Happy Birthday, Eleanor (How to Make a Sourdough Starter)

one year old sourdough starter

Click here to go straight to the recipe

Updated 04/19/20

one year old sourdough starter
Eleanor’s 1st birthday party

A year ago I wondered if Eleanor would make it to this day.

I had baked with a couple of other sourdough starters before Eleanor came along, and I thought they exhibited fundamental flaws—they lacked vigor, they smelled too acidic, they produced lackluster loaves. As I’ve come to realize over this past year, the flaws in fact lay with me and my feedings, not with those previous starters. Just as with a child—a parent’s teacher—I have learned so much over this past year of baking with Eleanor.

A short history of sourdough

The emergence of grain agriculture gave rise to the earliest empires. The stability and storability of dry grains made possible unprecedented potential for accumulating wealth and building political power…Failures of grain crops have toppled governments and sparked revolutions. — Sandor Katz, The Art of Fermentation

A true sourdough bread begins with the wild yeast in a starter. This starter culture contains the bacteria and yeasts that ferment the dough and transform flour and water into a delicious loaf of bread. The microbes live together in a symbiotic relationship, each taking and contributing something different to the starter culture and working together to ward off invading, bad microbes. These beneficial microbes are in the flour, in the air and in and on our bodies. Add water to the flour, and you revive the dormant microbes present there.

People had made bread this way for about 6000 years until the introduction of commercial yeast around 200 years ago. Commercial yeast speeds up production and results in consistent, yet less nutritious—and in my opinion, less delicious—loaves.

Benefits of sourdough

  • Fermentation predigests grains, which reduces the amount of gluten in the dough.*
  • Fermentation eliminates some of the peptides indicated in gluten intolerance.**
  • Sourdough has a lower glycemic index than refined carbs, resulting in a slower releases of glucose into the bloodstream and less of an insulin spike.
  • Phytates, anti-nutrients present in grains, can bind to nutrients, making them unavailable for the body’s absorption. Fermentation breaks these bonds and makes the nutrients bioavailable.*** So, I’ve known about this benefit for a while, but recently read in The Art of Fermentation that “Phytic acid reduces the availability of minerals not only in the food that contains phytic acid, but in other foods being digested at the same time” (Katz, p. 211). Holy smokes!
  • Sourdough bread keeps longer than industrial bread and mold doesn’t develop on the crust. My bread stays fresh for a week (unless we’ve gobbled it all up).
  • It tastes delicious! Sourdough literally makes your mouth water, preparing your body for digestion.

How to make and nurture a sourdough starter

(Go here for a more recent post on starting a smaller sourdough starter.)

If you get your hands on an established starter, you can begin with that. I enjoyed the process of starting from scratch, however, even with all the bumps along the road. I follow Michael Pollan’s recipe in his wonderful book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

Start a sourdough starter following these three simple steps:

  1. Combine 100 grams flour and 100 grams water
  2. Stir daily whenever you think of it
  3. Once you see activity (i.e., bubbling), begin to feed the starter regularly
1. Combine flour and water

Use a glass or ceramic vessel for your mixing and storing your starter. Ferments, which are acidic, will react with plastic or metal. I prefer to use a vessel with a wide mouth, which makes measuring out the perfect amount of starter easy. You don’t have to sterilized the container or your equipment. Just make sure you clean everything well.

Measure flour. Ideally, I mix inside a giant container, equal parts whole wheat and white flours to speed up the process of regular feedings. I then measure out my 100 grams of flour. When I run out of my half-and-half flour mix, which happens more often than not, I measure out 50 grams of each on my scale. I highly recommend a kitchen scale if plan on baking regularly. Flour measured by volume varies by weight.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, measure out a generous 2/3 cup of flour.

You can use 100 grams of white flour. I imagine that will result in a airier starter and loaf but whole wheat contains more nutrients. I buy my flour in bulk in glass jars or cloth bags to reduce waste.

Warm up water. You want it warm, not hot—about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I drink a lot of tea, so I usually feed my starter while I’m heating water for tea. Measure out 100 grams (100 ml).

