Sourdough Starter Recipe by 1000 Threads | west elm

Why bake your own bread at home, when you can buy it at the store?

1) Have you ever eaten still-warm, just-baked bread with butter? Sorry if you’re gluten free, but it’s one of the best things ever.

2) If you make your own sourdough starter, every loaf of bread that you bake will be more flavorful + intense + totally unique to you and your kitchen! That’s because sourdough starter is actually a living thing and it’s magical like that.

Nobody knows all this better than Laicie Heeley. She’s the blogger behind A Thousand Threads and the owner of the Dough Uprising bakery.

Earlier this month, Laicie brought together creatives from across Virginia to launch the Field + Foundy dinner series along Melissa Hope. Not only did guests share a delicious meal, Laicie’s husband (and Dough Uprising partner) Mark Heeley taught a sourdough starter recipe workshop.

Take a peek at Laicie’s first Field + Foundry dinner, and read on for the sourdough starter recipe that will help you bake bread at home better than any that you can buy!


How To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Making a sourdough starter takes about 5 days, depending on the conditions in your kitchen, since you’ll have to feed your starter with equal amounts of fresh flour and water each day. As the wild yeast grows stronger, the starter will become larger, frothier, and start to get that nice, sour smell we all know and love.

Day 1: Make your starter

    4 ounces (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (½ cup) water

1. Measure flour and water and combine in a container large enough to add to. Stir vigorously until combined. You’ll have a smooth batter that’s sticky and thick.

2. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid, but don’t clamp your lid down, leave room for the air to come in.

3. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F and let sit for 24 hours. (The top of your fridge is a great place!)

How To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Day 2: Feed your starter

    4 ounces (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (½ cup) water

1. Discard half your starter to keep it from growing too large, and to keep your starter’s pH balance in check.

2. Measure flour and water and add to your container. Stir vigorously until combined, then scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or the lid (again, leave your lid ajar).

3. Put the container back and leave for another 24 hours.

How To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Days 3 and 4: Feed your starter

1. Repeat steps from day 2. Your starter should begin to look bubbly and will just start to get a bit of a smell.

How To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Day 5: Your starter is ready!

1. Your starter should have doubled in bulk since day 4, and should be very bubbly. If you stir the starter, it should also feel a bit looser (less sticky and thick) and should smell like a strong sourdough.

If all of that sounds right, your starter is ready to use in your favorite bread recipe!

Now that it’s alive, feed your starter daily and you and your family can use it to break amazing bread for generations. Literally!

(Adapted from The Kitchn’s sourdough starter recipe.)


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Laicie Helley of 1000 Threads

Laicie Heeley is the founder + editor of A Thousand Threads, and on any given day, you might find her hawking handmade pie at a local farmer’s market, writing about foreign policy with the wonks in DC, or stuffing her face with marshmallows and trail mix in the great outdoors. 

Photos: Reema Desai

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July 30, 2014

I’ve been trying to get a starter to get going for the past two weeks but for some reason, it just won’t double in bulk or “rise”. So frustrating. I’ve been measuring… weighing… my apartment is pretty warm (no air conditioning) so I didn’t think that that was it. Why won’t it grow. 🙁


July 30, 2014

I think you left out the part about the yeast…. I assume that is Andrea’s problem.


July 31, 2014

Hi Andrea! Have you been getting the frothiness and smell, just not the rise? If so, keep feeding it! Sometimes it takes a little longer — even up to a month — for the yeast to really get going enough for a good rise. (Hopefully it won’t take that long, but don’t give up! If you’re feeding it regularly, it will happen.)

08.08 This Week I… | Waiting on Martha

August 8, 2014

[…] …seriously considered (for like the tenth time) about  baking my own bread. […]


August 8, 2014

Thanks sourdoughboy, no trouble here. A sourdough starter actually grows its own wild yeast.

Korrin Lawon

December 9, 2014

Hi I am on day 2. there was a hard crust layer to my starter today. Is that normal? I did the steps for step to, and stired it. is it supose to get a hard layer?


April 13, 2016

How do I take care of it once it’s alive? Should I keep it refrigerated? Or just on top of the fridge like, forever?

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