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. Raul

    Hi 2 days ago when I first visited your site I decide to try my first experience with sourdough, I have some good quality organic rye flour and wholemeal flour, I did the rye flour 2 days ago, I didn’t have any pineapple in a can, bottle but I have a fresh ripe pineapple from a tree, I extracted the juice, enjoyed a good part of it and keep some to make the starter, I followed the instructions NOT very close to the letter, I did 4 tablespoons of rye flour and about a 1/4 cup of fresh juice just to have the consistency similar to yours, I was busy for 24 hours and I didn’t mix the starter, second day I did it 3 times and in the last one I add some more juice and flour and no signs of activity at all, but as I was heading to sleep (about 2 hours after the feeding) was an explosion, bubbles everywhere, well tomorrow will be another day and see what to do next, I didn’t expect or plan to see a reaction in just 47 hours since started all. Thanks Raul

    • Raul

      And I forgot when up at least 50% in size, I am very surprised from the experience after reading during a couple of days Debra Wink original work and messages from many people, but your video push me to go ahead. Thanks.

  2. Deb

    I was a little discouraged about making a good starter. I had tried another recipe on another site, and my starter was moldy and bad smelling. I’ve had experience using microbes for different things, but my lack of success made me for that perhaps I could never figure this out. I used to make beer and wine. And I often make my own yogurt and bread, also.

    I followed your recipe fairly closely, and it worked. I didn’t see the need to be exact. Just close. After following the first two steps, I suspect that I had a good starter. But after adding the flour and water for the next step, I awoke the next day to something very yeasty smelling!

    I intend to feed it a bit more and try my hand at a loaf.

  3. Mark

    I have a starter working well and I keep it on the counter in the kitchen where it’s been for the past week. When is it OK to start keeping the starter in the fridge? I’m worried if I leave it out it will start to grow mould.


    • As soon as a starter is healthy it should go in the fridge. As long as it’s sitting out, it’ll need to be fed at least once a day to keep it happy and prevent mold growth. When you store it in the fridge, you typically only need to feed it weekly.

  4. Barry

    I live on the prairies of Hanna , Alberta …must be the dry air… my starter is amazing… whole wheat flower and pineapple juice…just made a couple loaves of sourdough bread and its great… thanks for the recipe!

  5. Joe

    Hi me just stumbled here and having read some comments I try to send in me own. Am a fan of sourdough and used it for some time now. Started from scratch i.e not bought, not from a friend and not free on line.
    Recently I read an Indian recipe book and the author says over there they use plain yogurt to do the trick. I try it ASAP.

  6. Hi, can I use this same method to get a spelt sourdough starter going? Thanks.


    • Yes, absolutely.

  7. khadijah

    Hi! Great site. Started my culture on 14/9, from unbleached bread flour n r.o water, it was bubling within a fee hours perhaps its the equator temperature. I opened the jar yesterday and sniffed, smells of flour really..despite the bubbles n the doubled volume. Question is when can i start baking with it? Just now there was ‘ether’ smell, perhaps from the alcohol? Nothing pungent or anything like that yet.


    • As soon as it’s spongy and doubling when fed, it’s ready to use. In really warm climates, you’ll need to be on the alert for proofing to happen very quickly. You’ll need to keep your starter refrigerated between use and feedings. The fresher your starter, the less likely you’ll experience alcohol smell.

      • khadijah


  8. Charzie

    I’m wondering if part of the intense activity of this whole pineapple thing isn’t simply the added sugar in the juice to feed the yeasts? I’ve noticed when I’ve fed my starters just flour, the bubbling activity is rather subdued, but if I add a bit of sugar, the bubbling will always increase dramatically! I’m thinking FRESH pineapple juice may also add to the probiotic action, but the pasteurized juice merely adds sugar to the equation.

    • Yes, sugar in whatever form always speeds things up. You don’t need to use pineapple juice or anything other than flour and water once the starter is going well.

