Sourdough Starter: Day 1

Well, I have made a successful sourdough starter once before, let’s see if I can do it again!  I hope that you will give it a try also!  I promise that it is very simple and does not take a lot of time. 

I will be detailing the rest of the days throughout the week so you can see the whole process.  I’ll also give you some more information about your sourdough starter, and what’s going on inside your jar when you’re making a starter.  But for today, I will just show you what you need to do on day one.  Let’s get started!

Making a Sourdough Starter: 


As I mentioned in my post about my ruined sourdough, all you need is flour, water, a small jar or bowl, and a spoon.  I recommend using a glass jar or bowl over a plastic one.  Glass is more sanitary than plastic, and it will not leach chemicals into your sourdough.  I am using a two-cup Ball jar for my sourdough starter.

Once you gather your supplies, it’s really very simple! Sourdough Instructions

Got it? Smile

Okay, I will explain in a little more detail for those who like details (like myself!).

  1. Add 1/2 cup of room temperature water to a glass jar.
    • To give your sourdough the best chance at success, use un-chlorinated but not distilled water. 
    • You want minerals in your water (which are taken out of distilled water.)
    • To de-chlorinate city tap water, either boil for a few minutes and then let cool, or let it set out overnight.
    • I am using our filtered (through a Brita pitcher) tap water.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour to the water in the jar.
  3. Stir the flour and the water together vigorously.
    • Stirring very well and vigorously will incorporate some air into the mixture which is good!
  4. Once it’s well combined, use your spoon to scrape down to sides of the jar.
    • This will help prevent crusties from forming on your jar. Eww!
    • It also will help prevent mold from forming inside your jar. Double eww!
  5. Cover your jar with something that will still allow it to breath.
    • I just loosely cover my jar with some plastic wrap.
    • You could also use a small, clean dishcloth (or several layers of cheesecloth) secured by a rubber band.
  6. Place your jar in a warm place to rest for 24 hours.
    • Sourdough does best in a warm environment.  It’s starting to get a little chilly where we live, so I just found a warm spot in a closet in my kitchen – on top of our water heater!
    • Other good warm spots in your kitchen – on top of the refrigerator, on top of your stove, by a crockpot in use, in your (unused) oven with the pilot light on, etc. (If you choose to put it in your oven, you might want to put some sort of reminder around your preheat buttons so you don’t accidently bake your sourdough!)

That is it for day one – very easy, huh?

See Sourdough Starter Days 2-7 to see what to do after the first day.  (I promise it’s not any harder than what we did today!)

Upcoming Schedule of Sourdough Posts to Keep You Going:

  • How to Care for Your Sourdough (so you can enjoy it for many, many years to come.)
  • Plus lots of recipes for you to use and enjoy your sourdough.

Like what you read?  Don’t miss the rest of the sourdough posts!  Make sure you sign up for a free subscription, either through e-mail or RSS to get the new posts automatically sent to you!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!

This post has been shared with Pennywise Platter, Tastetastic Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Your Green ResourceHealthy 2day Wednesday, Traditional Tuesday, and Monday Mania.  Be sure to visit them for more great ideas.


  1. Mary says:


    Can I use my sprouted flour to make the sour dough starter?


    • Mindy says:

      Hi Mary,

      I do not have any experience using sprouted flour with sourdough, although I do believe it would be fine. I personally would not use it, because it is more expensive (or labor intensive if you are making it yourself) than regular whole wheat flour, and the sourdough does the same work that the sprouted flour does of neutralizing the phytic acid (if that is what you are concerned with.) If you do want to use sprouted flour though, I do not see why it wouldn’t work. Hope this helps!

    • I use sprouted! It works really well and makes your starter extra happy. I only use it because I bought too much soft white wheat berries and found out starter really prefers hard white or hard red. As a result I sprouted my soft white in my fancy new dehydrator (was happy to find a use for it) and now I have extremely happy sourdough starter!
      Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger recently posted..Comment on 6 Years and Counting – Our Story by Nikkimoller

  2. I love your picture tutorial! Sourdough is something I have yet to attempt, but I definitely want to. This makes it seem super easy! Thanks for all the great information :)
    Lori @ Laurel of Leaves recently posted..The All Important Barefoot Running Landing

    • Mindy says:

      You’re welcome, Lori! I hope you’ll give sourdough a try – it’s so much fun and I think you would love it! And it really is super easy :-)

  3. Emily says:

    My new friend is sitting on top of my fridge. I’m excited :)

  4. Sherri says:

    What a timely post for me! I have messed up my first two attempts at sourdough starter, so this will be great for me to work along with you. So sorry about your mis-hap, but just think, your new starter is being made with your freshly ground flour!

