If baking whole grain sourdough bread is one of (or your only) bread baking goal, you’ll find it’s not complicated to develop a starter. It just takes time.

You will also find that a whole grain starter has a stronger flavor than a starter developed from all-purpose flour. If you’re new to sourdough bread baking, it may take some time to find the right mix of grains and exact starter flavor/intensity to suit your taste. Trust me when I say it’s well worth the time it takes to explore your options and zero in on your preferred flavor.

Here’s the super simple sourdough starter recipe:

½ cup flour (any variety)

1/3 cup water (use filtered water or allow your water to sit on the counter overnight so the chlorine evaporates)

Don’t skimp on the water or your mixture will be too dry and not ferment properly.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the flour and water. Do NOT use a metal spoon. Silicone or wood is preferred.

Once mixed, place the flour/water in a glass container. A quart jar works very well. Wide mouth is ideal but regular mason jar works, too.

Cover the jar with either a paper towel or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band or the jar ring. I use a screen that fits inside my jar lid. You just have to keep the jar open so the fermentation can progress.

Allow the mixture to sit for 24 hours.

The next day, Day 1, you may or may not see some bubbles forming in the flour/water mixture. Either way, mix another ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water and stir it into the jar.

On days 2 and 3, remove (pour out) ½ cup of the mixture. Place it in a container (my favorite is a pint jar) and cover it so it doesn’t dry out before you can use it. Mix ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water; stir it into the starter.

Day 4: by now you should be seeing bubbles in your starter. You may also detect a “fermented” odor coming from the jar. It’s time to “feed” the starter 2x/day, as close as possible to every 12 hours.

Day 5-7, “feed” the starter 2x/day, removing one-half cup each time and using the same ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water to replace it. On day 7, the starter will be ready to use to bake bread.

The amount of starter you use in your bread recipe will vary according to the amount of flour and size of the loaf you’re making. Watch for more information on how to modify a bread recipe to convert it to a sourdough bread recipe.

Also, know that you will achieve the best baking results with sourdough bread by implementing these two practices:

  1. You can bake sourdough bread in a regular bread pan. It will rise beautifully and may give you a larger loaf than you achieved with commercial yeast. However, you will have a somewhat tougher crust. I don’t know the science behind this, but the crust is better if there’s a source of steam during the baking.
  2. To resolve this crust issue, consider investing in a bread cloche. The cloche cover traps steam as the bread bakes, giving a crispy crust. Cloche price ranges start at around $50 on up to $360+. The main feature is a tight seal, which traps the steam.



It will cost about .13/week to maintain your starter and about .13 cents each time you use it.




  • Author: Loretta


There’s nothing “sour” about this delicious bread which produces one two-pound loaf! Make sure your sourdough starter has “worked” for at least a week; 12 days is ideal. From start to finish, this recipe takes close to four hours. Three hours are necessary for the rising time.

It makes a large loaf, so use a 9×5 loaf pan for a beautiful loaf of bread. It can be baked in an 8.5×4.5 loaf pan, too. Just know the dough may push out over the side of the pan.

The bread is very soft, moist and tasty. You will not taste anything “sour.” The main reason I use sourdough is to take advantage of consuming a fermented grain.

Since the baking temperature is high, the crust becomes quite dry. You can modify this by brushing the baked loaf with melted butter or olive oil. If you don’t use butter or oil, the crust will soften to a great degree within 24 hours.

As part of the method for this recipe, I use my bread machine to knead a portion of the ingredients for 15 minutes before adding the sourdough starter. This helps develop the gluten in the grain, contributing to a higher rise. You don’t have to complete this step but leaving it out may affect your final rise.

In the bread machine, you want the dough to ball up like this:

When you place it in your bread pan for the rise, it should look like this:

When it’s ready to go into the oven, it should be raised up like this – use a 9×5 bread pan to avoid having it come over the side of the pan:



33 2/3 cup flour

1 c water (filtered is ideal)

¾ teaspoon salt

3 T sugar, honey or maple syrup (optional)

3 T butter or oil (optional)

1 ½ c sourdough starter (leave out overnight at room temperature)



Place 2 cups flour, 1 c water, salt, sweetener, and butter/oil in the bread machine canister. Mix/knead for 15 minutes. Monitor the mixture throughout this time to ensure that the dough isn’t too sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the canister and form a ball of dough within the first 5 minutes. If the dough doesn’t ball up, add 1-2 T flour at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Once the 15-minute mix/knead cycle is completed, add the sourdough and 1 cup of the remaining flour. Monitor the dough to ensure that it pulls away from the sides of the canister to form a ball within 5-10 minutes of mixing. If it’s too sticky, add flour 1/4 cup at a time to reach the desired consistency. If you haven’t used enough flour, it will fall over the sides of the pan as it rises (ask me how I know).

