Making your own yeast at home is simple with this easy recipe for sourdough starter. Sourdough doesn't have to be sour, it's simply the method for trapping wild yeast for use in baking! You can make this sourdough starter with einkorn or any wheat!
Sourdough is an ancient technique for naturally leavening in wheat products with wild yeast and bacteria from the air. The result of which is a strong and enjoyable finished product that the whole family will love!
It's easier to digest, it helps reduce phytic acid in the grains, and it’s delicious! Sourdough is also very versatile and can be used to create everything from bread products, to cakes and cookies, and even crisp and tender crackers.
So, even if you don't have access to pre-made yeast, you can still make delicious baked goods with your homemade yeast!
And as you create and care for your sourdough starter you are actually creating a family heirloom that can be passed down for many generations to come.
Many people have sourdough starter that is 3 or 4 generation old!
Einkorn SOURDOUGH STARTER: Homemade Yeast
Follow these directions to create a 100% hydration sourdough starter. You can use einkorn flour or any wheat to capture your homemade yeast!
Video for Making Sourdough Starter
Skip to the video for making sourdough starter for a hands-on view of trapping wild yeast!
Mix ¼ cup flour (29g) and ¼ cup water (55g). Place in a glass container and cover with cling-wrap. The mix needs to breathe to ferment.
Store in a warm, dark place for 48 hours.
Mix 2 Tbsp starter with 2 Tbsp water and ¼ cup of flour. Or, equal parts starter, water, and flour by weight.
Day 4 and Beyond:
After day 3, continue to feed your starter at least once every 24 hours, or 2-3 times if desired. Follow the feeding ratios given in Day 3.
When is the starter ready to use?
Once your starter shows significant rise and bubbles through within 6-10 hours of feeding, it is ready to use in sourdough recipes.
NOTE: If you read other sourdough recipes, you may see starter hydration levels talked about. This starter is considered a 100% hydration starter.
This is what happens when you underestimate how active your starter is! Ha!
SHOULD YOU WEIGH INGREDIENTS?
This is a point of some disagreement among sourdough bakers and is up to you to test and decide what works for you, your ingredients, and your climate.
For me, I prefer to bake by texture and appearance more than exact measurements. This is why every recipe in my Art of Sourdough course is videoed at each step so that you can see the desired hydration levels and textures.
This, along with the finished product will help you decide if measuring is needed in your situation to create the same results.
Either way, weights and measurements are included for each recipe within the course!
EINKORN VERSUS OTHER WHEAT
Einkorn flour is the original wheat. It has never been hybridized, even as far back as ancient Egypt. It is also higher in protein and is generally found to be easier to digest, making it suitable for many people with gluten sensitives to enjoy.
My Art of Sourdough course uses einkorn flour, however I’ve found that sourdough is a great equalizer and have tested and confirmed that all recipes work with any type of all-purpose flours.
If using freshly ground or whole wheat flour, you may need to adjust the liquid amounts. Just follow the examples in the video for each recipe to see if you need more or less liquid.
It is important to note that einkorn flour does result in a denser finished product. It doesn’t have the rise that other flours have.
So if you’re using einkorn and you notice that your products don’t have the same texture as those you are used to with regular flour, or from store bought products, that’s normal!
If you’re using any other flour for the recipes in this course, you will likely notice a much more significant rise that the textures shown in the finished products in this course. That’s normal!
Please note that some of my recipes do have baking changes for non-einkorn flours.
KEEPING STARTER HAPPY
Once you get your starter going, it’s a fairly simply process to keep your starter happy and healthy.
Sourdough starter really only needs a couple of things to thrive: cozy temperatures and a consistent food supply.
Be sure to keep your active starter between 70 and 85 degrees for use. If you want to put your starter into hibernation, you can keep it in the refrigerator.
Either way, you need to also feed your starter regularly.
If keeping the starter active and warm, feed it at least once every 24 hours, or as many as 2-3 times, as noted in the care and feeding section of this course.
If you don’t use your starter often or just want to take a break, but don’t want to start over later, you can store your starter in the fridge and feed it once a week.
Please note, I wouldn’t hibernate your starter until it is well established. For example, it is active and bubbling within 6 hours of feeding.
After that, you can safely hibernate the starter.
To feed a starter in hibernation, simply remove it from the fridge, feed with a 1 part starter, 1 part water, and 2 parts flour ratio, cover, and immediately put it back in the fridge.
Of course, if you want to take it out of hibernation for use, you will feed it and leave it at room temperature to expand.
TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR STARTER
Here are a few common problems that may occur on your way to a healthy and stable sourdough starter.
A SLUGGISH STARTER
You may notice that your starter just isn’t taking off. This is considered a sluggish starter and can usually be jump started pretty quickly.
Instead of feeding your starter once every 24 hours, start feeding every 6-12 hours for a few days until the starter becomes more active.
If you are using freshly ground flour and finding that your starter is sluggish, it’s likely that your flour needs to age a bit before use.
