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How To Make A Successful Sourdough Starter From Scratch

127+ Year Old Recipe For A Sourdough Starter

Okay here we go! If I can do this anyone can do this, and let me just say I managed to ruin my first try, by not following the family directions, and managed to turn it in to a form of alcohol i think. It was brutal. I cried, yep cried and threw it away, felt so defeated, but I am not a quiter and I started over. This time I decided to use the 127+ year old recipe with a twist of my grandmothers and WOW it has been just incredible and I totally felt/feel so proud of myself for not giving up and for getting it right!

Items you will want to use for this exciting science experiment πŸ™‚

Large Pot – Any pot will do just make sure it can cook 2/3 potatoes.

Great for boiling eggs to cooking spaghetti noodles

Large or Medium Mason Jar with Lid mine is Large

Cutest Mason Jar Ever with Lid

Rubber or Wooden Spatulas

Large Plastic or Glass Bowls

Flat Square Scale that can weigh in grams

Small Bowls to weigh flour and water in.

These are perfect

It’s really important you have a great healthy flour, not the stuff you find at Walmart, but unbleached, organic. Your sourdough really does need great flour if you can. You can buy it in bulk at local realty places some times and definitely at amazon in bulk.

There are affiliate links on here, if you click on them and make a purchase, at NO additional costs to you I will make a small commission.

Sourdough Starter

This was like to do a very rewarding science experient! I felt so accomplished when I successfully did it!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, lunch, Main Course, Snack, Soup
Keyword sourdough, sourdough start, sourdough starter
Prep Time 1 day
any where from 4-9 days is normal but it can go longer if needed 7 days
Total Time 8 days
Author Auntie Em


  • Large Mason Jar (i use one that can hold up to 8/10 cups) With lid
  • Put a couple holes in the lid for breathing
  • Rubber/Wood Spatula NO METAL
  • Large Plastic/Glass Bowl (NO METAL)- I mean Large, like could hold 2 bags of popcorn just incase your starter decides to become a massive growing monster like mine did πŸ™‚
  • Large pot for boiling
  • Flat square scale for weighing (more info below) that can weigh in grams
  • Small Glass or plastic bowls to weigh water and flour in


  • 2 Cups Boiled Potato Water Yes you heard correctly, clean two potatoes and boil them in water for the normal amount of time it takes to boil potatoes soft enough to mash. More details below…
  • 2 Cups Good Flour Details on Flour above
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • a pinch of Yeast
  • more good flour day 3 and on
  • water day 3 and on


Day 1

  • Step 1 – Cook those potatoes! Put two potatoes in the water and boil them until they are cooked enough that you could mash them up and eat them. (and yes you can eat them later) SAVE THE COOKED POTATO WATER you need it. The point of the potato water is it creates is own awesome natural yeast.
    Potato Water
  • Step 2 – Put two cups of the potato water in to a very larg plastic/glass bowl NOT METAL. I have you put it in a bowl and not a jar because if your ends up like mine it grows crazy fast the first day. Its like a monster came alive. If yours doesn't do this its okay!
  • Step 3 – Add 2 cups of really good flour (ideas of good flour above)
  • Step 4 – Add 1 Tsp Sugar
  • Step 5 – Add a 1 pinch of yeast (you don't need lots of store bought yeast, because the potato water naturally produces an awesome natural yeast, this is why we use the potato water)
  • Step 6 – Stir it all together really well with a plastic/wooden spatula BY HAND but stir really well.
  • Step 7 – Let it sit in the bowl for a few hours
    Starter Is growing
  • Step 8 – Add 2 Tbls of flour and stir really well again.
  • Step 9 – Let sit over night, you can lightly cover it with a plastic bag or super thin hand towel

When to move starter to the bowl

  • Okay if your starter has calmed way down, gone back down, and will easily fit in your jar you can transfer it from the bowl to the jar. If you think it might have another big reacation, leave the starter in the bowl another day or two.

Day 2

  • At the same time as yesterday or about the same time, Stir well and let it sit for another day

Day 3

  • Step 1 – Get out your new flat scale and a small bowl to put on the scale. Make sure once you put the bowl on the scale you hit reset so the scale is showing zero grams even with the bowl on it. You only want it measuring the water or flour not the bowl.
  • Step 2 – Pour 170 grams of your starter out (of your bowl/jar its been sitting in the last few days) and pour it into the bowl on the scale. If you go over 170 use a plastic spoon to take some out and put it back with the starter. You only want to pour out 170 grams.
  • Step 3 – Now you are going to throw away the 170 grams you just poured out! Yes, throw it away. It's not ready.
  • Step 4 – Okay we need to now replace what you just threw away.
  • Step 5 – Put a small bowl on your scale, reset scale to zero, add to the bowl on the scale 85 grams of purified water. Once you have exactly 85 grams pour the water into your starter.
  • Step 6 – Put a new dry small bowl on your scale, reset scale to zero, add to the bowl on the scale 85 grams of good flour. Once you have exactly 85 grams scoop the flour into your starter.
  • Step 7 – Now mix it all together really well and lightly put the lid of the jar

Reminder – You should be able to add you starter to its Jar Now

    Day 4 – 5

    • Repeat Day 3, step by step

    Day 6

    • The Float test – Before you start Day 3's step do the float test. If your dough floats you are ready for baking and now you can move on to our "how to care for your Starter" page. See link below.
    • The way to do the float test is as follows. 1- fill a glass with purified water, 2- drop 1/4 of your starter or less into the water. If it sinks to the bottom, your starter isn't ready yet, and repeat Day 3's steps, but maybe add .5 grams to your water and flour daily mixture, to replace what you waisted in the water. If it floats you are good to go! Start baking baby, you're all set!
    • If your starter isn't ready no worries, DON'T GIVE UP! Keep going it will get there, when it gets there.

    Day 7 and On….

    • Repeat the Float test on Day 6, if it fails the float test then repeat Day 3's steps
    • Just keep doing this until it floats even a little πŸ™‚

    Once your starter is ready give him or her a name πŸ™‚ Mine is Honey buns, but I call her Honey. We name the starter because then we will take better care of it and like a pet she need TLC daily πŸ™‚


      Remember to be patient, yes I hate that word too, but it is what it is, we can rush art or science and that is exactly what this is. Β When you finally get it though you will feel so dang proud of yourself!
      To learn how to care for your starter from here on out click this link ” How to care for your starter”

      Well I will tell you right now this recipe is amazing and definitely very old school. It has been in the family over 127 years and is very unique which is why it works so good. Your Sourdough will have a sweet beer, smell or a warm wet yeast smell with a sour smell with it. This is how you want it to smell.

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      Written by Auntie Em

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