  9. Jodie

    I began my own sourdough starter back in June and have had great success with it. Actually, I have 2 starters. One I have dubbed “starter on steriods” because it’s so much more active than the other. Both produce the same quality of bread however. I’m always curious about people who comment to say they’re not having any luck. Both of my starters now are 50/50 whole wheat flour and rye flour. Through experimenting, I discovered that rye flour is (for me anyway) one of the best flours to use! I encourage everyone who’s attempting their own starter to keep trying! All you have to lose is some flour and water 🙂 Or pineapple juice if that’s what you’re using. It really is SO rewarding to make a bread truly from scratch. I admit I’ve become addicted to baking bread. I also have the most fool-proof NO knead 100% whole grain recipe. You can’t get any better than that. Good luck to all of my fellow bread bakers 🙂

    • MK

      Hi Jodie,
      Can you please share your recipe here ? Thanks.

  10. Seems to be a no go for me. Had good activity the second day nice bubbling and it appeared to doing something. Then just trailed off to almost nothing.

    • Lesley

      Hi Paul,
      I don’t know if you are or have used pineapple juice in your starter but I used it even after I started the process instead of water and it worked like a charm. Could be worth a try.

    • Bill

      Hi Paul,
      It could be that your starter just needs feeding again. Good luck!

  11. John

    I am on day 3.5. Good smells developing along with some bubbles. However I see some white, cotton candy type, mold on the side of my container. I just wiped it off. Is this mold potentially bad? Do I need to start over?

    • Just take a small amount of starter from the center of your batch and place it in a clean container and feed it. Build it up from there.

      • John

        Starter complete. Turned out great! Made a loaf of your sourdough wheat; also turned out great. However not sour enough at this point. I will let my starter mature more in the refrigerator.

        • John

          Here’s a photo.

  12. As a first time baker, I was a bit confused about my flours and such. Just started a THM way of doing things (new to that also) it is a low glycemic way of eating. Anyway… I saw your site and the THM suggests making your own sour dough bread. So I began my starter with the flour I had ordered (sprouted whole grain wheat). After reading more and understanding more about all this I have realized that this flour is not just regular whole wheat. The starter seems to be working fine, nice and bubbly. I am on day three.
    My question is… Where do I go from here? Can I just continue to use the whole wheat sourdough recipe? Are there changes I need to make for it to work properly?

  13. mimi

    I am interested in the best gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, potato-free, sorghum -free flour mix to try for a sour dough baguette. I know that’s a big challenge but any ideas are welcome. Thanks.

  14. Sheryl

    I have been trying to copycat the Kings Hawaiin bread recipe but haven’t come close yet. Since most call for pineapple juice & ginger. I’m attempting a pineapple & fresh ginger starter. What’s your take on this experiment?

  15. Corrie

    I am going to post my question again with hope getting a useful reply:

    Need a little help please to bake gluten free bread using your sourdough which I have made and ready in a jar in the fridge. My question is : what gluten free flour can I use in place of wheat flour that will come close to forming a structure like gluten to make an interesting loaf.

    • I wish I knew of one.

  16. Charzie

    Okay, all this creativity has given me yet another idea! I am in the process of sprouting some wheat to make rejuvelac. I am thinking after I harvest the liquid rejuvelac, I should grind up the used sprouted wheat berries and a bit of the liquid with a bit of flour thrown in for good measure, and see what happens! Since fermentation of the grain has already begun, it might speed up the process? But I also understand that once the wheatberry has sprouted it is more like a vegetable than a grain, and the sugar content does rise noticeably too, so I’m not sure how exactly that will affect the whole dough-yeast-ferment-souring-rising etc. issues! But think I will find out! Not a lot to lose! I’ve made Essene bread before, and found it, well, lacking, so maybe this hybrid bread (HYBREAD?) will be better! Wish me luck! LOL!

