How to Make a Sourdough Starter

January 24th, 2012  | Category: Bread

How to Make a Sourdough Starter

Learning how to make a sourdough starter and maintaining it as long as I can is at the top of my to-do list this year.

It takes a lot of time and patience – both of which I’d like to reserve for the book I’m working on – to master the art of sourdough bread, but I just can’t get the bread I ate at Tartine Bakery out of my mind.

Actually, aside from a daily routine of feeding the starter, there’s not much else to do. It will take 7-10 days to grow the culture, so the first step is to mix 5 pounds of flour, which you’ll be using to feed the culture. I will be following Chad Robertson’s recipe in “Tartine Bread”, so I’m using half bread and half whole wheat flour.

Sourdough Starter Flour Blend

Note to readers living in Turkey: I highly recommend Karahan Un‘s line of organic flours.

Sourdough Starter Flour

The blue one on the left is bread flour and the yellow one next to it is whole wheat. They also have all purpose flour (in pink). It is a bit hard to find these in the supermarkets. I usually come across this brand in Macrocenter and Carrefour.

All you need to do in day 1 is to mix flour and water, cover with a clean cloth and set aside to start the sourdough process.

Sourdough Starter Day 1

Long live the microorganisms!


Recipe adapted from “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson


  • 140 grams (1 cup) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 140 grams (approximately 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water


  1. Mix flour and water in an impeccably clean glass bowl with a wooden spoon until no lumps remain.
  2. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in the warmest spot in your kitchen.
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  1. 1 - Maureen on January 24th, 2012

    One of my goals for 2012 is to get a sourdough starter started.

    You’ve done all the work for me. I’ll just copy what you did and cross my fingers and click my heels 3 times. 🙂

    Thanks a lot.

  2. 2 - James G on January 24th, 2012

    I have been baking the country sourdough from Tartine’s book for months now, and my starter is now reliable and delicious. I usually use 90% bread flour and 10% rye flour for my bread, but the procedure is pretty forgiving and I’m sure any combination will yield great results.

  3. 3 - Kobby on January 25th, 2012

    I was trying so many times to start my wn starter but every time unsuccessfully until one day I found wildyeast blog – there’s the best explanation and the recipe of the starter ever! I moved from one country to another with different flour quality but it always worked for me and I got great starter.

  4. 4 - Liz on January 25th, 2012

    I am so buying your book when it comes out!Your writing is eminently readable!

  5. 5 - Caffettiera on January 25th, 2012

    Good luck with the starter! I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. It would have been in my new year’s projects as well, but it happened to collide with the ‘get fitter’ and ‘stop eating all that bread’ part… Sigh.

  6. 6 - Sara on January 31st, 2012

    I made my starter severals years ago and its still going strong. I make bread most weeks and if I don’t I just feed it. I can leave it for up to two weeks. Only once did I have to through it out and start again. It makes the best pizza dough ever. At Christmas I made Kerstbrood, a Dutch treat with dried fruit and marzipane in the middle!

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