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How to Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch | Guest Post from The Duvall Homestead

Updated: May 30, 2021

Making sourdough from scratch is pretty simple and super rewarding! I love taking care of my starter so I can have fresh bread for years to come. The Duvall Homestead helped me make my first starter and has graciously allowed me to include her "How to Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch" here. Already have a starter? Learn more about caring for your sourdough starter here.

Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented so it has active and alive cultures. Making your own bread products with sourdough starter means you’ll get all the health benefits of that active bacteria, which is great for gut health and just tastes amazing. Learn how to make sourdough starter and all my tips for maintaining those healthy cultures.


Making sourdough is the process of fermented the flour grain with flour and water over time. This process creates those healthy live cultures and allows the good bacteria to overcome the grain. When this happens, the phytic acid is striped away from the grain, which minimizes the gluten content. This is why many people prefer to eat sourdough or better yet keep their own starter, so they can enjoy bread products that taste better and are healthier for your too. Source

We started making sourdough starter when we realized how easy it was, how much healthier it is for you, and how much better it tastes!

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I’m sharing this recipe with my friend Shannon from Shannon Torrens Simple Living. She is posting her Simple Sourdough Pancakes recipe, so be sure to check that out while you’re making your starter!


Sourdough starter is made by mixing flour and water and letting it sit. This allows the creation of live cultures and good bacteria, which then feed off of the sugar in the gluten. As you continue to feed and take care of your starter, you will have a strong culture of bacteria that are strong enough to make bread rise. A sourdough starter can kept alive for years to come if given proper care.


When you feed your starter with flour and water, the live cultures are feeding off the sugar in the gluten. As they do this, something called phytic acid is being reduced. This is the acid that exists on non-fermented grains that can make grain difficult to digest.

This goes for all fermented foods like fermented milk kefir, soaked oats, sauerkraut, etc.


While this process takes about a week, don’t let it scare you. You’re just adding more flour and water each day to feed the starter. Think of it like on day one you have a weak starter. On day two, the cultures are becoming stronger and more active. By day seven, you have what you call an “active” starter, which is considered strong enough now to make bread rise.




  • Day 1: Add 1 cup of flour and ¾ cup of filtered water to a glass bowl or mason jar. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cover with a tea towel and let sit on your countertop.

  • Day 2: Discard half of the starter mixture. Then, add 1 cup of flour and ¾ cup of filtered water. Cover with a tea towel and let sit on your counter.

  • Day 3: Discard half the starter, and again add 1 cup flour and ¾ – 1 cup water. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover and let sit. This time, repeat the discard and feed process twice per day (morning and night for example). You might feel like discarding the starter is wasteful and you will hate to do it. But it’s only for a week and you won’t be discarding anymore. If you really want to save the discard, you can use it for making sourdough pancakes or tortillas, because they don’t require a rise like bread. Just combine all the discard in a storable container in the fridge and pull it out when you want to make pancakes. Or try our family-favorite Sourdough Pizzelles!

  • Day 4: Repeat the twice a day discarding and feeding. Cover with a tea towel and let sit. Make sure you are using filtered water! At this point you may start to see bubbles in the starter. If not, just keep going.

  • Day 5: Repeat the twice a day discarding and feeding. Now you should start seeing a bigger, more bubbly starter.

  • Day 6 and 7: repeat. Your starter should be ready by day 7.

  • You know your starter is ready when it almost doubles in size after feeding it and is bubbly. If your starter isn’t at that point yet, don’t worry! Just continue the twice a day discarding and feeding. The temperature in your home, your water quality, and flour quality are all factors that contribute to how quickly your starter will become active. For some, it takes 12-14 days. Others it could take 5.


Tell me about your sourdough starter process in the comments! (Include what you named it, because let's be honest, you definitely named your little counter pet).


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