  17. Jasminetiger

    Wonderful starter recipe. Just onto Step 3 today and it’s worked like a charm so far. Looking forward to baking! 🙂

  18. pat

    Thank you for your reply. My starter is doing very well but I haven’t used it yet. How long do you have to wait before using it? Now that the starter is established, how often do I have to feed it and should it be stored in the fridge if it’s not going to be used for a couple of weeks? Also’ how long do you have to wait, after feedings, before you use the starter?

  19. pat

    I’m a bit confused because recipes call for at east 1 cup of starter but the starter makes just a small amount and then tells you to discard some of it before you feed it. How do you ever end up with enough starter to make bread?

    • You can always increase your starter just by feeding it more.

  20. Andy

    I wanted to report my experience. I followed the steps above and it was very promising. On day 4, when I started with water instead of pineapple juice, it bubbled up nicely, not doubling but expanding a good 20 percent over 12 hours. But then things tapered off. My starter settled into a pattern of getting small bubbles and rising no more than a quarter inch, probably about 5 percent rise by volume. This rise would happen over 12 hours and would just sit there. It didn’t matter if I fed it once a day or twice. Small bubbles, quarter inch.

    I was about to throw in the towel and buy a starter. Just for kicks I decided to give it another feeding with pineapple juice instead of water. That changed everything. Twelve hours after that feeding, it looked alive with lots of big bubbles and had risen by 50-60 percent. I’m still not getting it to double, but it looks very healthy. So if your starter seems stuck, try another pineapple juice feeding. It could do the trick.

    • Amanda

      Thank you for this tip! I also had some bubbling and about a 1/4 inch rise by day 4 and it just stopped afterward. I have carried on as normal since then and the mixture smells nice and fruity, but there is no action anymore. Zero! I’m going to try some pineapple juice again and see if that kick starts it. I just hate the thought of throwing out the mixture and starting over, because I bought high quality flour to do this with. Wish me luck!

      • Amanda

        Belated Update:
        I went back to pineapple juice and BOOM! It took off like crazy! It’s been going strong since then and I now keep it in the fridge where it continues to thrive. Thanks again for the tip!

  21. Annelies


    I came across your website after is started my sourdough starter. Here in Holland everyone uses just water in stead of pineapple juice. Logically i also did as I used an online Dutch recipe. My starter smells quite pungent which I read to be a normal thing. Though I am doubting a little bit if my starter is ok or not. I come to think that it might be fermented too much.



  22. Peter

    I have seen on a bread show istead of pineapple juice they used a wholemeal flour, water but used a small cut of a rhurbarb stem thrown in the dough for 24 to 48 hours…I guess rhurbarb is acid base but would have spores of bacteria being fresh from the garden…..have seen or heard the same… present I am in middle of makeing a W/wheat and P/juice starter….I’m on day 2 at present.

  23. This will be a strange question. My son has been making bread from a starter for about six months now. He is very good at it. Recently, his wife has developed a “yellow” tongue. Literally. Two days ago, my son’s tongue turned yellow. I’m wondering if this could, in any way, be related to yeast spores in the house?

    • bro. Augustine Rohde

      Dear Barbara,

      I am a nurse and have seen from time to time what is called, hairy tongue. I found this info below and would suggest the same & not the bread itself. Peace.
      Yellow tongue
      By Mayo Clinic Staff
      Yellow tongue — a yellow discoloration of your tongue — is usually a temporary, harmless problem. Most often, yellow tongue is an early sign of a disorder known as black, hairy tongue. Rarely, yellow tongue may indicate a problem with your liver or gallbladder. Self-care is usually all that’s needed to treat yellow tongue.

      Medical treatment for yellow tongue usually isn’t necessary. If tongue discoloration bothers you, try gently brushing your tongue with a solution that is 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 5 parts water. Rinse your mouth with water afterward. Quitting smoking and increasing fiber in your diet also may help by decreasing the bacteria in your mouth that cause yellow tongue.

