Sourdough Starter Recipe for Beginners

by Corinne Mossati

If you’re after an easy sourdough starter recipe for beginners, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these simple step by step instructions and you’ll be baking in no time.

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

If you’re daunted by the thought of making a sourdough starter and baking your own sourdough bread, I don’t blame you. For a long time, I was in that same position, and the more I read on the internet, the more I became overwhelmed. For something that uses just two ingredients, flour and water, endless scrolling to read essay-length articles fuelled my confusion.

After a few trials and tweaks, I have my own tried-tested-tasted sourdough starter recipe and method which I’m sharing in this article (followed by another article on how to bake sourdough bread and ideas for using my garden-grown produce). No waffling and mincing words, just step by step instructions.

Easy Sourdough Starter Recipe

Recipe and method by The Gourmantic Garden


To Create the Starter: Day 1 and 2

  • ½ cup wholemeal wheat flour
  • ¼ cup bottled, filtered or non-chlorinated water

For Feeding: Day 3 to 7

  • 5 X ½ cup white unbleached flour
  • 5 X ¼ cup filtered or non-chlorinated water


  • 2 glass jars with lids (I use large Moccona jars, 400g capacity)
  • rubber band
  • fork



  1. In a glass jar, add flour, water and using a fork, whisk together to mix well with no traces of flour.
  2. Put a small plate under the jar in case of any spillage. Rest the lid on top of the jar and place in a warm spot. Place a rubber band around the level of the flour and water mixture. This will eventually indicate show how much it will rise.
  3. Leave your starter alone for 24 hours. You may see some bubbles or not, it depends on the weather and the ambient temperatures.
  4. Give your sourdough starter a name. Everyone does. I called mine Homer, because d’oh!


  1. Leave to rest for another 24 hours. You may or may not see bubbles.

 Day 3, 4, 5, 6 – FEEDING

  1. Mix the starter well using a fork. Measure out half a cup of the starter and place it into another glass jar. Cover it with a lid and store it in the fridge. This is known as the discard (see below).
  2. Add ½ a cup of white flour and ¼ of a cup of warm non-chlorinated water to the starter. Mix well to combine and leave in a warm spot with the lid resting on top.
  3. Repeat for the remaining days at the same time.
Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter L-R: Day 3, Day 5, Day 6 – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Day 7 – READY

The starter is bubbling nicely and ready to use. If not using straight away, transfer it to a clean glass jar with a lid.

Sourdough Starter Tips

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter More than Doubled in Size – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

  • If storing the starter at room temperature, feed it daily.
  • If storing in the fridge, feed it once a week.
  • To feed the starter, refer to the steps above under FEEDING.
  • To use the starter to make bread, take it out of fridge, bring it to room temperature then feed it for about 10 hours before using.
  • To check if the sourdough starter is ready to use, drop ½ teaspoon into a glass of cold water. If it floats, it’s ready. If it sinks, keep feeding and testing.

What is Sourdough Discard

Sourdough discard is what is taken out in between feedings. While it is not alive enough to make bread rise, it can be used for baking.

When stored at room temperature, the discard will last about 1-2 days depending on the ambient temperature. Any longer and it will become quite sour. When stored in the fridge, the discard will keep for approximately one week or so. It can also be stored in the freezer where it can keep (almost) indefinitely.


Try making Sourdough Discard Crackers, Sourdough Discard Pancakes or making Sourdough Discard Thin Pizza Base.

Next… Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe for Beginners

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag @the.gourmanticgarden on instagram.

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