Typically, I use filtered water for my ferments but it’s often unnecessary. Chlorine kills microbes—bad and good. If you can smell chlorine in your water, fill a vessel the day before you make sourdough or any other ferment, let the container sit exposed to the air and the chlorine with dissipate.

Stir flour and water together with a fork or your fingers. Scrape down the sides of the container and place a plate or cloth over top. You want some air circulation so don’t use plastic wrap (I banned if from my kitchen years ago and life has continued). Your starter with have the consistency of thick pancake batter. I have read about some bakers leaving this open to the air but I worry about bugs landing in it so I cover it.

flour and water
Flour and water
2. Stir daily whenever you think about it

Keep your starter in a warm but not hot spot. Over the next few days, stir it a few times a day or any time you think of it. The stirring will help prevent mold from forming on top. It also injects air into the mixture, which encourages the microbes to proliferate.

In a few days, if all goes well, you will see bubbling. Those bubbles mean that the dormant microbes in your flour have revived and will set to work transforming your mixture into a living culture, filled with good bacteria and yeasts. Your starter may smell sweet, fruity or sour, or a combination of these.

3. Once you see activity (i.e., bubbling), begin to feed the starter regularly

My starters begin bubbling after a couple of days, but it can take a week. To feed the starter, you need to discard about 80 percent of it (but don’t throw it out!). Mix another 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of warm water with the remaining two or three tablespoons of starter. After about five days to a week of feeding your starter regularly (daily or even twice a day), you can use it in recipes.

mature starter after 3 meals
Starter ready for baking

As with other ferments, like kombucha, yogurt, kefir and so on, to keep the culture alive, you add a bit from the previous batch to fresh ingredients. This adds some live cultures to the new batch of starter.

Some bakers swear that you must feed your starter twice daily, at 12-hour intervals. Sandor Katz says every two or three days will suffice, but prefers once-a-day feedings. I usually keep my starter in the refrigerator. Before I bake my bread, I pull out my starter and feed it three times, at 12-hour intervals. If I won’t bake that week, I feed it once and return it to the fridge.

The Sourdough Baker’s Dilemma

Right about now, you may be thinking, “I will discard huge volumes of starter if I bake regularly.” Welcome to the I-refuse-to-throw-out-discard-and-must-use-every-last-spoonful club. I have a few solutions:

sourdough from fridge
My starter from the refrigerator after I let it warm up for a couple of hours
  • Find someone on whom you can unload your starter. In the US and Canada, search for willing adopters on Craigslist. In the UK and Australia, check out Gumtree.

If you can recommend a good recipe that calls for discarded starter, please let me know! I feel like the sorcerer’s apprentice, deluged with starter. If you have something great for fresh starter, I’d love to hear about that too.

I’ll leave you with a crumb shot.

crumb shot

Carlo G. Rizzello et al. and Maria De Angelis et al.

** Michael Pollan, Cooked, p. 229.

*** Joseph A. Maga.

Sourdough Starter 

(Go here for a more recent post on starting a smaller sourdough starter.)

If you get your hands on an established starter, you can begin with that and feed as directed below.


  • 50 grams whole wheat flour
  • 50 grams white flour
  • 100 grams warm water


1. Combine flour and water in a glass or ceramic vessel. Use a utensil or your fingers. The starter will have the consistency of thick pancake batter. Cover with a cloth, or slightly ajar plate or lid. Set in a warm but not hot spot.

2. Stir daily whenever you think of it.

3. After a few days to a week, when you see bubbling, feed your starter. Discard about 80 percent of it (store the discard in the refrigerator for later). Mix another 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of warm water with the remaining two or three tablespoons of starter. After about five days to a week of feeding your starter regularly (daily or even twice a day), you can use it in recipes.

4. Once you have a ready-to-use starter, either store it on the kitchen counter and feed at regular intervals (once a day) or store it in the refrigerator and feed it once a week, at which time you will bring it to room temperature, feed and let ferment for a couple of hours before returning to the refrigerator.

