It’s important to use an all-purpose, unbleached flour to activate your starter
Once your starter is fully active and bubbly, you can switch it to a new kind of flour. We recommend reserving some of your starter as a backup in case the transition doesn’t go well
What kind of water are you using?
Starter cultures need additive-free water. Chlorine, fluoride and alkaline or ionized water can be harmful to cultures.
How much water and flour and starter are you using?
For the first few feedings, you will be adding a specified amount of flour and water to your starter, and the texture may be quite thick.
Once you reach Step 5, it is necessary to discard some starter. This isn’t as wasteful as it sounds. Sourdough must be fed in a ratio of starter to water to flour. Without discarding, the starter will more than double with each feeding. At first, you’ll have ½ cup, then 1 cup, then 2-3, then up to 6, and so on! Discarding starter keeps the amount of starter manageable.
If your starter seems very thick, add extra water. If your starter seems extra thin, add extra flour. Aim for a very thick pancake batter consistency
If you prefer to measure by weight, use a kitchen scale to weigh your starter.
At what temperature are you culturing?
Sourdough should be kept between 70-85ºF (21-29ºC)
If the temperature is on the warm end, your starter may get thinner during the culturing period. To cool down the culturing temperature click here.
If your starter seems sluggish after 7 days of activation
Decrease down to 1/4 cup of stirred starter, and add 1/2 cup water and enough flour to make a very thick batter. Cover with a tight lid and let sit for 24 hours. This will nearly always revive a reluctant starter.