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How to Create Einkorn Sourdough Starter

Mastering Einkorn Sourdough Bread is a new collection of instructional videos, along with step-by-step recipes and photos, that will coach you on your journey to becoming an experienced einkorn sourdough bread baker. In Lesson 1, Carla demonstrates how to create an einkorn sourdough starter.

It seems only natural to bake einkorn bread with the same techniques used thousands of years ago, and if you have a sensitivity to gluten, it makes even more sense. Baking bread with sourdough starter is a very forgiving process that offers many health benefits.

  • Wild yeasts ferment dough without active dry yeast, creating a slower rise that enables enzymes to develop and digest starches and proteins.
  • Some believe that the creation of commercial yeast, used to speed up the bread-baking process, may be a contributing factor in making bread harder to digest.
  • Sourdough creates bread with a lower glycemic index.
  • Bread baked with sourdough is more flavorful and the bread will stay fresher longer.
  • A slow rise with sourdough is suited to the weak gluten in einkorn.

Creating your very own starter is the first step. It is not necessarily difficult, but the time it takes for the starter to become ready to use will vary from kitchen to kitchen. That’s the challenge, believing it will work and having the patience to see the process through to the end. Our process creates a firm starter, which is a bit trickier to get going, but longterm, it will reward you with a very stable starter that needs minimal maintenance and will live on for years to come.

Here are a few terms to understand:

  • Sourdough – Grains contain wild yeasts and they remain alive in flour. When these yeasts are mixed with water and left to sit out at room temperature, they ferment and multiply. The process is similar to making yogurt or vinegar, hence the word sourdough, which describes a sour piece of dough that you keep alive and use to bake bread. 
  • Starter – Once mature, a small amount of your starter will be mixed into a bread dough, causing it to ferment and form bubbles or make the dough rise.
  • Refresh – As your starter ferments, it needs fresh water and flour to consume in order to stay alive. Refreshing your starter means adding fresh water and flour to a piece of existing starter. At first, you will refresh many times to get your starter strong, discarding excess, then you will only refresh when your starter runs low.

Although we list cups and tablespoons in the recipe, we strongly recommend that you use a baking scale to measure all of the ingredients in grams, including the water. It will help make a mysterious process foolproof, especially with einkorn.

DAY 1

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix flour and water in a small bowl to form a wet dough that is tacky to the touch.
  2. Transfer the dough to a glass container tightly sealed with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature in a kitchen cabinet for 48 hours.

DAY 3

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. If you see a greyish hue on the surface of the starter, push it to the side. Spoon out the creamy golden starter into a clean bowl. 
  2. Mix water into the starter until dissolved, then mix in the flour and form a wet dough.
  3. Transfer this dough to a clean glass container sealed tightly with a lid or plastic wrap at room temperature in a kitchen cabinet for 24 hours.

DAY 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. If you see a greyish hue on the surface of the starter, push it aside with a fork. Spoon out the creamy golden starter into a small bowl.
  2. Mix water into the starter until dissolved, then mix in the flour and form a wet dough. 
  3. Transfer the dough to a clean glass container sealed with a lid or plastic wrap at room temperature in a kitchen cabinet for 24 hours.

DAY 5

Today is the first day you will refresh your starter, which you will repeat once a day until it rises up and forms bubbles within 6 to 12 hours. That may happen after a few days, or it may take longer. This is where the patience comes in, as the process does vary from kitchen to kitchen. People always ask, “how will I know when my starter is ready?” Until you see your starter bubbling in this time frame (6-10 hours), your starter is not ready for baking bread.

Until your starter is strong, you will only use a small piece to refresh from Day 5 onward (just 2 teaspoons or 10 g) and discard the rest. It may seem wasteful, but using a small amount of starter is important to help maintain the correct ratio of flour to water. Otherwise, refreshing large pieces of starter would be even more wasteful.

If you want to bake bread before your starter is ready, it will help to move along the entire process of strengthening your starter by cultivating wild yeasts in your kitchen. Simply bake einkorn bread using a recipe made with active dry yeast, but add up to a ½ cup (120g) of the excess starter that you were going to discard to the dough.

