or triple in volume after each feeding. The best time to use the starter is when it is most active – which is when it has reached its peak of volume. Although it’s pretty forgiving. I’ve used starter that was in the “falling back” stage and it worked out just fine.

  32. Mark H.

    Here is my first starter using the pineapple juice method. It has doubled in size since the last feeding. I will try my hand at no knead sour dough today.

    • Awesome.

    • Erin

      Looks great. Tried a new starter with white flour today. Wil keep you guys posted 🙂

  33. Mark H.

    BTW I had success using unbleached white flour.

  34. Mark H.

    I am trying this for the first time. I got no bubbles after 48 hours and went to step 2. This morning there was bubbling and frothing so I went to step 3. I am using a small tupperware container. Should I transition to a glass container for the final phae?

    This is sooo exciting. I love baking the no knead bread for my family. Now I will try the sourdough starter!

    • Christine Hunt

      it is exciting. My opinion on glass vs plastic is glass is always better!
      Too much stuff can be drawn out of plastic. the older tupperware will give off BPA’s for sure. I don’t know about the new stuff but I don’t trust any of it. Glass or stainless is all you’ll find in my kitchen.

  35. Bill

    I got bubbles after 12 hours with the pineapple juice and flour starter mix. So I went to step two this morning after 24 hours. Planning to go to step three tomorrow morning. The mixture looks and smells fine so as a beginner I’m going to assume good luck unless I hear different.

    • Erin

      I am a newbie and have to say I’m jealous! We are waiting for bubbling, added the 2 tbs flour and pineapple juice last night. Really hoping it works.

      We left ours loosely covered. Maybe be should have closed it completely? Will be back later.

      • Christine Hunt

        Don’t close it completely. Like any living organism it needs to breathe.
        Recommend you read back through some of the comments here. Lot’s of good info and answers to questions that will come up.

  36. Carmen

    Thank you very much for putting up such helpful information. I decided to try making a starter using the pineapple juice method. After two failed attempts, I tried using fresh biodynamic whole wheat flour and it really took off. I think the key was to start off with really fresh flour.

    Gladys (named Gladys because I was gladys anything when I finally got a starter to grow) is now “strong like bull” and I am feeding her up and getting her ready for her first loaf. Wish us luck! Thanks for your videos, they really helped!

    • “Gladys”. I love it.

  37. Erin

    hello! Thank you for the video, i am looking to start bread making and experimenting with my son. we are going to begin our starter tonight.

    i do apologize if i missed it but what is a good simple sourdough recipe for us to work with using this starter?

    really looking forward to it all, thanks again!

    • Christine Hunt

      Erin, On the left of this website is a list of recipes. I recommend you begin with the Sourdough No Knead recipe under the heading “Bread Making Videos”. It’s easy, and makes excellent bread.

  38. Alice

    Help! Your sour dough starter recipe was going great until I made a mistake on the fifth day. I added one cup of flour instead of one half cup. Also, 3/4 cups of water instead of 2/3 cups of water. I realized my mistake once I went back to look at your video. Can I revive this sour dough starter by leaving sit in a warm place??? I’ve baked quite a few of your breads with success. My family loves, loves your bread. Thank you.

    • Hi Alice. That shouldn’t be a problem. It will just take longer for the yeast to catch up. Give it some more time.

    • Brian

      I don’t even measure my flour anymore. A little more or less won’t make a difference. I add pure water for consistancy–I don’t measure that either. You’ll be fine.

  39. teresa

    hey starters 🙂
    we dont need to discard any longer
    make sourdough crackers
    and keep those on hand for snacks

    • Tom

      You got a recipe Teresa?

      • teresa

        warm hello tom 🙂
        i did a search online and found many sites…one was fresh loaf….
        i didnt know if posting it here would be kosher
        u know ?
        i searched ‘sourdough crackers’
        if u try it out let me know
        so far its on my list of to do things

  40. Patty Cucman

    I “caught” a sour dough starter about two years ago using whole wheat and unbleached four in equal amounts and an amount of water equal to the combined weight of the flours. I mixed it by hand, tossed in three or four whole, raw wheat berries, placed it in a cool (about 60 º F) dark place for four days and it’s a tiger. I feed it daily when it is on the counter and otherwise store in the fridge and feed it one every two weeks. It takes a few days to get it ready for baking after removing it from the fridge. I call her Louise. It is true love.