      Schedule a doctor’s visit if:
      •You’re concerned about persistent discoloration of your tongue
      •Your skin or the whites of your eyes also appear yellow, as this may suggest jaundice

      • Thank you so much for your response. I will pass this along to my daughter in law. The odd thing is, that my son had also developed a “yellow ” tongue just about 5 days ago. Daughter in law has had it for a little over two weeks. They are both very healthy eaters! The only thing I could think of that they had done that was new , was the bread making! Thank you again.

  24. bro. Augustine Rohde

    I started two new batches by two different recipes. First on started using skim milk/honey in covered bowl. Second using this method. First recipe had results in 2 days. Second method took 7 days. The following week, this second method became acrid, almost smell like ethel and I was almost overwhelmed by the odor. Never smelled a starter like this. So I tried the “saving a sick starter” from NW Sourdough website. After one week, the odor isn’t as bad, but still has an acrid odor & it doesn’t rise like it first did – at all. Any ideas, or should I just start over?

  25. Corrie

    Need a little help please to bake gluten free bread using your sourdough which I have made and ready in a jar in the fridge. My question is : what gluten free flour can I use in place of wheat flour that will come close to forming a structure like gluten to make an interesting loaf.

  26. Neil Dunstan

    There aren’t many places offering advice on how to make a sourdough starter that give you confidence that it’s been well tried and tested. So the pineapple juice recipe seemed worth a try.
    I’ve made bread with yeast and a range of flours for years but after tasting good sourdough bread in the USA and Scandinavia, the time had come to branch out.
    To put this into context, my first attempt was made during a July week in England where the kitchen temperature varied from 22C to 27C – the upper end being hot by UK standards.
    The pineapple juice was from a supermarket and labelled “not from concentrate” and with “a hint of lime”.
    For a novice, the process required some blind faith as the activity in the mixture wasn’t easy to spot but the end of the week and stage 4, the bubbling was obvious. One week later it has acquired a good sour smell. The real test will be in a couple of days when current bread stocks run out and the first “white” loaf is made.
    But first impressions are that the recipe works well as long as you simply follow the instructions and are patient.
    More feedback later!

  27. ben

    Hi. I just finished doing all 4 steps to make the starter. I finally have my first active starter….but what do I do now to maintain it. And how do I bake with it. Help pls

  28. Cris

    Hi, have made my starter about a week ago and it is only just bubbling, how do I get it vigorous. It smells good but is not active enough. Hope u can help

  29. Lisa

    Hi what are some tips to intensify the sour flavor?

    • Steve

      When I followed this procedure on this site I found that the sour flavour was not strong initially. I found that the sour flavour got stronger over the course of about 3-4 weeks of use.

      • Lisa

        Thanks Steve,

        Still discouraged, my starter is in its 8th year. I have made many loaves but still do not have a strong enough sour flavor. I do have the book you refer, the author talks a lot about San Francisco sour dough yeast strain. I love his books. I have even sought to concentrate my flavor by dehydrating starter and substituting it in the flower measurements. I have used his lengthy method of fermenting in the refrigerator, to let you know what lengths I have gone in my science of sour dough.

        I would love any other suggestions, or authors information you might like to share.

        Still trying! Thanks again!

        • Mary Zins

          This is not a normal bread making approach but you might try using whey left over from cheese making as a substitute for all (?) or part of the liquid in your dough. I don’t know if you like Indian food, but I make paneer by boiling milk (1/2 gal) and then adding lemon juice (1/8 cup), let it sit 2-3 min. It will form curds that you separate from the whey by pouring through a clean dish towel in a colander and catching the whey in a bowl. Wring the dish towel to dry out the cheese. The cheese is mild and I make Saag Paneer (a spinach sauce with chunks of the cheese) and use the whey in sweet and sour soup.

          It is very easy and this might give you the sourness you are looking for in your bread. Good luck.

  30. Hi Eric,
    I was wondering if it made any difference to the success of the culture if the pineapple juice contained pear juice in the tin. I didn’t see that when I bought the tinned pineapple.

    • Probably not.

      • Hi Eric,
        I thought I would let you know that the starter didn’t work the first time, however, adding 100% pineapple juice only worked like a shot. Thank you. I am so enjoying this foray into bread making.