78 Replies to “Happy Birthday, Eleanor (How to Make a Sourdough Starter)”

  1. Back when I found time to keep my starter going, I ate these pancakes every morning, because I loved them so. Keeping enough starter to make a couple of loaves provided just enough discard for the pancake.

    A most wonderful birthday to you, Eleanor!

    1. Thank you, Aggie. Those look great and I’ll give them a try. I should be able to use up quite a lot of starter. I see you make the Tartine recipe as well. So delicious. I recently bought the Tartine cookbook (the first one he wrote, I think).

      1. I have the first one too. Took a couple of tries, but I have made the best bread I have ever tasted with that recipe.

        The only thing I would change about the pancake recipe is that I did fork mix the eggs before adding starter.

        I used to make biscuits daily, also, for me and the farm helper who love them also. I used equal parts starter and flour, and unfortunately didn’t preserve my recipe, but I used proportions similar to the ones given here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/golden-sourdough-biscuits

      2. It took me more than a couple of tries but I can now turn out consistently good loaves. Thanks for the biscuit recipe. Those sounds delicious. Sourdough and buttermilk go so well together.

      3. Oh, that was literary,not literal! I had a few tries, and produced one great pair of loaves, but haven’t yet tried to get consistent. 😉

      4. Ah, okay, that’s how it was for me at first…for months 🙂

    2. Jane Johnson says: Reply

      Which day did you count as the birthday? The day you started Eleanor (is she still going?) or the day she started bubbling with the wild yeast? My starter’s name is Wesley Crusher.

      1. Hi Jane,
        I’ve wondered what the date should be also. I’ve dated it to her conception but she was only water and flour then. When she had her first bubbles, she might have been an infant or maybe still an embryo. Or is Eleanor’s birthday the first day she rose up super bubbly? That might mark adulthood. I’m not sure. I should do a poll on this on Instagram. Yes, Eleanor is still alive and well! Welcome to the world, Wesley Crusher. Live long and prosper 🙂
        ~ Anne Marie

  2. I’ve had a starter for several years now that a friend shared with me. I feed it when I pull it out of the fridge to use it – it’s rare I need to discard any, unless I’ve let it sit too long between feedings. They react quite well to being neglected.

    1. Do you not end up with a pile of starter after feeding though? I take out a small amount of starter (20%), feed it and then have 80% left over. I use that to bake something other than bread. If I didn’t use the discard, it would pile up in the fridge.

  3. I love that you threw a little party for your precious one-year old 🙂 Maybe I will do the same with mine, which is barely 4 weeks old.
    I would love to repost your post on my blog (it’s german, though), with your permission.
    all the best,

    1. Thank you Frederike 🙂 My kids now think I’m completely nuts. Yes, please feel free to reblog! Good luck with your starter. Isn’t it fun?

      1. hehe 🙂 It is fun indeed! After having baked my 4th bread today, I think my bread needs a lot of improvement still. It is kind of gum-like, tastes okay though. Much to learn! 🙂 I put your post on my blog, thanks for letting me do this (my first reblog <3).

      2. I baked mine for months before I became confident that I could produce a consistently good loaf. You’re right, so much to learn! I recently proofed mine overnight in the fridge and my loaves sprung up in the oven more than ever before BUT I also increased the amount of water I used. I think the refrigeration is responsible for the good results but there are so many variables involved, I can’t say for sure. Thanks so much for the reblog. Enjoy your sourdough adventures 🙂

  4. This is so exciting! The Alchemy or is it the chemistry of food is just awesome! I had no idea that the fermentation process breaks down the gluten. Yay! I have an slight gluten intolerence and have been contemplating making my own bread (gluten free). The pictures look great, love the bubbling action photo 🙂 Happy Birthday to Eleanor!

    1. Thank you! I agree, I find the science behind food fascinating, and the bubbling action so exciting once it kicks in. The starter is alive!