    • teresa

      omg 🙂 awe 🙂 (True Love :))
      the whole wheat berries…did they have a special contribution?
      u didnt feed or stir if for those four days?

      i’ve wondered about light
      what the light does to the yeast

      u feed it once every two weeks in the fridge
      i’ve wondered when it needs to be fed in the fridge
      some say it needs it after about five days
      when it starts to smell like acetone that means the protein bacteria took over the starch bacteria…that is a sign it was not fed in time
      am i right?

      when u take out your starter to get it ready for baking
      it takes a couple of days…would keeping it in the dark and at 60 degrees with a couple of wheat berries help it get ready?

      i am to understand that when i make bread by mixing my starter and the fresh flour i am over feeding my starter..and by waiting for it to rise i am giving it time to catch up to the over feeding…if i miss out and let it rise too long on the second rise…do i now have just a huge starter….and i can try to use it up with the recipes that call for 1 or 2 cups of starter?

      • Patty

        Well I think the wheat berries carry some natural yeast and might help with the “capture” but I have not tried to find one without the berries. Worth a try.

        Light or not to light. I lost Louise once while my grandson was visiting and had to catch her again. I tried in the kitchen with light and was not so successful. When I went back into the dark basement, well, gotcha. May have been light or temperature – it is cooler – or ambiance. Have not done a serious test.

        When I have to store her, I over feed then pop her into the fridge. I watch to ensure no dark liquid is accumulating. If dark liquid does accumulate on top then I feel like I am pushing the envelope. When I am away I just have to do that as I don’t take her with me . When I take her out to make bread, I feed her in the morning and watch. As soon as she begins to respond with vigorous bubbles, I bake. Sometimes this happens the first day, sometimes it takes a day or two. I never feel the need to start over. She comes around in time. I talk nice.

        I am not sure how to answer your last question, but am guessing that yes you have a lot of starter but perhaps you just need to do another shaping and go for it. While not ideal, flat bread is still better than store bought.

        • teresa

          OH PATTY! 🙂
          u light up my life with you “talk nice” to Louise 🙂
          so u say so ahead and bake my bread as a flat bread if i missed the ideal time for it to bake?
          id put it on sheet pan then am i right
          i wanted to make ciabatta my favorite

          when u say another shaping
          do i add flour? i thought once it stops rising…that means its out of feed….just re shaping might get it feeding again without adding flour

          i love this alive stuff 🙂
          so cool
          its feels like i have a baby
          without the high pitched screams or poopy diapers

          when u say pushing the envelop when u see dark liquid
          u mean from going too long in between feedings?
          or is dark liquid from overfeeding
          cause i’ve had this dark liquid before
          also i had what looks like an icing on top…assumed it was mold

          still a loaf of unbaked bread is huge starter if iwanted to switch gears and make something that calls for 1 c. of starter or more (after its done feeding)
          am i right?

          • teresa

            store bought? now that is just insane 🙂
            id rather eat a bowl of brown rice if i was out of bread

          • Patty

            I think dark liquid means left to long and needs food. Ipour it off, and start again with a tablespoon of starter and flour and water in equal amounts by weight. “Icing” might be mould. If its fuzzy, toss it out.

            If I reshape I try to get some tension on the outer surface to help hold it together. A bit of extra flour to ease handling can work. The point of no knead is not kneading but a bit of folding and pulling can be done and does help I think.

            Live things in the kitchen can be temperamental like cildren – starter and yogurt brewing up a kitchen counter culture. : )

            You are definitely right about the brown rice vs. store bread unless it is for a small artisan bakery – then there is the chance to learn some new tricks.

