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Aaron Hale's Blog

Sourdough Starter It’s ALIVE! Mwah ah ah!

Since shutting ourselves in a couple weeks ago I decided to try my hand at baking up some homemade versions of my favorite breads. I had a little time on my hands and thought the family could use the special treats to lighten the mood a bit during these uncertain times. When we look back on this strange period in our lives I’d like to say we made the best of it

No doubt sourdough is as versatile as it is delicious. It can be used in lieu of or in tandem with active dry yeast depending on your level of Zen-like patience. A good loaf of sourdough bread made without the use of additional yeast could take you 24 hours or longer. Plan accordingly.

Just the starter itself will take five days or more depending on a few factors. The trick is not to watch the calendar but watch the starter’s activity. However, once you’ve got a good starter going you can make any number of delicious things. Try naan, English muffins, pretzels, baguette, ciabatta, pancakes, and chocolate cake! I’ve been trying it all and loving it. I’m on a “roll!” …Sorry, bad pun.

Getting your starter started…

Sourdough Starter


Starting your starter

  • 1C    Whole rye, whole wheat, or pumpernickel flour
  • 1/2C    cold or lukewarm water
    • For the daily feedings
      • 1C    All-purpose flour
      • 1/2C    cold or lukewarm water

What to do…

  1. Mix together your whole wheat, whole rye, or pumpernickel flour with 1/2C water, cold if your home is warm and lukewarm if your home is cold, in a 1Qt or larger non reactive bowl, glass, plastic, ceramic. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and none is left dry. Cover loosely, plastic and a rubber band work well for this, and place somewhere with a constant temperature of 68-70°F. On the counter top if you have under cabinet lighting you can leave on or above the refrigerator are good spots. let sit for 24 hours.
  2. You may or may not see any activity by the second day. Regardless of activity, discard half, about 1/2C, of your starter and add in 1C all-purpose flour and 1/2C water. Cover and let it do its thing for another 24 hours.
  3. By day three there should definitely be some action in your starter; some bubbling, a pungent aroma, and even some rise. Time to begin twice daily feedings.Save about 12-3/4C starter and discard the rest. Mix in 1C all-purpose flour and 1/2C water every 12 hours or so. Cover and return to its room temp hidey hole.
  4. Day 4 repeat step #3.
  5. Day 5 repeat step #4. 
  6. By day 6 you should have a very active and bubbly starter. It should smell pungent and acidic. If not, continue the twice daily discardin of all but about 1/2C and the feedings. 
  7. When your starter is ready to use feed once more 3-4 hours before use.

Additional notes:

  • Don’t like throwing all that starter away each day? Use it! Under it can still work if given more time or just add a bunch of flavor to all sorts of things like pizza crust, pancakes, pretzels, end even chocolate cake. Or, split your starter and feed both, a portion to cook with that day and a portion to keep going for tomorrow.
  • Want to make a smaller amount of starter? The measurements don’t matter so much as the proportions.
  • Want to save your starter? Discard and feed once more, let rest for 3-4 hours at room temperature, then loosely cover and put in the fridge. It should keep indefinitely if fed about once a week.
  • Want to dry your starter? Spread out your starter over a silicone mayor parchment and allow to dry at room temp. Place dry starter in an air tight container.

Have fun cultivating your pet sour dough starter. Let us know what your create with it by taking pics and sharing to our Instagram and Facebook pages!

Aaron Hale
US Army SSG EOD (Ret) Founder of
Extra Ordinary Delights

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