  31. Jodie

    Hi there. I’ve recently begun using a whole wheat starter I made from directions on another site. I’m so glad I found another one showing how to do a sourdough starter but I’m confused. I thought wild yeast was captured from the air and have never covered my starter. But you cover yours. Yours is also MUCH thicker. I’ve produced edible bread but wonder if I should adopt some of your advice and end up with a more lively starter? I guess it won’t hurt to experiment, what’s the worst that can happen? I lose a starter and have to begin all over again 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Doing videos is also so much better than just reading words!

    • Hi Jodie,

      Thanks for the nice comments. I’ve read somewhere that it’s more likely that wild yeast is present in the flour than in the air. And more prevalent in whole grain flour than white (AP) flour. I keep my starter on the stiff side only because a thick starter traps the bubbles from fermentation better so it rises better and so it’s easier to tell when it’s healthy. A more liquid starter can be just as healthy and effective but it’s harder for me to tell how well it’s doing from just looking at it. Whether your starter is healthy or not usually has more to do with the feeding frequency and how much its fed than anything else.

  32. sherri

    I used Kombucha for my starter liquid.. Worked great.

    • That’s interesting, Sherri. Is it the only leavening you used?

      • sherri

        Yup. My kitchen is a mass of culture varieties right now between my Kombucha Tea and my ginger bug and such I thought why not try it. I was wanting it to be ready for when my husband gets home on the 22nd, so I figured I had some time. One of the things I read about making Kombucha Tea is that adding some of the more stronger KT to the new brew prevents bad bacteria because of the low PH and it has traces yet of sugar I thought that is the same thing you are getting out of the pineapple juice. But with it comes its own yeast as well. The smells were all dead on through the brew period and I was unfortunately not spot on with my feedings due to my uncertainty of being a noob at this and all the variety of the information out there.. but I still am getting great results.. The smell today is enough to make your glands water. I found you when I was doing some follow up research. Great site.

      • Sherri

        Here is the current result

        • Looks great. Very active. Thanks for the info.

    • Christy

      Hi Sherry I am just starting my cultured foods adventure. I harvested my first batch of kombucha about 3 days ago and it was perfect. Did you follow the same ratios listed above with the flour and kombucha for your starter?

  33. Corrie

    Can this process be speeded up or improved by adding some dry commercial yeast. ??

    • No. Sourdough starter shouldn’t have any commercial yeast in it.

  34. Terry

    Can you tell me what i am doing wrong? I have followed your instructions , however my bread when done is very flat and doesnt have any height ?

  35. Jennifer

    I am wondering if this could be done in my proof box? Two reasons, one better temperature control, and two I have small very curious children and cats. Can you help?

  36. Tammy

    About 8 hours after the Step 2 feeding I noticed lots of activity and bubbling. I think it’s going too fast! It is 85 degrees here so that could be one reason.
    But I do wonder if it was “contaminated” by the instant yeast doughs I’ve been proofing the last few days (pre-made dough in the fridge and I just grab a handful in the morning to reproof and bake a baguette).
    Either way, I’m very excited to see activity!

    • Bill

      The higher temperature significantly increases the growing process and the feeding requirements as well.

      Your growth sounds normal for 85 degrees. I’m amazed at the starter growth and dough rising action I get during summer in our open air kitchen.

  37. Dax

    Day 7, Perth Western Australia. Best sourdough instructions ever, thank you.

  38. Bunny Dimmel

    So today is the day I should see activity and I don’t. My house is cold. Must I pitch it or try feeding it again?

    • Cold will slow things down a lot. Keep feeding it.

      • Bunny Dimmel

        Thank you. I will keep feeding it, but I switched to Dpring water instead of pineapple juice. That will be ok, yes?

        • Yes, that’s fine.

  39. Paula

    Made my first loaf of sourdough bread made from orange juice and rye then went to unbleached flour starter. Only 9 days old and the starter worked perfectly. I can’t hardly believe how nice it turned out. Thanks very much for your video.