This dough will be somewhat sticky when it’s ready to go into the bread pan. However, you don’t want it to stick to your fingers when you handle it. If necessary, gradually add more flour to reach the desired consistency.

Place the dough in a well-coated loaf pan. Brush or spritz the top of the dough with butter or olive oil to help keep it from drying out while it rises. Place the pan in a warm location (oven with the light on is ideal) and put a towel over the top of the dough. Monitor the rise; don’t allow it become more than two inches above the side of the loaf pan, as it may fall when you bake it. It should rise to some degree during the first 15 minutes of baking.

Once the dough reaches a satisfactory rise, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, monitoring the browning of the crust. Once it’s baked, immediately remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Once the bread is cooled, store in either a refrigerated bread keeper or bag it and store in the refrigerator.




  • Author: Loretta


After making several batches of sourdough bread, researching and reviewing numerous recipes, here’s a recipe that works for me. It’s an adaptation of my original bread machine bread and contains some commercial yeast. It doesn’t have a strong sourdough taste, but it is a high-rising, softly textured loaf.

If you’re just starting to learn how to develop a sourdough starter, it will take 7 days before it’s ready to use in a bread recipe. Here’s a summary of the sourdough starter process:

Key points: 1) Don’t use metal mixing spoons; wooden or silicone are needed. 2) When you “feed” your starter, mix the flour and water, then add to starter and mix it in well. 3) Refrigerate the starter removed at each feeding. It can be used right away in baked goods such as muffins, pancakes, etc.

Day 1: To begin the starter: Mix ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water (filtered or let chlorine evaporate overnight)

Place the mixture in a clean quart jar or glass container. Cover the top with either a paper towel or cheese cloth. Your starter will sit at room temperature for up to 12 days.

Day 2: Your starter may or may not be “working.” If there are no bubbles, allow the starter to sit another 24 hours. If you do see bubbles on day 2, add ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water, mix well.

Day 3: By now (48 hours after first mixing) you should see bubbles starting to form in the starter. Remove ½ cup of the starter and refrigerate it. Then add ½ cup flour mixed with 1/3 cup water.

Days 4-5-6 – Feed your starter 1x/day by removing ½ cup starter and replacing with ½ cup flour mixed with 1/3 cup water.

Day 7: You can remove ½ cup starter and use in a bread recipe or other types of recipes. Feed the starter as usual.

Day 8-12: You can begin feeding your starter 2x/day. By day 12, you will have an active, healthy starter. Refrigerate it and feed it no less than 1x/week. You may use a portion of this starter to begin a second starter, using the same feeding method and time frame.



Sourdough white bread:

1 cup water, warmed to between 105 to 110 degrees (Fahrenheit)

1/3 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon yeast

½ cup sourdough starter (at room temperature)

1/3 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup

3 ½ – 3 ¾ cups all-purpose or bread Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I recommend Himalayan pink salt)3 tablespoons of melted butter or oil


Using hot tap water, warm measuring cup for the liquid and bread machine canister. Use hot tap water for the 1 cup water; dissolve your sweetener in the water. Add the milk.

Check the temperature of the liquid. You want it to be between 105 and 110. If it’s less than that, warm it up. If it’s over 112 degrees it will kill the yeast, so cool it down.

Once your liquid is in the desired temperature range, dissolve the yeast in it. Allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes.

While the yeast is activating, measure and mix the flour and salt. Prepare the butter/oil. Butter can be melted or chopped.

Remove the hot water from your bread machine canister; add the yeast mixture, flour mixture, sourdough and butter. Mix/knead cycles (2 of them) should be no less than 10 minutes and not longer than 15 minutes. Between these cycles, allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Coat an 8.5×4.5 bread pan; gently shape the dough and lay it in the pan. Cover with a light cloth and allow it to rise in a warm place (oven is ideal) for 30 minutes. You can allow it to raise for up to 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes and enjoy!


If you’re looking for a recipe for 100% sourdough, no commercial yeast, stay tuned – my test loaves are in the oven!