Make your starter in a glass container and store in the refrigerator after fermentation has occurred.

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Ingredients

15
Original recipe yields 15 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In large non-metallic bowl, mix together dry yeast, 2 cups warm water, and 2 cups all purpose flour and cover loosely.

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  • Leave in a warm place to ferment, 4 to 8 days. Depending on temperature and humidity of kitchen, times may vary. Place on cookie sheet in case of overflow. Check on occasionally.

  • When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. If mixture has a pink, orange, or any other strange color tinge to it, THROW IT OUT! and start over. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered until ready to bake.

  • When you use starter to bake, always replace with equal amounts of a flour and water mixture with a pinch of sugar. So, if you remove 1 cup starter, replace with 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. Mix well and leave out on the counter until bubbly again, then refrigerate. If a clear to light brown liquid has accumulated on top, don't worry, this is an alcohol base liquid that occurs with fermentation. Just stir this back into the starter, the alcohol bakes off and that wonderful sourdough flavor remains! Sourdough starters improve with age, they used to be passed down generation to generation!

  • Use this starter to make the Sourdough Chocolate Cranberry Cake, and the Sourdough Chocolate Cake.

Nutrition Facts

62 calories; 0.2 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 mg sodium. 12.9 g carbohydrates; 1.9 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (247)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
02/26/2007
This was my first successful sourdough starter! I made this on Friday, kept it in the oven with just the oven light on, and that made a nice warm little womb for this starter! :-) Today, day 5, I used 1.5c to make "San Francisco Sourdough Bread" from this website, and replaced what I took out with 1.5c flour & 1.5c water. The bread turned out great and had a definite sourdough taste, even on the first use, so I can't wait 'til it ages a little more for more of that great flavor. Thank you so much, Esther! Read More
(654)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
12/21/2011
I may be back to edit this review but for now I have to criticize it for not telling me to feed it daily once I start with 1/4 flour and warm water. It's been in my oven with the light on for 4 days. I figured there must be a problem since it was not rising. I opened the reviews and see that this step was missing. FEED IT...anyway I threw it out and started again. Hopefully I will have better results Read More
(230)
294 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 192
  • 4 star values: 53
  • 3 star values: 17
  • 2 star values: 7
  • 1 star values: 25
Rating: 5 stars
02/26/2007
This was my first successful sourdough starter! I made this on Friday, kept it in the oven with just the oven light on, and that made a nice warm little womb for this starter! :-) Today, day 5, I used 1.5c to make "San Francisco Sourdough Bread" from this website, and replaced what I took out with 1.5c flour & 1.5c water. The bread turned out great and had a definite sourdough taste, even on the first use, so I can't wait 'til it ages a little more for more of that great flavor. Thank you so much, Esther! Read More
(654)
Rating: 5 stars
02/26/2007
This was my first successful sourdough starter! I made this on Friday, kept it in the oven with just the oven light on, and that made a nice warm little womb for this starter! :-) Today, day 5, I used 1.5c to make "San Francisco Sourdough Bread" from this website, and replaced what I took out with 1.5c flour & 1.5c water. The bread turned out great and had a definite sourdough taste, even on the first use, so I can't wait 'til it ages a little more for more of that great flavor. Thank you so much, Esther! Read More
(654)
Rating: 5 stars
03/24/2007
I let mine sit out for 4 days before transferring it to a mason jar and storing in the fridge. WARNING: Don't put an air tight lid on. If you are using a mason jar, just lightly close the lid allowing some air in. Otherwise you may have a problem! The starter is fermenting and has a tendency to "grow". Make sure there is some room at the top of the jar for this. Read More
(413)
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Rating: 4 stars
10/14/2003
I wish I would have known I needed to "feed" the starter. My first loaf came out like a brick. I have since given the starter a pinch of suger and it seems to have livened up and is ready for the next go-round. Read More
(394)
Rating: 4 stars
03/30/2006
This starter has been working out really well for me. I used this basic recipe but fed the starter twice a day for a week with 1/3 warm cup water and 1/3 cup flour. Right before I put it in the fridge I added a pinch of sugar and more flour/water. The 4 stars is because the results are much better if you feed it. I made San Francisco Sourdough Bread by Donna on this website. Read More
(244)
Rating: 1 stars
12/21/2011
I may be back to edit this review but for now I have to criticize it for not telling me to feed it daily once I start with 1/4 flour and warm water. It's been in my oven with the light on for 4 days. I figured there must be a problem since it was not rising. I opened the reviews and see that this step was missing. FEED IT...anyway I threw it out and started again. Hopefully I will have better results Read More
(230)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/03/2008
I absolutely love sourdough bread but was never sure about the whole starter thing... finally I gave in and did some research. I found a website that went on and on about how 'starter newbys' fail repeatedly, the difficulties of starting starter, etc.... obviously they didn't try this recipe! I've kept mine alive for 2 weeks now and made my first loaf of sourdough. Not too sour yet but rose to gargantuan proportions! I feed mine 1/4 c of flour, 1/4 c of water every day. It always has a nice layer of brown fermentation on top. Just mix it in, it's apparently normal! Read More
(228)
Rating: 5 stars
06/21/2003
Very good and easy even for me. I've never made a sourdough starter. I kept feeding it (eery day) for 4 days before I made my first loaves (rounds) of San Francisco Sourdough bread. My family ate one up in about 10 minutes! I had enough starter to give away to two more people and mine went in the fridge to 'sleep'. I love it. It's like a pet you need to feed and take care of. Read More
(156)
Rating: 5 stars
02/15/2008
This starter is very forgiving! I was worried my home wasnt warm enough for fermentation since it is a cold winter here but it did ok! I put it in the oven with the lioght on for 7 days...feeding 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup flour every day. I used it to make San Francisco Sourdough on this site and it was a hit!!! It had a great sour taste so i am sure it will only get better. I even gave some starter to my mom!! This makes a lot! Read More
(102)
Rating: 4 stars
11/16/2009
I started my starter based on Esther's recipe, 5 days ago. It didn't say to feed it so I didn't know. Saw others say they feed their every day, either 1/4 cup, or 1/3 cup. Somebody help me. What is feeding Do I remove any of the starter when feeding If I keep adding 1/4 cup it will outgrow my house Thanks anyone that knows, please post, I read everyday Read More
(88)