How to Make Sourdough Starter and Bread

A step by step guide to starting your own sourdough starter, no discard! Then learn how to bake easy no knead sourdough bread with me!

What is sourdough starter? Is it healthy?

Sourdough starter is a mix of flour and water, that is left out to ferment and develop a community of wild yeast. The yeast give sourdough foods a rich flavor, and they help make food you add sourdough starter to more nutritionally rich!

Think about other fermented foods like Kombucha. As the yeast and good bacteria eat they release nutrients that were “locked up” in the food, so we can absorb them.

Sourdough is super rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and is easier to digest for some people than regular bread. Check out this article from WebMD about Sourdough to learn more about the many healthy benefits!

How not to start a sourdough starter, mistakes I made.

I have tried the regular method of starting sourdough, and to be honest I failed my first time.

Most recipes have you remove most of the sourdough starter each day to “discard” (it doubles or more in size daily). You also use two different flours in most recipes.

I didn’t know what to do with the discard so it collected in a jar in my fridge.

Then I forgot about my starter for a few days. Both jars developed a layer of black liquid on top.

I read this article from King Arthur Baking to learn how to tell if your sourdough starter has gone bad, and mine had. I threw it out.

How to start a sourdough.

I learned the basic feeding structure of a sourdough starter is equal parts sourdough starter, water, and flour.

Using this science, I wondered what would happen if I started with just a fraction of the original amount. My goal was that by the end of the week I would have just enough starter to make a loaf of bread, feed the starter, and put it back in the fridge for one week.

I also hoped this method would create a more robust community of yeast, since I was allowing them all to survive each day and continue doing whatever yeast do. 🙂

How did it go? I am excited to say I was successful! I present to you:

The jess from earth MINI NO DISCARD Seven Day Sourdough Starter Recipe

You will need:

  • a kitchen scale
  • organic, unbleached, all purpose flour (I buy mine from Thrive Market, I’ll be testing locally milled flours soon!)
  • filtered water at room temp (no warmer than 110 degrees F)
  • a mason jar with lid (no band) or a cheesecloth to cover the jar (I started out in a smaller jar, and transferred to a bigger jar later, just make sure the jar is always double the size of your starter)
  • spatula or wooden spoon (never touch sourdough with metal)
  • tape or a rubber band to mark the level of the sourdough in the jar
  • a notepad to take daily notes
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Before you begin

First tare your scale out to zero, select grams, and weigh the jar. Write down the weight of the jar in your notebook. Always keep track of the weight of the jar you are using so you can measure how much sourdough starter you have.

Day One

Now tare the scale back to zero with the jar on it.

Add 5 grams of all purpose flour and 5 grams of water to the mason jar, stir with the spatula until well combined.

Push down the sides and level the flour mixture.

Cover loosely with lid (so air can escape as needed). Place in a warm spot to rise.

It will seem like an unreasonably small amount of mixture, because it is! Just trust me 🙂

Day Two

Today we will add 10 grams of water and 10 grams of flour.

Add the water and stir, then the flour. Mix well.

Level the mix and mark where the top of the mix is, cover with loose lid. Set back in warm place to rise.

Day Three

Add 20 grams of water, and 20 grams of flour.

Mix well, level, and mark the top of the mixture, cover loosely with lid.

I was starting to see a rise and bubbles by day 3 in mine.

Day Four

Today we add 40 grams of water, and 40 grams of flour.

Day Five

Add 80 grams of water and 80 grams of flour.

Day Six

Almost there!

Add 160 grams of water and 160 grams of flour.

Day Seven

You did it! You officially have a sourdough starter. Give it a name if you’d like!

You should now have enough fed starter to take half and bake bread or other recipes that require active starter.

Weigh your jar after you remove some to see how many grams of starter you have left and feed the same 1:1:1 ratio of starter, water, and flour.

So if you have 100 grams of starter in the jar, add 100 grams of water, and 100 grams of flour.

Storing Sourdough Starter

You can now store your sourdough starter in the fridge for up to one week without feeding it. Write in a calendar to remind yourself to feed it once a week.

If you leave it out on the counter, you will need to feed it everyday, or even twice a day if it’s warm. Whenever the sourdough rises and then returns to where it was before the rise is when you should feed it.

Now let’s make bread!!

jess from earth Easy No Knead Sourdough Bread

Step by step guide to make sourdough bread without kneading!

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Easy No Knead Sourdough Bread
Super easy, no knead, ready in one day, dutch oven sourdough bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 55 minutes
Servings 1 loaf


  • 1 Large glass mixing bowl
  • 1 Spatula or wooden spoon
  • 1 Kitchen Scale
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven


  • 156 grams Fed and bubbly Sourdough Starter
  • 360 grams Organic All Purposed Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water (100 degrees F)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Non Iodized Salt


  • Mix Sourdough Starter, Warm Water, and Salt in large bowl until mixed.
  • Add all of the flour at once, using the scale to measure.
  • Stir together with the spatula or wooden spoon, mix well, until a nice dough ball forms.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm area for 4 hours, or however long it takes to double in size.
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees with the cast iron dutch oven inside.
  • After the dough has risen, prepare a piece of parchment paper by sprinkling flour on it.
  • Dump the dough ball onto the left side of the parchment paper near the edge, form it into a rough loaf, and then use the parchment paper to flip it over into the middle of the paper so that the top of the loaf is now the bottom. Cut a few slits in the top of the dough.
  • Pick up all four corners of the parchment paper together, and using that to hold the loaf, drop it into the preheated cast iron dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake for 35 minutes with the lid on.
  • Take the lid off, and bake for ten more minutes.
  • Remove the bread and let it cool for one hour before you slice it!

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