Super Simple Sourdough Starter

The first step towards making your own sourdough, is a starter.

And it’s not just great for sourdough; it’s perfect for adding depth of flavour to all of your bread recipes, especially pizza! Look out for that recipe shortly…

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4.34 from 3 votes

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough is perhaps the most flavourful of all breads, and making it is a real labour of love. And it all begins with a simple starter.
Making your own starter is very easy, but it does take a while – it will be at least a week before you can make bread with it. And by the time it’s ready to use, you’ll be desperate to make your first loaf!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: European
Servings: 1
Calories: 181kcal


  • 50 g water
  • 50 g bread flour
  • 1 tsp liquid sugar (honey/corn syrup/malt syrup/golden syrup)


  • In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients together with a spatula.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Mix the starter thoroughly, and then pour most of it away, leaving just a tablespoon or so in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Add another 50g of water and 50g of bread flour, and mix again.
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for another 24 hours.
  • Refresh the starter in this way every 24 hours, for about 2 weeks, until it smells tangy and alcoholic.
  • Once the starter is ready to use, refresh every 3 days if storing at room temperature, or every week if storing in the fridge.
  • For long term storage of your starter, I recommend a non-reactive container (plastic or glass) with a loose fitting lid. A terrine jar without the rubber seal, like in the picture, is a perfect choice.


Serving: 1gCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gIron: 0.5mg
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Kim Goldfeder Clarke 2020-04-06 - 5:52 pm

Hi Dan! I’m a fan and loved you on GBBO. I’m in New York and obviously in isolation with no yeast to be found anywhere. I’m an avid baker but have never made my own starter. No time like the present, right?!

Quick question: When you say to “Refresh the starter” every 24 hours, do you mean repeat the same precious steps, ie throw out half of it and add 50g of water and 50g of flour each day?

Thanks so much and I hope this finds you and your family well.
All the best,
Kim Clarke
aka “Ya Mom’s in the Kitchen”

Kim Goldfeder Clarke 2020-04-06 - 5:54 pm

Previous, not precious. Though with no yeast to be found in the stores, I guess you can say this is precious, too! Lol!

Dan 2020-04-07 - 2:08 am

I’ve updated the recipe – hope that makes it clearer?

Jens 2020-04-16 - 6:57 pm

Hi Dan – I’m on day 8 and my starter still has the consistency of a thick batter. There are few bubbles forming but not many, and the starter has a vinegary smell. Is that right? Thank you

Dan 2020-04-17 - 3:35 pm

If it smells vinegary, then you don’t have enough yeast thriving yet – that’s probably a sign of bacterial growth that don’t want – keep going!

Sally Wright 2020-04-17 - 2:12 pm

Hi Dan, I’m on day 8 with the starter and it smells like nail polish remover ? Is that normal or have I done something wrong??

Dan 2020-04-17 - 3:36 pm

That’s ok, and very normal. Sounds like it’s not ready yet, so just keep going. It could be 2-3 weeks, especially if there aren’t many natural yeast occurring in your home environment.

Sally Wright 2020-04-18 - 9:31 am

Ok, phew! I’ll keep going then. Thank you!

Monika 2020-05-04 - 11:06 am

Hi Dan, this recipe is amazing, it works like a charm and my starter is just beautiful and alive. Thank you so much for this!


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