      I was also really happy when I read about fermentation reducing the amount of gluten in the dough. I think a big problem with the Western (now global) diet is its dearth of gut-friendly fermented foods. We used to eat more of them but fortunately they are currently enjoying a revival. Good luck with your bread baking if you decide to make some. Homemade bread goes so well with ghee 😉

      1. Is there a way to make this completely gluten free? I am very sensitive to even small trace amounts of gluten.

      2. I have never tried it but Cultures for Health (a wonderful resource) has at least one recipe for gluten-free sourdough recipe on its site: https://www.culturesforhealth.com/gluten-free-brown-rice-sourdough-bread-recipe

      3. Thank you! I am looking forward to trying it out soon!

      4. You’re welcome 🙂

  5. I have had my levain/sourdough for almost 11 years, don’t have a name for it (?) but always feel she/he is part of the family. I never have any levain leftover, I keep a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) in the fridge and bake weekly (exceptionally it may stay there for two weeks or more and I then just pour out the black juice at the surface…) as the more it is asked to reproduce the more vigorous it gets ! I get it out of the fridge feed it water and flour (increase tenfold or so) that day and water and flour again the next morning and put that couple of tablespoons away then.
    I make wraps on a cast iron flat pan with liquid levain to which I add salt, nigella seeds, thin slivers of chilli and spring onions, they keep well and freeze well too. We use them fresh as wraps or also reheat them on the pan with nice stuff : cheese, fried eggs, you name it, or use them as pizza base.
    There is a great recipe for delicious sourdough spelt crackers on Bojon Gourmet which we now make (we add poppy and chia seeds to that recipe) http://www.bojongourmet.com/2009/09/spelty-sourdough-crackers.html that will use up any extra stuff you have !

    1. Wow, that’s almost as old as my daughter! I hope I can keep mine going for another 10 years. I did the math and I think we both feed the starter about the same amount of flour. How much levain do you add to your dough? I am going to try your wraps right now while I cook dinner. I love that I can freeze them. The crackers look delicious too. Mine are similar but I would like to try them with spelt as suggested in the recipe. I like the sound of poppy and chia seeds too, both of which I have. Thank you for the ideas 🙂

      1. At the minute each bread batch I am making is round 4–6 kg of pretty loose dough of which about one third is levain, I mix quickly (about 2 minutes, spelt does not like to be mixed too much at first as its gluten is rather more fragile than wheat’s) without salt, leave for a while (one hour ? more ?) and then add salt, I aim to knead a few times after that and bake the next morning as there is a cold enough room in this season to let the whole thing overnight safely without overflowing.
        I do hope the wraps worked out well for you, I may post a recipe soon of the wraps and their uses, not quite enough light these days for appetizing photographs…

      2. That’s similar to what I do. I’ve found the cold proof results in better loaves. Plus it gives me a little break because I don’t bake them until the next day.

        I got distracted and didn’t try the wraps that night 🙁 I think I burnt something…some slight disaster in the kitchen diverted my attention (I’m embarrassed by my scattered brain these days…). I will have to try them though. They sound perfect for using my starter. I have lots.

      3. I’ll aim to entice you by making a nice post about them. Love your scattered creative brain !

      4. Thank you! Describing my brain as creative makes me feel much, much better about the situation 🙂 I look forward to your post!

  6. I started up my sourdough again about 3 weeks ago. I keep it in a 1.5 liter flip-top jar (no rubber seal so the gas still leaks out but keeps the gnats from going in) on the counter and feed it once every day or two (1-1.5T sugar, ~.5-.75C bread flour and same of warm water). I’ve made 1 batch of 10 rolls and 1 of 20, and my house kinda slows things down with its chill, so I haven’t had to throw any out yet. I used to keep it in the fridge, but I forgot about it for a while (cough-over-a-year-cough) and was thankfully able to resurrect it. I plan to make bread for me and my sister who goes away to college about once a week and I hope to make loaf bread for my family for sandwiches (mom has gluten-sensitivity due to Crohn’s, so sourdough would be better for her), especially now that I’ve really nailed down why I had issues in the past (dough was way too dry to rise).

