Simple low waste Sourdough Starter

Are you looking to bake bread with phenomenal taste? Are you looking for those beautiful bubbles in your crumb?  The solution to both searches is here.  Sourdough bread, or rather sourdough started bread.

Active dry yeast and instant yeast are fine for good bread.  For great bread you need to use live yeast.  This recipe, if fed and kept alive will be a low cost, simple solution to great tasting home baked bread.

This can be used in baking everyday sandwich loaves, to baking the most awesome artisan loaves, brioches, and even croissants, fruit, and other flavoured loaves.

All it takes is a little time each day, and a warm dry place for your starter to start.

The key to great sourdough starter is the feeding regimen.  Feeding is simply the act of adding flour, water, and discarding of excess starter. It is imperative the starter is fed on a regularly scheduled basis, though being within the hour is not so important, and feedings can be skipped.  For instance, consider you are out late and you don’t get around to feeding the starter until 2 a.m. instead of 9 p.m..  There is no rule saying you can’t skip the 2 a.m. feeding and feed at 9 a.m. or feed at 2 a.m. and skip the 9 a.m. feeding.  So it is not so important to feed that you can’t go out and party.

I name my starter.  I find if I personify my starter I am less likely to forget to feed it.  I get up, have a smoke, take care of my ablutions, put on a pot of coffee, and while I wait I feed and whip “Roger.”

By whip I mean, stir the crap out of it.  Water, Flour, and aeration are the steps to creating great yeast.  I’ll let you google the science of sourdough starter.  It is fascinating.

This recipe is a lot of repetition.  Add, stir, repeat….

Simple, low waste Sourdough Starter
Prep Time
1 min

This is a simple, low waste sourdough starter, made with fruit juice for a quick start to the yeast production process.

Course: Breads
Cuisine: any
Author: John Winslow
Initial Starter
  • 3 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3 tbsp Fruit Juice *See Note
Starter Feeding
  • 3 tbsp White Flour
  • 2 tbsp Filtered Water *See Note
  • 2 tbsp Sourdough Starter
Initial Starter
  1. Day 1 a.m.: Combine and stir well, 3 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour and 3 tbsp of fruit juice.  Cover with a loose cover and store in a dry warm location.

    Day 1 p.m.: Remove from dark location, remove cover and stir well. Replace cover and put back in the dark.

  2. Day 2: a.m. and p.m.: Remove lid, stir vigorously, replace cover and return to the dark.

  3. Day 3 a.m.: Remove cover, stir well, add 3 tbsp of whole wheat flour and 2 tbsp of filtered water.  Stir vigorously, replace cover, and return to dark location.

    Day 3 p.m.: Now the fun begins.  Remove and discard all but 2 tbsp of starter.  Starter can be put in compost, so there is no waste.  Combine 3 tbsp of All purpose flour, 2 tbsp of filtered water, and 2 tbsp of starter.  Stir vigorously to aerate starter and combine ingredients.  Clean the walls of jar well, place an elastic band around the jar at the level of the starter. Replace cover and return to dark, warm location.

  4. On day 4 you should notice the starter is bubbling a bit, and may be rising a little.  If not, don't fret, keep going.  Some starters are slow developers.

    Day 4 a.m.: Discard all but 2 tbsp of starter.  Combine 3 tbsp of All purpose flour, 2 tbsp of filtered water, and 2 tbsp of starter. Stir vigorously to aerate starter and combine ingredients. Clean the walls of jar well, place an elastic band around the jar at the level of the starter. Replace cover and return to dark, warm location.

    Day 4 p.m.: Repeat.

  5. Days 5-12: Repeat the day 4 process twice a day until day 11 or 12. Your starter should be at least doubling in size between each feeding.  If not, try finding a warmer spot to store your starter.  In the oven with the light on is good, but be sure to wrap the jar in a towel to keep out the light, and don't forget your starter is in there when you turn on the oven to preheat.

  6. Day 12 a.m.: Repeat process.

    You now have a juvenile sourdough starter that is good to be used to bake bread, make pancakes, or whatever.  It won't be mature for several weeks, but it is now safe to feed once a day and store in the refrigerator.  If you don't use the starter right away, that's fine.  Simply remember to feed it daily.

    See notes for instructions for using sourdough starter.

Recipe Notes
  • Fruit Juice:  I have found that the Ph levels in Pineapple, orange, and apple juice are all about the same.  I use apple juice to start m starter.  Feel free to use whatever you have on hand, just ensure the juice is pure fruit juice, not from concentrate, and no sugar added.  Puritans can use plain old everyday water if the so choose. It may take a day or three longer for the starter to start to double between feedings.
  • Filtered Water:  I use well water filtered using a Brita Water Filter.  Some schools of thought say to use bottled water, and to not use CITY tap water due to the chlorination levels in city water.  Others say, "If it safe enough to drink, it is safe enough to make sourdough starter."  I fall in between.  Filtered water or bottled water?  Either or.  Chlorinated water doesn't make sense to me.  The goodies required to start yeast are the same goodies killed by chlorination.  Many have told me they get great results by filling the kettle the night before, then use the water in the morning.  Chlorine dissipates when the water is sitting exposed to air.  If it works....  Go for it.
  • Using Juvenile or Mature Sourdough Starter: You can start increasing the amount of flour, water and starter you feed with.  I will start fattening "Roger" up on day 8 or nine.  I would like to have a cup of starter on hand at all times.  Each time you use the starter you need to ensure you save 2 or 3 tablespoons so you can replenish your starter.  It only takes a day in the fridge for the starter to be ready to go again.  You can split off at any time and have 2 starters on hand.  This is epecially good if you are baking a lot of sourdough breads.

Mature Sourdough Starter





  1. […] your sourdough starter is ready to go and you’re excited to bake your first loaf of sourdough bread.  I was. So […]