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Sourdough Starter 101

We welcome our local bread wizard, Matthew Ness to share his knowledge about sourdough starters. This is only the first step in the process of bread baking but one that often intimidates people. In actuality, it’s quite simple! Follow along to make your own and start experimenting today. Make sure to check out the recipe and notes below for tips, tricks, and reminders for sourdough starter success! *If you’re gluten free, do check below for a super special resource from a dear friend, Aran Goyoaga!*

Feel free to ask follow-up questions here and we’ll get you answers as soon as we can.

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What You’ll Need:

Digital Thermometer
Digital Scale
Silicon Spatula
Mason jar with lid
Stainless mixing bowl

Things to be Mindful of:

  • Check if your water is chlorinated, if yes, set out overnight or use filtered!
  • Optimal temperature is 26* C or 79* F
  • Use locally-grown, recently-milled, 100% whole-grain rye flour for optimal starter, if possible

Quick Notes:

  • Equal parts flour and water = 100% hydration
  • 50g flour to 100g water = 50% hydration
  • Rye flour starter = dense, loaf of rye sourdough
  • Whole-wheat starter = lighter loaf of wheat sourdough
  • White starter = baguettes, focaccia, buns, sandwich bread, etc.

Sourdough Starter Discard Ideas:

Gluten-Free Baking Resources:

  • Aran Goyoaga is an incredibly talented and passionate gluten-free sourdough artisan and baker in general, not to mention her stunning photography skills. She is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to the way she captures food and emotion. Please make sure you check out Aran’s new book Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple (just released!), as well as all her books here — it will be a challenge for you not to enjoy these whether you eat gluten or not!
  • Aran also offers online courses for gluten-free baking through her course page here. Hope you enjoy!

Basic Sourdough Starter


  • 50 g flour Choice of: white / bread, whole wheat, rye, spelt, etc. Must be a gluten-containing flour!
  • 50 g warm / room temp water Un-chlorinated / filtered


  • Mix all together, place in a sealed container or jar and let stand at room temperature (warm) for about 24 hours.
  • You will end up with 100g of a “paste” after this time. Discard ½ of it leaving 50 g of paste and repeat the recipe again, adding 50 g of flour and 50 g of water to it. Mix well and let stand for another 24 hours, covered.
  • Discard all but 50g again and repeat feeding once a day for about 7-10 days, and you should have a viable starter culture.
  • Maintain at slightly above room temperature for extended periods of time or keep in the fridge for inactive periods of baking.


Makes 100-150g of fresh sourdough starter (will grow each active day)