    1. Wow, over a year?! I knew sourdough was resilient but I didn’t realize just how resilient! That’s great. You learn so much when you bake this way. I have been keeping notes as I go along and it took my a while to figure out just what works best and I’m still learning with every batch. Sounds like I had one of the same problems as you, not enough water. Since I increased the amount of water in the dough, it has turned out much better. I haven’t tried adding sugar. Someone else told me she adds raisins to hers. It’s so fun to experiment. I try to keep the number of new variables low though so I can figure out what is responsible for a loaf turning out (or not). A couple of weeks ago I increased the amount of water and did an overnight proofing in the fridge. The bread turned out so well. But was it the cold proof or the extra water??? (I think the cold proof.) Nice of you to bake for your family 🙂 They must really love it. My neighbor can’t tolerate wheat but she said she can eat this without any problems. Happy baking 🙂

  7. I’m inspired to give this another try Anne Marie. I got some starter over a year ago and haven’t fed it in probably 7 months! It’s probably goo in the back of my fridge by now. Thanks for reminding me!

    1. That’s great, Karen! Someone else on here told me she neglected her starter for over a year! I wish I had tried baking this way long ago, but better late than never. The bread is just so delicious and beautiful too.

  8. Is it necessary to use white flour?

    1. That’s a really good question. I don’t think so but I haven’t tried making a starter with 100% whole wheat. I follow Michael Pollan’s recipe and the bread itself calls for 25% white flour, 65% whole wheat, 15% rye (so a greater non-white:white ratio than the starter). Pollan bases his recipe on Chad Robertson’s of Tartine Bakery. I haven’t looked at Robertson’s cookbook “Tartine Book No 3” but it includes whole-wheat versions of his recipes. So there must be a whole-wheat version of this recipe in there. I would rather bake 100% whole wheat bread, but the flour is heavy and some white flour mixed in results in a better rise. At least that’s been my experience with bread baked with commercial yeast. I’ll have to check out Tartine #3 🙂

      1. I have been making a 100% whole wheat loaf with commercial yeast that I like, but would like to explore sour dough, and was wondering if 100% whole wheat was even possible. I will check out his book!

  9. Happy Birthday Eleanor 🙂 Great party photo of her dressed up with all her fermenting friends!

    I’m aiming to write a blog post this weekend about my fermenting efforts so far, which have been largely inspired by your descriptions. You’ve made it sound so do-able! Is it ok if I link to some of your posts?

    And I second Aggie’s vote for pancakes. I tried this recipe which looks similar to hers http://gnowfglins.com/2010/04/14/guest-post-whole-grain-sourdough-waffles/ (but did pancakes not waffles) They turned out really well 🙂

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes. Yes, feel free to link to me! That would be great. I think fermenting is so do-able and simpler than a lot of (most) other cooking methods. We’ve just forgotten how to do these things. Also we’re germaphobic and think all microbes will kill us, including the good ones. Thanks for the link! I like that the recipe doesn’t require additional flour. I’ll be able to use up lots of starter.

      1. Great, thanks. Post will be another couple of days – ran out of time today!

      2. I know the feeling! I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  10. Great post Ann-Marie. Eleanor looks positively radiant on her special day! 😉 I haven’t ventured down the sourdough path yet…..maybe it’s time to take up the challenge….Djeribi’s link (Hi!) to the cracker recipe is another amazing wannado project. Thanks to ye both for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Ms W. Baking with sourdough is so much fun and endlessly fascinating (at least I think so). I love all my ferments, but this is the one I’m most proud of. I agree, those crackers look fabulous.

  11. Did you have a recipe recently for Chai tea? I made chai tea for one of the bloggers I follow and it was very good. If it was you, many thanks. I like your recipe and your good ways of reducing waste. I’ve been trying.

    1. Yes, I did post a recipe for chai! I have so many orange peels this time of year and have been finding lots of uses for them, including making tea. I’m glad you liked the recipe and my ideas for reducing waste 🙂 Thanks!