  41. Could you substitute fresh squeesed orange juice for the pineapple juice?

  42. Boboshadodo

    Ok, I have been making a variety of starters using a few different flours but I have had much success with this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour- my starter is doing very well but I finished the last step yesterday with feeding it 1/2 cup flour and 1/3-1/4 cup of purified water. The starter looks perfect as it is and I don’t want it to dry out/give it the wrong feeding measurements so I need to know what to do with it now… how to keep it alive and how much to feed it, is it ready to put in the fridge and feed weekly? Daily? How often do I feed it and how much if so?

    Thank you!

    • Tom

      Hi Boboshadodo,
      I recommend reading up on managing your sourdough starter on this site as well as viewing the video posted there under the sourdough starter videos. I also highly recommend an e-book called “Beginning Sourdough” by Teresa Greenway. It’s available on the Kindle and I’m not sure if it’s on the iPad or not.

  43. Peter

    I just finished working through this, and 5 days after starting have a nice looking starter bubbling away.

    I used pressed apple juice my neighbour made, I bought pineapple juice on day 3, (i got worried) but didn’t need to start over, and strong white flour.

    I’ll be looking forward to making my first sour dough loaf on Saturday!



  44. Paul

    I’ve been using this starter for two years now. I generally feed it once a week, but at times have let it go for three weeks and it snaps back with one feeding. Works best for me feeding it a day before making the bread. Sometimes I will feed it three times before making a bread out of it. Always experimenting. I’ve even made it into a very dry starter, just to see how it would react. It does just as well. Peter Rhinehart suggests a dryer starter for a more sour sourdough and I’ve tried it. It works well too.

    • Denise

      Do you have the starter that’s like a dough? I tried that starter with the breadtopia sourdough no knead recipe and it was very wet. Next time I’m going to try less water and less proofing time.

      • Tom

        Don’t change anything. It’s suppposed to be a wet dough. It is a very “shaggy” dough. The proofing time is also the ferminting process to give it the “sourness”.

        • Denise

          The dough that I made with the starter I have is about the consistency of thick pudding. So I didn’t know if it was because of my starter, or if I just need to not let it proof as long as I did? Or try less water?

          • Christine Hunt

            Your starter should be about the consistancy of pudding or as Breadtopia recommends “brownie batter”. But your bread dough should be thicker than that.
            How much water are you adding?
            One day when baking I got called away and my sponge proofed much longer than usual. When I got back to it there was a hooch at the bottom of the bowl and my dough was way too soft. I made it as usual though and didn’t get the rise in baking that I usually do. So, you may be right in thinking it was proofed too long.
            In my case I added more flour instead of less water. The bread was still delicious, more dense and not as pretty. It was disappointing but couldn’t be helped.
            Try not letting it proof so long.

            • Denise

              I followed the breadtopia recipe and added a cup and a half of water to my starter. My starter is from a book I got for Christmas by Peter reinhart called artisan breads every day. The starter recipe in that book is like a dough. He has you knead it. That why I was wondering if maybe I let it proof to long?

          • Christine Hunt

            If you took the sourdough starter from Reinhart’s book my question would be why didn’t you follow his bread making recipe as well?
            I’m thinking any starter can become any bread with some imagination and common sense.
            I would go back to the book and make bread according to Reinhart and then begin to experiment.
            Kudos to you for trying something new. Good luck, keep us posted and as Breadtopia says “have fun” with it.

            • Denise

              I’m in the process of trying one of his recipes. Its a couple days process. Ill let you know how it turns out. I was just wanting to try a new recipe. I’m a very new bread baker especially when it comes to sourdough. I really think maybe I let this recipe proof to long. Maybe my starter is really active? I’m going to try the starter recipe that’s on this site when I get some more pineapple juice. I just love sourdough bread and I wanna figure it out! Lol

          • Christine Hunt

            I just love sourdough too! and that’s as good a reason as any for trying new things and failing now and again. Where would we be if we didn’t have folks who tried and failed.
            You may be our next sourdough guru! lol
            happy sour on ya

      • Tom

        Is this a fairly young starter? Did you just make it or have you had it going for a while? I was told I should feed mine daily for two weeks before using it to make bread. Also, you may want to how you are feeding the starter. Are you using equal volumes (say a cup) of each water and flour to a cup of starter or a 1:1:1 ratio (1 cup starter, 1 cup water, 1 cup flour)?
        This will give you a thinner starter. I let the recipe decide for me how hydrated (watery) I want my starter to be.

