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How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Craving homemade, crusty, chewy sourdough bread, but don't have a sourdough starter culture to bake with? No problem! It is actually quite easy to make your own sourdough starter! Follow this recipe to transform three simple ingredients – water, flour, and apple – into an active and bubbly sourdough starter. You'll be baking in no time!
Prep Time30 mins
Fermenting Time7 d
Course: Sourdough
Keyword: Sourdough Starter
Servings: 1 sourdough starter culture
Cost: $10

Equipment

  • Large, glass, air-tight container (2 liter or half-gallon)
  • Kitchen scale

Ingredients

  • 500 grams organic bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 360 mL filtered water, room-temperature
  • 1 large organic apple (or 2 small apples)

Instructions

  • Wash your apple, but avoid using soaps or produce wash. Using a cheese grater, grate the organic apple into semi-fine shreds. Use the skins, but discard the core.
  • Add the called-for flour, grated apple, and water to a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine.
  • Transfer the mixture into a large glass airtight container that has enough room for it to at least double in size, minimum. (Ours usually quadruples while fermenting) Pack the mixture down into the bottom of the container. Close the lid.
  • To monitor growth, mark the side of your container with a washable marker or rubber band at the top level of the mixture.
  • Let the mixture sit for 3 days at a temperature of 70-75 degrees F. It should bubble and rise during this time.
  • After approximately 72 hours, thoroughly stir the mixture and then discard half of the amount. Then, thoroughly mix in another 250 grams of flour and 170 mL of tepid filtered water to the remaining starter mixture. This is called "feeding" the sourdough starter. You can do this either in a separate bowl, and put it back into a now-clean ferment vessel, or like we do, mix it in place.
  • Re-mark the container to note the height of the mixture. Let sit at 70-75 degrees, for 2 days or 48 hours this time.
  • After 48 hours, repeat the same discard and feed process as done previously. Discard half, feed, mix, mark the level, and cover again.
  • Allow the sourdough starter mixture to sit for a final 24 hours.
  • Once complete, you now have a happy and active sourdough starter! Store it in the refrigerator when not in use, giving it a discard and feed weekly. OR if stored at room temperature, feed it daily to keep it alive.

Notes

Troubleshooting tips, if the starter does not regain activity after feeding:
  • If there is no activity, let it sit another day or two.
  • If your starter has risen and fallen, or, if seems to not rise after the first discard and feed, and instead it has a dark liquid formed on top (called hooch), it may actually be overly active and hungry! Stir in a little more flour (and warm water as needed, if it becomes too thick and dry) and let it sit again. Wait a day or two to see if it perks up and begins to rise and bubble.
  • If your home is cold, try to find a warmer spot if possible!
  • If the starter doesn’t rise at all after the first discard and feed, try opening the lid of your jar. Cover it with a coffee filter or something else that will prevent fruit flies or other debris from getting inside inside.
  • Another troubleshooting tip is to feed with half whole wheat or rye flour, which usually enhances activity.
  • Ensure that you use an organic apple.