      1. Thanks very much for having posted it. I’ve had so many cups of tea out of that original batch which I brewed and kept in the fridge.

      2. You’re welcome! Thanks for giving it a try.

  12. […] of slightly varying instructions on how to make a starter, but for mine I followed advice from the zerowastechef “How to make a sourdough starter”, and also from this website “Sourdough […]

    1. Thank you, Aggie! I constantly battle the excess starter problem but your pancake recipe has been a godsend. It uses up a lot of starter and my daughter will eat the finished product 🙂

      1. I wonder how the bacteria and yeasts of starter work for the compost pile? Will look for that info as I wander the www.

      2. Hmmm, that’s a good question. Please let me know if you find out any good info.

      3. Did you know that grains used to be fermented in the field before harvest, and that this increased their protein content? Until the 1950s, wheat for human consumption in the US had to be 12% protein. Learned this yesterday watching a Bill Mollison (cofounder or permaculture) video.

  13. You can bake bread without having extra starter (to discard)! I have been baking bread every week for a year using this method: I keep a small quantity of the dough (~50g or less) after the bulk fermentation in a jar in my fridge. About a week later, I feed my starter by adding some water (~50g) and flour (~100g) to make a leaven that will rest during the night (~9h). Then I mix my dough using all of the leaven, flour and water (using a method similar to the Tartine book, with about 80% whole wheat and 20% white flour). After bulk fermentation (~3h), when I am ready to shape the dough, I keep a small piece of dough as my next starter…

    1. Wow! Your leaven must be more dough-like than my starter, with a 2:1 flour to water ratio. Is it easy to mix together smoothly? I’m going to experiment with my next batch and save a piece after the bulk fermentation. Thank you!

  14. I am really excited about starting my own starter. My mom had one for most of my life, and I was in charge of makimg the bread through my teen years. But at some point we got away from making it and I just found out she eventually had to get rid of it. Anywho, I had a question. I try to avoid any refined flour, so would I be able to use something other than white flour? Do you know of any substitutes?

    1. I gave my neighbor some starter recently and she said the same thing Adriel. Her mother always had a container of it on the kitchen counter. One of the books I love for sourdough is Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. He has another book, which I don’t have (but would like to get), called Tartine No. 3 and it’s all about whole wheat sourdough. So it can be done. I ran out of white and yesterday fed mine just whole wheat and it was just fine. In fact, it smelled great this morning. Very fruity. I do that occasionally when I run out of white. Also, for the bread itself, I use 20 percent white or a little less. I don’t like white flour either but I have trouble getting the bread to rise without adding some. Someone on Facebook asked a similiar question just last week. You can read the thread here if you like: https://www.facebook.com/ZeroWasteChef/photos/a.532757590176448.1073741828.527307870721420/767085030077035/?type=1&theater

      1. Ok thanks! We fed our starter with potato flakes and sugar, neither of which I would want to use now, haha. And the bread itself we normally made with a mix of white & wheat, but we did occasionally use only wheat & noticed the same thing, it didn’t rise & was very dense. I was thinking about that and thinking of playing around with the recipe. But I wasn’t sure about the starter, how that would be effected.

      2. I grind my own flour at home (got given a flour mill as a gift…) and use freshly ground whole grain flour at least sometimes and it works fine!! I wouldn’t worry about what you’re feeding it as long as it’s flour. I’m also super duper lazy and just pull mine from the fridge every week or two, pour off the hooch, and stir in directly “some” flour and water…it probably could be better and more active, but it’s certainly not DEAD and it does bake bread and other sourdough things okay! I’ll be using your tips to see if I can improve my technique 🙂

  15. Hi! Just to clarify, once I have discarded 80% of my starter and given its initial feed do I discard 80% of the starter each time I feed it for up to 5 days before I can make a loaf. Thanks 🙂

    1. Yes, that’s right! It’s a lot of starter but you can bake other stuff out of it. You’ll know it’s ready when it smells sour/fruity and approximately doubles in size after feeding. Mine takes about four hours to rise and fall. Let me know how it goes 🙂