    • Mindy says:

      I know, Sherri – that is my only consolation! :-)

      I hope that your sourdough makes it this time. Let me know if you have any questions.

  5. Christy says:

    Ok, here we go….. :)
    Christy recently posted..Grocery Shopping

  6. Jenna says:

    Ok – you convinced me. My first sourdough starter has been officially started! I am going to put the blinders on and take this one day at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. Thanks for the motivation and step by step instructions.

    • Mindy says:

      Yay, Jenna! I’m so excited for you :-) Yes, definitely just take it a day at a time. I know that the whole concept of sourdough can be very overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. But once you get your starter established, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. And I would be more than happy to help you with any questions that come up.

  7. lisa says:

    I use a coffee filter, secured by a rubber band, to cover my starter. I’ve done plain water, pineapple juice, and raisin water methods. My experience was the best with the raisin water, but like you said, why not keep it simple. :)
    lisa recently posted.."Faux" Apple Pie (uses zucchini!) and Sourdough Pie Crust

    • Mindy says:

      Yes a coffee filter with a rubber band is another easy way to cover your starter – I’ll add that to the post. Thanks for the reminder!

      I’ve heard of people using pineapple juice and other things like that before, but I have never tried it. I just used water for my first starter and it turned out very well, so I decided to just use the water method again this time.

      Your sourdough pie crust looks very good – I will have to give it a try once I get my starter going! :-)

  8. Condo Blues says:

    Is it really this easy? My husband loves sourdough bread. I’m not as much of a fan. Also, I make bread seasonally (not so much in summer as winter.) If I start a starter, do I have to keep using it and using it or does it keep for awhile? I like the idea of sourdough bread (maybe if I make my own I’ll like it better!) but we also like variety in our homemade breads. I hope this makes sense, I haven’t finished my first gallon of coffee this AM:)
    Condo Blues recently posted..Clean + Green Giveaway

    • Mindy says:

      Once your starter is established and is going strong you are able to store your starter in the refrigerator for a week or two without using it or feeding it. I wouldn’t recommend doing this until it is at least a month old.

      If you want to store it more long term than that, (like for a whole summer), you can dehydrate the starter and store it in the freezer for several months. (You don’t need any special equipment to do this.) Once I get my starter established, I am actually going to dehydrate some of it to use as a backup, in case something disastrous happens to my starter.

      I will write a post detailing how to dehydrate a starter once I get mine to that point.

      And one of my favorite things about sourdough is actually how versatile it is. You can make tons of things (not just bread) from your starter that are absolutely delicious. Of course, you can always continue to make your regular yeasted bread in addition or in rotation to sourdough if you get tired of the sourdough.

      I hope I answered all your questions! :-) Let me know if you have any more.

  9. Jennie says:

    Thanks for this timely series! I loved your step by step pictures! Question: How thick should the mixture be? Mine is so thick it looks like dough.

    • Mindy says:

      You’re welcome, Jennie. And I’m glad you liked the pictures!

      The sourdough starter should be somewhat thick, but definitely not as firm as bread dough would be. You should be able to mix it up easily with a spoon, and you should not be able to form it into a ball. If you feel like your starter is too firm, then just decrease the amount of flour that you feed it with. If you have a kitchen scale, that is really the most accurate way to feed the starter. You can feed it a 1:1 ratio of flour to water by weight – which should be the same as 1/2 cup water (100 grams or 3.5 oz.) and 3/4 cup flour (100 grams or 3.5 oz.).

      I hope this makes sense and answers your question. Please let me know if I need to clarify anything.

      • Jennie says:

        Thanks, Mindy! I think its going OK. I actually added a wee bit more water and let it bubble an extra few hours. It seems to be working ok. I’ll let it keep working and see what happens. I always have some sort of experiment going on in my kitchen!!

  10. France says:

    Great post Mindy. I’ve been meaning to make a sour dough starter for a while. This new all natural bakery that just opened up next door is doing such a nice job that I have been a little lazy. This was the motivation I needed.
    France recently posted..Creamy Chickpea Soup with a Spicy Chili Oil

  11. Great post. I wish I could join in, but I will follow along for now to see your progress. Once I am ready to make my own starter than I can come back and reference your posts!

  12. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Mindy,
    This is a great Sourdough Starter, I just love to keep a starter on hand especially in the winter when I do more baking. I will give your starter a try. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted..Day Trips: First Monday Trade Days

  13. This is great information. Thanks so much for linking up at A Little Nosh!
    Amy @ A Little Nosh recently posted..Tastetastic Thursday #4 and a tasty dessert recipe


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