REFRESHING YOUR STARTER

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the starter in a small bowl. Add warm water and mix until the starter is dissolved and the water is creamy. Add flour and mix with a fork until most of the flour is absorbed. Roll the starter between your hands until the flour is absorbed, rubbing the bowl with the starter to pick up remaining flour. Transfer the starter to a sealed glass container and let rest at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
  2. Watch closely each day as the bubbles will increase and the activity of the starter will become more apparent. As it becomes more active, the amount and size of the bubbles in the starter will increase significantly and will change the appearance of the starter. It will spread out and the surface will seem pitted. When the starter rises up and doubles in size after 6 to 10 hours, you are ready to bake bread!


Once your starter is ready and your bread is rising nicely, you can refrigerate the starter. When you want to bake bread, remove the quantity needed and use it cold from the refrigerator to mix up the bread recipe. Leave the remaining starter in the refrigerator, and when it becomes low, use the recipe from Day 5 to refresh and replenish the starter, always letting the starter rise after refreshing for 6 to 10 hours. For the first six months, you should refresh your starter once a week to keep it strong. After six months to a year has passed, you can leave it refrigerated for longer.

As you keep baking bread, your starter will eventually become mature and will be strong enough to bubble up within 6 to 10 hours. In the photos below, you can see how Carla’s starter bubbles up after refreshing.

Refreshed at 8:30 AM 10:30 AM (after 2 hours)12:30 PM (after 4 hours)

2:30 PM (after 6 hours- it has expanded enough for refrigeration or baking)4:30 PM (after 8 hours- it has expanded enough for refrigeration or baking)
8:30 AM (after 24 hours- if you forget your starter out at room temperature for up to a day, don’t worry. Refrigerate the starter and refresh when low. )

Once your starter is established and you are regularly baking bread, you may want to make more than 2 to 3 loaves per week or you need more starter for straight sourdough recipes, like pizza dough. You can make a double batch using the following recipe.

REFRESH FOR LARGER BATCH OF STARTER

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the starter in a small bowl. Add warm water and mix until the starter is dissolved and the water is creamy. Add flour and mix with a fork until most of the flour is absorbed. Roll the starter between your hands until the flour is absorbed, rubbing the bowl with the starter to pick up remaining flour. Transfer the starter to a sealed glass container and let rest at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
  2. Watch closely each day as the bubbles will increase and the activity of the starter will become more apparent. As it becomes more active, the amount and size of the bubbles in the starter will increase significantly and will change the appearance of the starter. It will spread out and the surface will seem pitted. When the starter rises up and doubles in size after 6 to 10 hours, you are ready to bake bread!

If you are having trouble, please contact us at info@jovialfoods.com. We would be happy to answer questions and help you through this process. Thousands of our customers have used this recipe to create their very own sourdough starter, and we have seen pictures of their beautiful loaves of bread. You can do this too! We wish you the very best of luck.

82 Responses to How to Create Einkorn Sourdough Starter

  1. Carole Hardy says:

    Hello….I’m SO glad you finally have a video. I used your cookbook and had no other point of reference for sourdough….I’m so sad to say I threw out the whole thing after day 6 because I just didn’t know what to do and it wasn’t matching your cook book results. So frustrating !
    Anyway, I ended up grinding my own Einkorn berries instead of using your all purpose flour. So my starter is whole-wheat and very beautiful….not ready for bread baking but alive and well. Just today I found your video and congratulate you on the fine instruction. Thank you!

  2. We bought your book last week and ordered your Jovial Einkorn wheat berries. We have a YouTube channel and will be highlighting you on the video that comes out tomorrow. We have to grind the berries but can’t wait to make the sourdough and use wheat that will be so much better for us. Would love to explore the possibility of becoming an affiliate for you because there will be a large market through our subscribers. Thank you for your beautiful food and website.

  3. Vera Lowdermilk says:

    Hi! I’m so glad you made a video! I have been a loyal Jovial customer for quite a few years, and really want to make my own bread. I begged my French baker to make some bread with einkorn flour, and he finally did, and it was superb. But I need to learn how to make my own- so I started my starter today! Someday I want to visit the villa in Italy- that would be a dream come true! If you want ever need an accomplished Mural artist, I paint with a classical background and have many years of experience. I tell everyone about einkorn and several friends are now off modern wheat altogether. Best wishes, and thank you!

    • jovial says:

      Baking your own sourdough bread is so rewarding, we hope you give it a try. We would love to have you at the villa, it’s a fantastic time!

