True sourdough bread is made with no added yeast. Instead, home-grown “starter” provides the fermentation and leavening that give the bread its tangy flavor and satisfying texture. Making a starter is a simple process, but it can take up to a week, so plan ahead. Once you’ve got it started, you can keep it going indefinitely.

Things You'll Need

Blend equal parts of warm water and flour together. Place the mixture in a clean container. A mayonnaise jar works well or you can use a plastic or glass storage container with a snap-on lid.

Store the mixture at room temperature, about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of the fridge is a suitable place.

Discard one-half of the mixture once every 24 hours and add 1/2 part warm water and 1/2 part flour. Cover the starter again after each feeding and put back into its warm place. Within 3 to 4 days, the starter will begin to bubble and ferment and have a sour, yeasty smell. This indicates it is ready to use.

Place the starter in refrigerator with the lid propped open slightly. You can also punch a hole in the lid.


  • Replenish the starter by adding 1/2 part warm water and 1/2 part flour each week to the mixture.

  • If a watery layer forms on the refrigerated starter, it’s still OK. Stir it gently to mix it.

  • Regular, all-purpose flour works for this recipe, but you can use unbleached or whole-wheat flour, if you prefer. Don’t use self-rising flour.