How to make your own, natural sourdough starter

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Making your own sour dough starter is a tremendously empowering, simple, and FUN baking activity. Trust me, you’ll obsess over your starter in the best way possible. It’s also the secret to wonderfully luxurious, delicious, homemade, hearty, artisan bread!!

Your starter is your leavening agent in sour dough bread. Think of it as a flour, water, bacteria slurry that not only adds tremendous flavor through fermentation but also helps preserve your bread!!

So, here’s how you do it:

  • Add equal parts flour (we used 500 grams of whole wheat flour) and water (we used 500 grams of filtered tap water, but you can use distilled or bottled, just make sure it’s chlorine free) in a bowl. You need a glutenous flour (so avoid rye)
  • Mix it to the consistency of pancake mix
  • And just leave it out on your counter. You can cover it with a light towel of you have flies or bees, but you really want to expose your mix to the airborne bacteria in your kitchen. This is a literal feeding ground.
  • 24 hours later, you’re going to feed your starter. Discard half of your mix (in the garbage, NOT down the sink), and add equal parts flour and water again.
  • Repeat daily!
  • By Day 7, your starter will smell sour and will be extra bubbly. You’re ready to bake!!!

Now, maintaining your starter is key. You can absolutely pop it in the refrigerator (covered), and take it out to feed it (again, equal parts flour and water) once every 7 days. OR, if you’re going to be baking a lot, you can keep it on your counter and feed it every day.

Once your starter is lovely, sour smelling and bubbly, you can continue to discard half to make room for more feed, OR you can share it with friends (which is what I recommend). It can be frozen, or shared straight from your counter.

Dr JJ mentions Thomas Keller and Bouchon Bakery, here are the links to those cookbooks!

You can see more clips of me and Dr. JJ on Hallmark’s Home & Family.

I want to give a special shoutout to Dr. JJ Levenstein for lending her amazing knowledge of bread and bread making to this video. To learn more about Dr. JJ and her incredible work, you can check out her website, or you can email her directly at

And you can learn more about Blvd Kitchen (where we filmed this video) here.  They offer classes for bakers of all ages in the Los Angeles area, definitely check them out!

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Sophie Uliano is New York Times best-selling author and leading expert in the field of natural health and beauty, who takes a down-to-earth approach to beauty focusing on what's truly healthy. Join my masterclass to get started.