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for such a lovely cookbook Ms. Bartolucci. I started a sourdough starter January 2 with only the info from your online source. I had some issues and questions which were nicely covered in the book. My starter is now so incredible. It is the most perfect starter I have managed to make after many years. I love the mild sour flavor. I have been making great loaves of bread with freshly milled einkorn and I also made some loaves with your all purpose flour. I have had the greatest of success. I’m actually a bit surprised.
    I prefer deserts that are not very sweet. I noticed your deserts in the book are on the sweet side. Can I cut sugar proportions without changing the texture of the pastries. How much sugar can I cut from the recipes?
    Thank you.

    • jovial says:

      This is so nice to hear! Many people have problems with getting the starter going and so many do not, so we always like to hear things are working out. As for the desserts in the cookbook, Carla wanted to get the best possible results with einkorn to show people how perfect it can be, even though its gluten is different. You can definitely cut back on sugar, but some things may not turn out so good. It’s really up to you!

  5. Kim says:

    Thank you for the great video. Can you do one on your Classic French Boule? I have a few questions about that recipe, when turning the dough, what should you cover it with between turns? and while proofing? Also, if I want to make 2 small loaves in 1.5 qt dutch ovens, what would the bake time be? Thanks again.

    • jovial says:

      The Classic French Boule video is coming soon! After you turn the dough, you use a bowl scraper to scoop up the dough and return it to the bowl, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Once you are done with the turn, you should cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap so the surface of the dough does not dry out. For smaller loaves, I would try 30 minutes.

      • Carl says:

        Looking forward to the French Boule video have made it four times and would love to see a picture of your crumb. Have let it over proof and have the top of the loaf almost falls off when slicing. Have also let a sour dough Boule ferment ( first proof) in the fridge overnight great results and easier to fit into a busy schedule.

  6. SIROUN says:

    THANKS FOR THE VIDEO! GREAT TO KNOW HOW TO WORK WITH EINKORN FLOUR TO MAKE A SOURDOUGH STARTER. I’VE SEEN A LOT OF SOURDOUGH STARTER VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND EVERY SINGLE ONE IS DIFFERENTLY PRESENTED AND THEIR SOURDOUGH STARTER LOOKS HEALTHY AND GOOD. I’M CONFIDENT NOW TO TRY THE WAY YOU ARE EXPLAINING AND TRY A NEW STARTER NOW! THANKS AGAIN!

  7. Josephine says:

    I am happy to say I have a working starter made back in September 2016 from the recipe in your book. I take it with me on very long trips feeding it when necessary even if I’m not using it. My glass jar stays in the refrigerator sometimes up to 2 to 2 ½ weeks – under constant watch – but healthy and viable at all times. I was glad to view your video instruction as it explains so much even though I’ve been doing this now for over a year. Thank you for your beautiful book and all your on-line videos.

  8. Samantha says:

    1. When taking starter out of fridge, do i feed it immediately or do i need to wait until room temp?

    2. When can i return the starter to the fridge once i
    feed it? immediately or after so many hrs?

    3. When taking starter out of fridge, can i immediately use in recipe? or do I need to feed it first? do i need to wait to use it after i feed it?

    I am confused on the wait times etc.

    • jovial says:

      Thanks for posting these important questions. After refreshing your starter, you must let it rise at room temperature until it bubbles up and subsides (6 – 24 hours) before refrigerating it. You can use your starter to mix up levain or dough right out of the fridge because you will be mixing it with warm water. The same goes for refreshing, you can refresh cold starter from the refrigerator. Try not to refrigerate your starter until your bread is rising well. Refrigeration stops fermentation, so if you have a new starter, keeping it at room temperature is important.

  9. Denise says:

    Thank you so much for making this video! Since purchasing your cookbook and beginning to use einkorn flour I’ve tried a few times to make starter, but never made it to a strong & healthy one. Fast forward to day before yesterday and watching your video–aha! I mixed up a fresh batch and when I took it out of the cupboard today, day 3, to feed it, it’s very bubbly and nicely sour. Should I be worried that happened so quickly?

  10. sal4kids says:

    I am on day 21 of my third attempt to create a sourdough starter. I have been feeding it about every 12 hours for the last week or so, and it never seems to bubble. I let it go for 24 hours once, and the sweet yogurt smell went away. I was afraid I killed it! When I dig into the center of the ball of dough, it does have some air bubbles, but they never make it to the surface. Is it working correctly?