    • Cool. Glad to hear it.

  40. Wendy

    Hi, I am working on a spelt starter from fresh milled spelt, well, it’s a week old, and used orange juice to. I was on the second step and after 24 hrs it had lots of bubbles. I wasn’t sure if I should move on to step 3 but decided to follow through with 48 hrs. After 36 hours I noticed a lot less and smaller bubbles and it smells like wine. I’ve gone ahead and moved to step 3 but am not sure what’s happened and if it is okay? Did it over ferment?

    Thank you.

  41. I made my starter! I am excited to bake for the first time! I used spelt flour for the starter and orange juice. Followed all of your instructions. Thank you!

  42. Steve Marsh

    I am following the recipie and everything seems to be going well. I am on the last step of the 4 steps. The only thing I am not clear about is how long to wait to complete for this final step before I actually use it for making a loaf of bread. I used fresh pineapple juice from an actual pineapple I had on hand . I’m not clear if this makes a difference or not but for looking it does not.

  43. Aja Woods

    It worked perfectly, I used orange juice instead of pineapple juice and freshly milled flour. Followed the instructions and now have a vibrant sour dough starter! Thanks for the directions!

    • Paula

      Hi Aja, is the orange juice you used freshly squeezed or processed? I could use fresh pineapple juice also. Would that be ok?

  44. SturdyBeggar

    Greetings, bread lovers…
    After several months of great success with my pineapple juice starter I wasn’t paying attention and fed it with rye flour. Will this change the characteristics of my starter ? What can I expect ?
    Hope I didn’t do major damage.
    Thank you.

    • That’s not a problem. A lot of people keep a rye starter for recipes that call for it. You can easily convert it back just by continuing to feed it whatever flour you were using before. In the mean time, you should be able to use what you have as effectively as before.

      • SturdyBeggar

        Thank you very much for your reply. Back to the wheat and water diet for my starter.

  45. Terry

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this video and actually making the starter! I ended up with a beautiful rye starter. Your instructions were perfect… Thank you so much for your time and caring! Next, I’m trying your beautiful recipe for rye bread. God bless:)

  46. I_S

    Made my first sourdough starter a week or ago and I’ve been feeding it regularly and playing around with a sourdough cinnamon raisin vanilla bread. I’m done playing as perfection has been achieved.

    2 and 2/3 cups of white flour (whole wheat works too)
    1 and 1/2 cups water
    1/3 cup whole wheat sourdough starter (mixed into the water)
    1 cup raisins
    2 and 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure mexican vanilla

    Mix ingredients together exactly the same as no knead bread and let rise 12-24 hours. (I break the raisins up and left them drop into the dry flour so they distribute evenly.) Flour a surface and your hands then fold the dough 4-5 times and place into warm bread pan seam down. (I use cast iron.) Let rise for 2-4 hours in a warm place then cover loosely with oiled foil. (the rising dough will stick if not oiled.) Bake for 45 minutes at 450F then remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes until internal temp hits 205F.

    You can slice and eat immediately or allow it to cool. For an incredibly rich and decadent desert cut a thick slice and toast in a toaster then butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Goes great with Pedro Ximenez wine. Is also excellent with Samuel Adams Utopias if you happen to have a bottle.

  47. Chris

    Hi Eric,

    We used this recipe this week to make our very first sourdough starter. I have a sensitivity to wheat, so we are using spelt instead. I have been using spelt for years, and I seem to be able to handle it much better than wheat — particularly the commercial bleached, wheat flour.

    At first, I was a little concerned, because we were 5 days before we saw any bubbles from fermentation, but it eventually did catch-up. We were about 1.5 days behind what you had illustrated in your video. I think that this could have been for one of two reasons (or both): 1) we are using spelt flour, which is not as glutenous and 2) “room temperature” in our house this April has been around 62-65 degrees F. It finally warmed up today, and the starter really took off. I was even able to use it for our first attempt at a whole grain spelt loaf (as per your pair of videos on the subject).

