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Sourdough Starter

A sourdough starter is a paste made from wholemeal flour and water that captures and develops wild yeasts to create the basis for leavening for sourdough bread making.

For additional information with hints and tips, please see our Guide to Sourdough Making and you may also find our Sourdough Starter Table helpful.

Free from Egg, Soya, Dairy, Nuts
Vegetarian, Vegan, Without crystal sugar

Ingredients

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Starter – use this handy chart to help you keep track of your feeding times.

  1. On the first day, put one tablespoon of flour and one of water into a 500ml glass bowl and mix together.
  2. Wet a clean tea towel, wring it out well, lay it over the bowl and leave in a warm place for about 12 hours.
  3. After the 12 hours have passed, add another tablespoon of flour and another of water, mix together, cover with the damp tea towel and leave for another 12 hours.
  4. On day two (24 hours since beginning your starter), stir in a third tablespoon of flour and a third spoon of water, stir to mix, cover again with the damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 12 hours.
  5. For the second feed of day two, add a tablespoon of flour and one of water, stir to mix, cover with the damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 12 hours.
  6. For the first feed of day three (36 hours since beginning your starter), increase the feed by adding two tablespoons of flour and two of water, stir to mix. Re-dampen the tea towel if necessary, lay it over the bowl and leave in a warm place for 12 hours.
  7. On the second feed of day three, add two tablespoons of flour and another two of water, mix together, cover and leave for another 12 hours.
  8. At this point, your starter should be bubbly and ready to create your ferment. If the starter is not showing bubbles, repeat the 12-hour flour and water feeding routine, and ensure the starter is kept constantly in a warm place.

Click this link to find a handy Sourdough Starter Chart which when printed has space for you to enter the day and time that you feed your starter with flour and water and to help monitor progress.

This Guide to Sourdough Making contains lots of hints and tips for successful sourdough bread making.

Equipment

Glass bowl
I have tried to make sourdough a few times and was successful with this recipe and guide - love the fact you don't have to keep throwing part of it away. All the recipes work really well too - Good Job!
By shirlee posner
20 Sep 2020
I've tried making a starter many times and usually fail miserably but following your guide made the process easy thanks to the simple to follow instructions. Will be using it in future with different flours, in particular the Spelt and Rye versions. A minor observation: The day 3 instructions have a mistake as in: - "For the first feed of day three (36 hours since beginning your starter)". When I went to school the 4*12 hour steps on days 1 and 2 add up to 48 hours and not 36 as stated. As I said a minor mistake so no problem or critisism
By Richard
05 Jun 2020
Very easy to follow and I love the chart reminding me of when to feed it. I had given up on a previous starter that seemed so wasteful on flour and didn’t work properly. I’ve just made my first ferment and now letting the dough rise......excited!
By Julie Briggs
04 Jun 2020
Thanks Doves! First time I have made sourdough bread. I followed your starter instructions successfully and using your handy chart too. Main problem was finding somewhere warm enough to put it during the night but then discovered the top of my boiler provided the necessary warmth. I now have a starter for keeps that I can use in new and exciting recipes.
By Jackie Behar
05 May 2020
This starter is the best I have made, really successful and not wasteful. Also the feeding chart is very useful.
By DAWN ADAMS
29 Apr 2020

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