        Try feeding your starter as: 1 cup starter, 3/4 cup water, 1 cup flour and see if that helps. It may take a few feedings to get your starter to the brownie batter consistency or whatever consistency you are looking for to fit the recipe you are using.

  45. Bob

    Can I use this starter in my bread machine I make alot of pizza dough for the kids Bob

    • Christine Hunt

      Hi Bob, I don’t have a bread machine so I’ve never tried this. If memory serves there have been some discussions in the comment section about this and the answer was “yes”. Obviously you wouldn’t bake the dough in a machine as you can’t get the temp you would in the oven but if you are looking for a way to mix it without the elbow work your bread machine should do the job. You might check through the comments just to be sure.

    • Tom

      I have been making pizza crusts daily for over three weeks now. I make two at a time using Eric’s recipe from his video on this site (sourdough pizza crust). I gave lots of them away as gifts this year and have frozen a few. The frozen ones are just as good as the fresh made ones. I take it out of the freezer in the morning before leaving for work and make pizza that night.

      I don’t have a bread machine but I don’t see why you couldn’t make the dough with one removing before the bake cycle. I enjoy the feel of the dough and the “work out” helps with stress! See the video to see what I mean.

      Tomtato puree makes wonderful sauce. I add Penzey’s pizza spices, salt and olive oil to the puree and cook for about 30 minutes or so. I’ve made over a case of pint jars at one time as the “Pizza Kit” was quite the rage for holiday gifts this year.

  46. Denise

    Hello, you have a great website. I was watching the video you have on creating a sourdough starter that you said you got from Peter Reinhart. I got one of his books for Christmas called Artisan breads everyday fast and easy recipes for world class breads. I made the starter he had in the book and its like a dough, really this. This starter that you made is a lot thinner. Is it from another one of his books? Thanks a bunch

    • Thanks, Denise.

      It was so long ago, I can’t remember. I can barely remember what happened yesterday ;-).

      But there couldn’t be much difference anyway. Add some flour to stiffen yours up and you’d have the same thing.

      • Denise

        Thanks for responding. And I can barely remember what I did yesterday to, lol. My starter that I’m using is thick like dough. He has you knead it. I tried it with your no knead sourdough recipe and the dough was really wet. I’m going to try less water and less proofing time like you suggested. I just thought since my starter was so thick, I was just confused I did something wrong. Btw, I’m a new bread maker. 🙂

  47. Anne

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. When I told my daughter that I had to feed my starter, she said it sounded as though it were a pet. I have named it “Bubbles.” I started it more than a month ago and it is doing wonderfully well!

  48. Charles Dye

    My wifes mother had a sourdough starter for over 50years and lost it a couple years ago. we wanted some of our own but never got it from her. We have a few friends we could get some from but I decided to make a new batch from scratch that could be in the family for a long time. this process seemed easy and straight forward, so I tried it. It worked GREAT! now I have a starter that will grow with our family. Thanks for the instructions, and the video was a great help also.
    Thanks so much,
    Western slope of Colorado

    • That’s great to hear.

  49. I finally made your sourdough pancake recipe, and we loved it! We have a tradition of having pancakes while watching the Rose Parade.

    I’ve had the recipe in my files for a number of years, and finally used it. THANKS1

    • That’s my kind of tradition.

  50. susan

    Thanks so much for your starter and instructions. I live in Boulder, CO a mile high and dry air, so wasn’t sure I could make a wild yeast starter. Now between days 4-5 and it looks just like yours…bubbly, elastic yeast. Can hardly wait to start baking!

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