    Thank you so much for taking the time to produce your videos. I probably never would have tried to make my own starter if it weren’t for them :).


  48. Lisa

    Success!! I gave this a go last Sunday, and this morning we’re a-bubblin’ and a-brewin’. I used unbleached flour rather than whole wheat… I’m outnumbered when it comes to whole grain baking in our house (but I sneak it in sometimes anyway, mwuahahaha). Since It Lives! I suppose it’s time to name it… a friend of mine came up with “Clint Yeastwood” and “Sheena Yeaston,” but I’m still thinking. I’ll let you know. 😉
    Since I’m brand new to this, I do have two questions, and they boil down to “continued care.” What is the best method of storage, and how often should I feed it? I imagine how often I plan to bake with it is a factor, and I really can’t say… probably once a week or every two weeks, but if I have early success, I can see using it twice a week at times.
    I’m a little apprehensive about baking sourdough loaves/rounds with it already; I don’t want to end up with bricks, as others have described… can I start with pizza dough? or focaccia? and then, once the starter has “matured,” try loaves? Will I be more likely to have success if I wait? or is the culture the culture, and it’s as much about bread-making technique as it is ingredients?
    Thank you for your patience with my over-thinking… and for this simple starter method! Food science is so fun & fascinating! I joked with my husband that I want to keep this starter going and when my daughter (17) buys her first house or gets married, I’d give her a bit of this starter as a housewarming or wedding gift… he just looked at me like I was crazy. Aaah, to be a foodie. 🙂
    Thanks again.

    • Bill

      I enjoyed your post. I measure by volume and am used to getting different but always tasty results.

      To avoid bricks, I handle the dough as little as possible. After the initial stirrings or foldings, before the long rise, if the dough seems too wet I put it on a well floured surface and add more flour until it feels like I’m massaging a relaxed cat. I then put the dough in my buttered baking tin. No proofing basket for me. After the long rise I put this tin in the oven, covered during the first 30 minutes by a loose tent of aluminium foil.

      Depending on the temperature of my kitchen, and sometimes with the aid of the oven light, and depending on how much starter I use the long rise can take anywhere from 3 to 12 hours.

      I keep my starter in the fridge and bring it out and begin feeding it the day before I want to bake.

      I recommend drying and freezing some starter after it has aged a few months and repeating this process every six months or so. This gives you a backup in case your working starter goes bad or if, as I once did, you forget to put some aside when baking.

      Maintaining starter and freezing starter are discussed in two excellent videos.

      I had twin starter jars for a while. I named them Thing One and Thing Two and would mix them once in a while, like a play day. I finally realized that one jar would serve me well. I suppose that now I just have The Thing.

      Well, good luck. And I can tell you from experience, even the bricks taste great.

  49. peter

    My sourdough starter is going strong and well. I tried to make bread, but they keep turning into bricks. I left it to rise for a total of 10 hours. Is this because the starter is still new?

    I made three different loafs and they all turned out to be doorstoppers. The latest one I put some instant yeast in addition to the sourdough starter and it turned out pretty good. Not a rich sourdough bread taste, but still very good. I only left it to rise and knead for 4 hours.

    How can I make bread without the instant yeast? Do I put more starter? Do I let it rise longer?

    • I_S

      I would try proofing the dough in a warmer place. Place the covered dough in your oven with the light switched on. That should really get it going.

      If you have not already watched it, check out this video also on the breadtopia site:

      When I feed my starter it quadruples in volume within hours.

  50. peter

    I did the starter recipe, however I used white flour instead. I see activity (bubbling), however I do not see as much as the video after the fourth step. Should I be seeing more?

    • Mine took a few days longer and was more sluggish as you describe. I think temperature is a big thing. In my house at the time I did this the temp during the day was 70-71 and at night 65. I notice a lot more activity as the temp goes above 70. I am not on my third loaf and I have a very active starter.

      • peter

        Thank you 🙂

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