To do this, place your freshly-milled flour in a bowl at room temperature and cover it lightly with a dish towel for one or more weeks before using it to feed your sourdough culture. Once it is time to bake bread, you can use freshly ground flour as the flour ingredient in the bread recipe.
ALCOHOL OR NAIL POLISH SMELL
If you smell a strong alcohol or nail polish aroma coming from your starter, that is a sign it isn’t being fed enough.
Again, the solution to this is to feed it more often. If increased feedings don’t fix the problem take 2 tbsp of starter, add ¼ cup of water, and ¼ - ½ cup of flour.
Just do this once and then resume normal feeding ratios.
STARTER HAS MOLDED
And finally, if you see that your sourdough starter has developed mold… this is the one I really wanted to show you, but it’s fairly rare, so I couldn’t make it happen! But anyway, if this happens, you will need to assess your starter.
If the mold is only on the surface, scrap away the mold and refresh as normal.
If the mold reaches the interior, it’s time to start over. But the good news is that if you’ll probably have less time to wait for your new starter to be active if you once had an active starter in your home.
Sourdough Recipes to Try
Now that you have a thriving sourdough starter, here are a few of our favorite sourdough recipes to try!
- No Knead Einkorn Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Chocolate Cake
- Einkorn Sourdough Crackers
- Sourdough Pancakes
Einkorn Sourdough Starter (homemade yeast)
- Day 1:Mix ¼ cup flour (29g) and ¼ cup water (55g). Place in a glass container and cover with cling-wrap. The mix needs to breathe to ferment.Store in a warm, dark place for 48 hours.
- Day 3:Mix 2 Tbsp starter with 2 Tbsp water and ¼ cup of flour. Or, equal parts starter, water, and flour by weight.
- Day 4 and Beyond:After day 3, continue to feed your starter at least once every 24 hours, or 2-3 times if desired. Follow the feeding ratios given in Day 3.
- When is the starter ready to use?Once your starter shows significant rise and bubbles through within 6-10 hours of feeding, it is ready to use in sourdough recipes.
PIN THIS FOR LATER
I’ve never made sourdough starter before. In step two, what do I do with the leftover starter after I take the 2 tbsp? Just toss it? And when I continue feeding it do I still have to toss the excess after I take out 2 tbsp?
Hi Lindsay! While you’re growing your starter during that first week, you can throw away the extra, or give it to chickens or pigs if you have any (you never know).
Then after the starter is established and ready to bake with, you’ll need to feed more than just the two tablespoons in order to have enough to use in recipes.
Just use the ratio for feeding to feed all of the starter instead of just 2 tbsp… then when you bake with it, reserve and feed 2 tbsp to keep your starter going.
I hope that makes sense, let me know if it doesn’t!
It looks like alot of your recipes use Einkorn. Do you buy in bulk? Where from? I can only find the small bags locally. Thanks!
Hi Sybille! Yes, we use einkorn flour exclusively for wheat :-)
I buy directly from Jovial Foods in bulk. About 100ish pounds at a time. Great einkorn and free shipping!
Right now they are limited quantities due to order volume, but that’s not the normal case for them.
Susan Silbovitz says
I am in the process of making the 100% hydration Einkorn sourdough starter, day 5. I have also made the Einkorn sourdough starter from the Jovial site, which it looks like you used for the Einkorn sourdough crackers. I have already made a delish no knead bread with that starter. My question is, once they both become bubbly within 6-10 hours, is one a better choice than the other when making bread or any other recipe? Should I use one starter for certain recipes and the 100% hydration started for other recipes? OR, are they interchangeable?
Hi Susan, good question and I’m so glad you asked! When I originally posted that cracker recipe, the starter used by Jovial was a 100% hydration. They have now changed that and I didn’t realize I hadn’t changed the post!
I will do that tonight.
So, for all my sourdough recipes, I use and recommend a 100% hydration starter. Thank you so much for asking!
Susan Silbovitz says
Another question: how bubbly should the starter be at 6 hours? about double in size or a whole lot more? Your overflowing starter photo makes me think I have a long way to go! Thanks!
Hi Susan! If you can see bubbles, you’re good to go! The bubbles will get larger over time, and the larger the better (at 6 hours).
I hope that helps!
Susan Silbovitz says
Thanks! It is now hibernating in the fridge. I am looking ahead and next Wednesday I will be feeding it, so of course I have a question about that! You say: To feed a starter in hibernation, simply remove it from the fridge, feed with a 1 part starter, 1 part water, and 2 parts flour ratio, cover, and immediately put it back in the fridge.
Is that by weight? (30 gr, 30 gr, 60 grams?) or by measurement (1/4 c, 1/4 c, 1/2 cup?) I would think it would make a difference, unless refreshing is pretty flexible!
Many thanks again!
Hi Susan! The 1:1:2 ratio is by measurement. If you are feeding by weight, it would be 1:1:1 :-)
Susan Silbovitz says
Perfect, thanks again!
Can I save my starter discard in fridge for other recipes?
Yes! Many people do that, but I wouldn’t do it until your starter is very active and ready to bake with.