How do I make a sourdough starter?

Making a sourdough starter is simple, in fact, the hardest part is not worrying too much if it is going right or not! 

What you will need:

  • 16 oz glass jar 
  • All purpose flour
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Water
  • Kitchen scale
  • optional: lemon juice

First, choose a vessel for your starter - a glass ball jar works great or really any glass jar that you might have from a jarred salsa or a jam.

Second, using your kitchen scale, measure out equal parts flour and water in the jar. I like to use a 50/50 mix of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, inspired by Tartine Bakery's recipe, but 100% all purpose flour will work just as well. Some people like to add a little bit of lemon juice to help the process along. My recommended proportions are below.

  • 50g Water
  • 25g All purpose flour
  • 25g Whole wheat flour

Third, stir the mixture in the jar until it become a thick paste. 

Fourth, wait... about 12 hours

Fifth, discard the majority of the mixture and then repeat the second step, adding 50g of water and 25g each of all purpose and whole wheat flour to the jar. When first creating your starter it is not worth saving the mixture because it has not yet developed any sourdough characteristics

Finally, repeat every 12 hours for about a week. You'll notice that the mixture starts to bubble and grow and then decrease in size - that means it's working. Once the mixture is consistently bubbling and growing that means you are ready to start baking!

That wasn't too bad. Now for the most important step, naming your sourdough starter. Ours is Anza, named for the cross street where they were born in San Francisco. 

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