If you have flour & water, and an arm that can move in a circle – then you can make a sourdough starter. My method is a no-brainer, non-geek formula. (I love bread geeks, mind you) But for this starter – let’s just make it as simple and as fast as possible. Having said that, there are a million ways to make a starter. If you see methods that take longer or feed more often – that’s ok! That way is ok, and my way is ok. It will work.
The method and ratios are below the video.
Sourdough Starter in 6 days (or around thereabouts)
Think 2, 2, and 2.
Mix your flour & water and leave alone – for 2 days.
Feed your starter once a day – for 2 days.
Feed your starter twice a day – for 2 days.
Determine if you’re ready to bake or if it needs another day or two with feedings twice a day.
In a tub or a bowl that has a lid, mix together your trio of flours to make your starter. This will be your flour mix and it’s easier to do it all at once than separately for each feeding.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rye flour
DAY 1: Place a jar on your scale and weigh in 50g flour mix (1/3 C) and 50g water (1/4 C). Stir to combine, scraping down edges and putting a rubber band around the jar at the level of the mix. Cover with a lid (loosely) and set aside someplace warm. Ideally around 70-75F. Not much warmer than that though, don’t want it too warm. Leave the mixture alone for 2 days (today and tomorrow).
Day 2: Simply checking in on your starter. Look for a few bubbles around the edges. They’ll be super small. Maybe a few on the surface. It will smell pasty but hopefully a tiny bit fruity, and you may have a bit of rise from your rubber band mark. If not, that’s fine.
Day 3: Feed your starter 1 time today with a ratio of 1:2:2. That’s 1 part starter to 2 parts water and 2 parts flour mix. How’s it coming along? Any bubbles? Does it smell a bit more fruity or beer like? You might have gotten a bit of rise, and if so, it collapsed and may look kind of soupy. This is normal. Stir down your starter. Place a clean empty jar on the scale and weigh in 25g starter (2 Tbsp), then 50g (ml) water (1/4 C), and 50g flour mix (1/3 C). Stir, put on the rubber band. Set aside until tomorrow.
Day 4: Feed your starter 1 time today with a ratio of 1:2:2. Just like you did on Day 3. Any rise or activity? Hopefully so but if your kitchen is on the cool side, this will take a little longer. Keep at it.
Day 5: Feed your starter twice today with a ratio of 1:3:3. That’s 25g starter, 75g water (1/3 C), 75g flour (2/3 C). Try to feed it about 10-12 hours apart (ideally) and make sure to stir down your starter before adding it to the clean jar. Is it getting more bubbly? Smelling more fruity or like beer, or nutty? Check your starter about 5 or 6 hours after the 1st feed. Did it rise? Maybe even double? If it didn’t, it’s ok. Keep at it.
Day 6: Feed your starter twice today with a ratio of 1:3:3. Just like you did on Day 5. Check again after the 1st feed like you did yesterday, it will eventually rise by double, even triple after a feeding.
Day 7: Time to evaluate and determine if it’s ready to bake. Maybe this morning it has still maintained a bit of a rise “or build”. If so, you can try a float test, but don’t stir it. Carefully dip into the starter with a spoon and pull off a small section, about a tsp or less. With a wet finger, gently push off the little dab into a glass or bowl of water. Does it float? If it does – it’s ready to use. If it sinks, then do another feed this morning at a 1:3:3 and another feed tonight at 1:3:3. Re-evaluate tomorrow to see how it’s going. Worst case – it will take 10 days or so but it WILL definitely develop and become active. Have faith!