      1. Thanks – I’ll let you know how it goes, so far so good, lots of bubbles and smelling fruity.

  16. […] si l’aventure vous intéresse, vous pouvez commencer ici pour le levain et ici pour le pain (en anglais) ou ici pour le levain et ici pour le pain (en […]

  17. […] Another new project that I’ve taken on is making bread; sourdough, to be exact. I love how complex the process seems, and how if I get a good starter going, I can continue to feed it into the next loaf – that cyclical recipe appeals to me somehow. The instructions I’m following are found HERE […]

  18. When I first mixed together the 50 g whole wheat flour, 50 g white flour and 100 g water, the mixture was very doughy…not really close to a thick pancake batter. Is this ok? I don’t have a scale so I was using conversion tables for g to cups online…thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Colin. It is very thick initially but that sounds like it might be a little too thick. You might want to add a tablespoon or two of water. Once the mixture starts to ferment, it does become runnier. Someone just asked me a similar question today on Facebook, so I think I better write a short post this week on conversions for sourdough. Measurements by volume won’t be as accurate as weight but they will help.

  19. Hi AM, I LOVE your bread recipe, but I’ve been having doubts about my starter…is it good enough? Should I start over, since my bread doesn’t taste very sour? The starter itself smells so strong on it’s own but the bread flavor is a VERY subtle sourdough. I was very overwhelmed when I started the starter process, got distracted and I’m afraid maybe I started feeding it too soon (it had bubbles but I think it was barely 3 days of stirring once a day)? When I did my leaven this time, I did it in the same 4-cup measuring cup you did…but in the morning it only went up to the 800 ml line (in your photo, yours was at the 1000 ml mark). Is that a sign? It’s very bubbly but I guess I have nothing to compare it to. I store it in the fridge and feed it once a week. I would start all over again but I JUST finally used up all my discard making crackers, granola, granola bars and cookies and my freezer is full. Thank for your thoughts 🙂

  20. I make crackers with my discard!! I basically do this recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-crackers-recipe (But haven’t played around very much and I’m sure better ones exist too). It uses up like a CUP of sourdough!

  21. I am having a hard time finding a scale in my local thrift shops but really want to get a starter going. Is there a measurement I could use that doesn’t require a scale? Thanks!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Sarah. After several people asked for the measurements in cups, I wrote a post with those here: https://zerowastechef.com/2016/04/06/sourdough-measurements-by-the-cup/ Enjoy your sourdough adventures! ~ Anne Marie

  22. Tanya Kefalas says: Reply

    Hi Anne Marie! Once I see activity in my starter and start to feed it regularly, do I need to occasionally stir it as I did when I began the starter? This is the second starter I have tried, the first I think I started feeding to prematurely and it never really doubled in size. 35%-50% at the max. This is day 2 of feeding my new starter (which I waited to see a little more activity before initial feeding) and it seems to be more healthy, but wanted to know if I should continue to stir during feedings. I did not with my first attempt.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Tanya, this is a great question. No, do not stir while the starter does its thing. Just let it sit and eat its fresh flour. I hope it goes well 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  23. […] Have a look at the Zero waste chef’s detailed instructions on starting a starter HERE. […]

  24. In step 3, you say save the discard in the fridge for later. At this early point in building your starter, can you use the discard in a discard recipe (eg, crackers, pancakes, etc)?

  25. Hi! Is it possible to use only white flour? Or a breadmix for a starter?

  26. Hi! I made my starter with only white flour less then 2 days ago and it’s bubbling! I will feed it today but I got a little confused about it. You said we shouldn’t discard the “discarded” part of the sourdough for obvious reasons, but then you said that we shouldn’t use the discarded part of the sourdough in recipes until at least 5 days of feeding it everyday. Then when I feed it today, should I discard the rest or keep in the fridge for recipes?

  27. Hello, can i make bread with discard sourdough too?
    Cheers from Portugal 🙂

  28. […] followed Zero Waste Chef’s steps for developing my starter. These are the measurements I use to feed my […]

Leave a Reply