How To Make Sourdough Starter

(chosun2hs) #21

Hello Eric,

I am dying to make sourdough starter & I am on my second attempt. The first was with starter from a friend that never showed any signs of being alive. The second is using the method on your site. I have followed instructions perfectly. It smells nice and sour, yet there are very, very few bubbles. It is not doubling at all. I am on day 5. I decided to proceed into day 5 because of the sour smell alone. It seems slightly puffy & thick like pancake batter. I’ve kept it in my microwave (not while running) because my house temperature is only 67 and I hope that it is warm enough in my microwave. Could you please help me? I desperately want it to thrive soon so I can bake lots of goodies for my family :blush: ~H

(Eric) #22

You’re not doing anything wrong. Sometimes it works, sometimes you have to keep trying. The only thing I can suggest is to toss all but a small amount and then feed what remains. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a house full of sourdough starter before long.

(chosun2hs) #23

Thank you very much. Is there any point that you would suggest giving up and starting over?


(Eric) #24

Yes. If it’s not showing some encouraging signs of life in another 2 or 3 days, you might consider bailing and starting over. You’ll know when it’s doing well. It gets progressively more bubbly and spongy each day and ultimately expands quite a bit after a good feeding.

(chosun2hs) #25

Miracles never cease! It took off last night! Thank you for your wisdom & encouragement.:blush:

(Eric) #26

Awesome. If you’re up for it, please keep the cards and letters coming (photos even better), so we can watch your progress. Would be particularly helpful for those getting started.

(Lisa) #27

I am on my third attempt making my starter, I live in Chicago and my apartment appears to be too cool for the starter to take off at room temperature. The second attempt was in the oven with the light on, no success. Third attempt is in my yogurt maker, perfect environment, the starter is coming along nicely.

(pcraig311) #28

I stumbled on this site after doing some research on how the body digest complex carbs and the longer the fermentation the easier for the body to digest.
I just started my culture on Sunday and within 24 hrs I had bubbles forming. Should I wait the 48 hrs to feed or should I feed now

(Eric) #29

Hard to say without seeing it but it’s probably fine to feed it now.

(Bradford) #30

Good afternoon,
I am new to baking with sourdough. I bought your starter kit and closely followed the directions. I am on my third batch and it is happening again. Starts well then bubbles fade out after 4-ish days. I even tried following your video to make no-knead sour dough twice with the previous batches thinking that perhaps it was still alive. After step one, prior to the 18 hour rise, it looked just like your dough on the video. After 18 hours (first time) and 24 hour (second time), I ended up with very wet dough (wetter than I started) that never seemed to rise and was it was a total mess. Had to throw out both batches. Anyone able to offer suggestions on what I am dong wrong? Thanks

(Eric) #31

Hi Bradford,

You bring up potentially many issues. If you can upload of photo of your starter, that can often be helpful. But even without the benefit of seeing it, there’s a decent change it’s too thin. Toss all but a small amount of your starter and then add flour to the remainder to stiffen it up. With a thin, runny starter, the bubbles (from fermentation) will rise up through the mix and it will look like nothing is happening. But if the mix is stiff, the dough will trap the bubbles and it will rise and get spongy. In other words, when the starter is thick, it’s easier to see when the starter is doing well. When starter rises well after feeding, so should the bread. Don’t bake bread with your starter until the starter itself is rising well.

Regarding our no knead sourdough recipe, once you have a good starter then read the section “No Knead Revisited”. You are proofing your dough way too long. That will usually result in a soupy mess.

If you are unable to revive your starter, email us with your order number and we’ll send you another one.

(Bradford) #32

Thanks Eric,

I really appreciate your quick response. I think you accurately describe exactly what is going on with my starter. It is clearly too thin. I also did not realize one could let the dough rise too long. Your description of a “soupy mess”, perfectly describes what happened to my dough. I will carefully follow your recommendations. I am much more optimistic. I appreciate your generous offer to send more material, I don’t think I need it now.

Just one more question. I have read that some people like to use bread flour to feed and others like whole wheat. Do you have a strong opinion on what type of flour should be used or does it really matter?

Thanks again,


(Eric) #33

As far as the health of the starter goes, it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s mostly a choice of which flour you want to ingest and to some extent how light a loaf you want. The more white flour, the lighter (more open) the crumb, but with starter usually being a relatively small percentage of the total flour, the difference is usually not that significant.

(Chilipez) #34

Hi Eric. Thank you for posting your instructional videos. On a number of occasions over the past five years, I have attempted to make a starter…unsuccessfully every time. I tried your method, following your precise instructions…success, the first time! I will attempt to keep “Bubbles the Starter” alive for as long as possible, again, following your instructions. I’m looking forward to a long relationship with wonderful breads of many kinds, including sourdoughs.
Thanks again, Eric.

(loraled) #35

Hi, i started making my own sourdough starter 3 days ago. but i keep forgetting to feed it every 24 hours. i fed it 36 hours from when i started it. now, the second time i’ll be feeding it, it will be another 36 hours since last i fed it. Is that ok or should i throw it out and make a new one?

(Eric) #36

I would have said keep going but now that it’s been 9 days since you posted, how did it go for you?

(murdle) #37

I just completed Step 4, making your sour dough starter. Should I let this sit 24 hours before using? In the refrig or room temp? Thank you. I’m a total novice.

(Eric) #38

That’s a hard one for me to answer without seeing it. As a general guideline, when your starter is bubbly and spongy and rises well after feeding, it should work for baking. If you can attach a good quality photo, it can be very helpful for diagnosis.

(simonbagley) #39

Excellent videos! I am in the UK, and just starting out trying to make sourdough starter.
Your tablespoon measurements seem much smaller than UK tablespoons. Can you tell me
what size in ml your tablespoon is?

(Ronald) #40

Hi Eric,
First thing I want to thank you for your video, it is very clear and nice. I started my first Spelt whole wheat sourdough starter on last Saturday, I finished the first two step and going to the third step. Tonight I see many bubbles for only one day and decide to go ahead to the third step, hopefully it will be successful this time.

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