Here's part 1 of my 2-part recipe for sourdough bread. It takes 4 days to make the starter, but there's really not much to it other than 'feeding' the starter once a day for about 10 days.

Chef John
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Day 1: Mix 70 grams flour and 70 grams water together in a container with a lid. Container needs to be large enough to accommodate another 70 grams water and flour. Cover loosely so gases can escape. Leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees F.

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  • Day 2: Add 70 grams flour and 70 grams water. Stir. Cover loosely and leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees.

  • Day 3: Remove half (140 grams) of the starter. Add 70 grams flour and 70 grams water. Stir. Cover loosely and leave for 24 hours at 70 degrees.

  • Day 4 through about Day 10: Repeat Step 3 each day until starter smells fruity, yeasty, and is beautifully fermented. You can test this by seeing if the mixture doubles within 2 to 3 hours of feeding.

  • Refrigerate until needed. Most people recommend you feed the starter once a month or so (Step 3).

  • To make bread using a refrigerated starter: feed it at room temperature for two days. Use your refreshed starter to make bread on the third day. Remember to set aside 140 grams of starter and feed it again before returning it to the fridge.

Chef's Notes:

The exact number of grams seen here doesn't really matter, as long as you're using exactly the same amount of flour and water, by weight.

I use gram weights for flour and water to ensure I'm using exactly the same amount for each. 700 grams of flour equals about 5 1/2 cups; 70 grams is a scant 1/2 cup. But I do recommend using a kitchen scale to measure grams.

For best results, use bottled water; chlorine can kill the yeast/bacteria. You can also use boiled, cooled water.

You can use different kinds of flour. I like half spelt and half bread flour, but this recipe will work with pretty much any combination, including all wheat flour.

Get the recipe for Chef John's Sourdough Bread.

Nutrition Facts

316 calories; 1.5 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 4 mg sodium. 63.5 g carbohydrates; 10.5 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (30)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/31/2017
I named my starter "Abreadnego" because it's going in "the firey furnace. *Ba-dum-ching!* Read More
(48)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
05/26/2020
John, am I going insane....or am I missing some secret message in your...."It takes 4 days to make the starter, but there's really not much to it other than 'feeding' the starter once a day for about 10 days." Which is it FOUR DAYS...OR TEN??? That said, if/when the starter is finally finished, are you making one loaf? Two? Three? Is there any relationship between all the starter you discarded...and the multiple loaves you COULD have made? Read More
36 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 31
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
12/31/2017
I named my starter "Abreadnego" because it's going in "the firey furnace. *Ba-dum-ching!* Read More
(48)
Rating: 5 stars
12/31/2017
I named my starter "Abreadnego" because it's going in "the firey furnace. *Ba-dum-ching!* Read More
(48)
Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2018
I did all this and my sourdough starter is a champ. Named him Lievito Corleone. Unlike some of the drier starters, this takes on a really lovely lactic/acetic balance that makes a subtly sour bread. Or maybe it's just the bacteria in my house (?). It took 10 days to be ready to bake - went through a very acetic acid period for about the next 4 days. I switched his feedings to a white whole wheat and he's happy as a bubbly clam. Thank you! Read More
(15)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/17/2018
Awesome video and no problem on the starter. On the 10th day said starter rose over double. I used bread flour and whole wheat flour and tap water. I baked a small loaf that was sooo good. My only question is how to store it. Once a day feeding if left refrigerated and once a week feeding if left unrefrigerated. What is proper technique for both? Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
02/27/2019
My start is about 4 months old now. It takes a bit of watching and getting the hang of the timing but once you do, this makes some amazing bread. The flavor is unique and changes with the timing of the rise (longer rise = more sour). I use this in Chef John's no-knead artisan in place of the commercial yeast (remove yeast, add 75g start, stir the start into the warm water before adding to the flour) and it is delicious. For feeding, i use 50g/50g flour/water (this is 1/3 cup with my flour and sifting method). Keeping a living start 24/7 eats through some flour. PS. I named mine Ichibod Grain. oh yes, i did. enjoy that. Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
04/11/2018
Today I have to make new starter because I messed up my initial one by adding BREAD MAKING ingredients to it. YIKES. This recipe is spot on. I used it to make so many loves of bread that I didn't even bother to count. So easy, just takes some time. I know I'll have no problem making new starter. Breadmaking, here I come in 10 or less days. :) A French exchange student stays in the home for the school year. She finds this bread IRRESISTIBLE! She said it taste like home. Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/19/2020
Don’t throw out or waste the part that you need to take out! Just pour some olive oil in a pan and fry it up. Add some chopped chives or green onions, Italian herbs, and coarse sea salt. It’s delicious! Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
12/22/2018
On day three and is coming along great.Naming mine Sir Loafsalot Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
09/24/2019
Mine turned out really good. When it came to discarding I would often put it in another bowl and continue feeding both. I ended up having three starters going at once. It was good as I did have one of the starters not do so well and one did go bad but having two or three on the go just meant I didn’t have to restart. Worked really well. I also found feeding roughly at the same time every day worked well. I’ve experimented with other starter recipes and attempts. Also don’t forget it in the fridge. Sounds easy enough but when you’re time poor it’s easy to do. Set a reminder if you have to. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2017
My little pet is doing really well. Haven't named it yet. Very excited to make sourdough for my family. Thanks for the straightforward recipe/tutorial. I came across many on the internet but it's great to see one that's accessible to even the beginner bread maker. Read More
(4)
Rating: 2 stars
05/26/2020
John, am I going insane....or am I missing some secret message in your...."It takes 4 days to make the starter, but there's really not much to it other than 'feeding' the starter once a day for about 10 days." Which is it FOUR DAYS...OR TEN??? That said, if/when the starter is finally finished, are you making one loaf? Two? Three? Is there any relationship between all the starter you discarded...and the multiple loaves you COULD have made? Read More