How To Make Sourdough Starter

Today’s recipe is a dish towel.

No, today’s recipe is under the dish towel.

No, that’s not it either. Today I’m showing how to start making a single ingredient that, in three days, will go into an actual recipe.

Yeah, that’s it.


1 package active dry yeast
1½ cups flour
2½ cups lukewarm water (not pictured, because I’m not about to take a picture of water)


Bread has been a staple of every human society since the beginning of agriculture. But I’d never made it from scratch.

Weird, huh?

I don’t know if I thought it was going to be harder than it was. Or maybe I’m just not into things that take so long to do. And this step is the one that stopped me. You have to do the sourdough starter two to three days before you plan to make the bread. Who plans that far ahead?

So yeah, it takes some planning. But actually doing it couldn’t be much easier.

Just empty a single yeast pack into a bowl. (My wife likes to rip it open to make sure she gets all of it.)

Add the water and stir.

Actually, that last step is one where you can mess up. It says up in the ingredients “lukewarm water”. How warm is luke? According to the back of my yeast pack — not the one I used the first time, the new one I went and bought — it’s between 105° and 115°.

That’s only written once on the back of the three-segment package, though. So my first try, the water wasn’t warm enough. And the yeast never activated. I went and bought some more, and saw the temperature range on that. Okay, so “lukewarm” is over 100°. Got it.

Now that I had warm-enough water, it started to bubble after about 15 minutes.

Once it’s going, add the flour and stir again.

You should still see it bubbling after adding the flour.

Cover the bowl and set it someplace warm for two to three days.

If you just have to peek — and I do — you’ll see plenty of bubbling after a couple of hours.

Stick around to see what this looked like three days later, and what I used it for.

For a bit of detail about “authenticity”, check out the comments below. Follow some of the links to see how seriously people take their breadmaking.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter


  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2½ cups lukewarm water


Empty yeast into a bowl. Add water that is between 105° and 115°F. Stir and allow to rest for 10 minutes, until the yeast starts bubbling.

Add the flour and stir again. Cover the bowl and leave someplace warm for 2-3 days.

Stir before taking starter out for a recipe. Each time you take out two cups of starter, replace it with about 1¼ cups flour and ¾ cup water.