    • jovial says:

      Are you using a scale to measure the ingredients? Don’t refresh it until you see bubbling or every 24 hours. Why don’t you try to take 20g of this starter, add 45 g of water and 30 g of flour and let it sit out covered for 48 hours and see if you can get it started again? Repeat this, then refresh with the recipe for Day 5 every 24 hours. Always leave it out at room temp. Let us know if that helps.

      • Sally says:

        Yes, I am using a brand new scale, and am measuring everything very carefully. I am using bottled spring water, that I warm slightly. I needed a break from feeding the dough, so I put it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. I refreshed it again today, and am wondering if I should leave it out for 48 hours, like you suggested? Do you think it will work after being refrigerated?

        • jovial says:

          Yes, leave it out for 48 hours, but add 20g of starter and 1 extra tablespoon extra warm water. Refrigeration is tough on a new starter, it just makes everything stop fermenting, and two weeks is a long time. Not saying it won’t come to life, it’s just a little harder. Let us know how it goes after the 48 hours.

  11. rick Romines says:

    I started looking for a healthy way to cook for my wife as she has a gluten alergy. I have baked several different loafs of bread with very good results but the whole grain was a bit dense. The sour dough was good but I expected it to taste more sour or maybe its my taste buds. I really like the sour taste of sour dough bread. I think I need to work on my starter. your store does not have a proofing basket. Anyway thanks for your cook book and your devotion.

    • jovial says:

      If you want your bread to taste sour, just let the dough rise at room temperature for 3 hours, then refrigerate it for 24 hours. The longer it proofs at cold temperatures, the more sour it will taste. We are working on some new whole grain recipes for the website, so give those a try.

  12. Christine Canion says:

    I tried making the kefir sourdough bread this week and it didn’t turn out as well as I wanted. Would you consider adding a tutorial on this method? I saved a piece of the dough and am going to attempt to grow a starter, even though my bread came out very dense. I measured everything with a scale, but I don’t think my starter was active and bubbly enough when I assembled the bread (especially when I compare it to the starter you created in this video). I love making things with einkorn and have been afraid to make a starter because I was unclear on some of the steps in the cookbook –
    I thought I was going to end up with five cups of starter after 10 days! Now I know I have to discard all but 10 grams. I will keep my kefir experiment going, but I’m going to be brave now and try making a new starter using this tutorial. First, I need to order more flour 😉

    • jovial says:

      The success of the kefir starter often depends on the kefir itself. The starter made with flour and water is a much more stable and flavorful way to go. I would give the sourdough starter a try and let the kefir starter go, you can do it. Or you could take 10g of your kefir starter and keep refreshing it, converting it into the sourdough starter. Let us know if you have questions.

      • Christine says:

        Thank you. I did manage to keep my kefir sourdough alive, refreshing it regularly and I baked a few good loaves from it. However, some of the loaves have a much more sour taste than I like. Is there a way to modify this?
        Yesterday, I made a levain and refrigerated it because I was not ready to bake a loaf. When I took it out today and mixed in warm water to begin a boule recipe, the levain smelled very sharp, almost like beer and when I tasted it, boy was it sour! Was it too fermented? I tossed the levain. It broke my heart because it was so pretty and bubbly…………

        • jovial says:

          Kefir starter can be more sour. When you refrigerate levain, it does get a sour smell, but once you mix it with more flour and water, the flavor of the bread is not so sour. It sounds like you are letting things rise too much, which makes both bread and starters sour. Don’t let your dough expand to the point where it has double if you do not like a sour flavor. The times in the cookbook are for breads that do not have a sour flavor.

          • Christine says:

            Thank you for the helpful reply. In any loaf I have made, my dough has never doubled in size, but a few times I did have to proof my loaves for longer than the cookbook recommended because I wasn’t getting enough rise. I determined that my started wasn’t strong enough, so I kept after it. This week, after my levain fail, I refreshed my starter a few days in a row and made another levain. I was able to make a wonderful boule today that was not sour tasting at all. It truly is my best loaf so far! I’m very excited. I’ll keep working at it because I’m determined to master this skill 🙂 Thanks again, Carla and team!

          • jovial says:

            Sounds like you made a good judgement call, which is important in bread baking, since the experience of rising dough is different in everyone’s kitchen. Keep up the good work!

  13. Susan says:

    I’m on day four of my starter and yesterday I already had bubble in it I must have a lot of yeast in my kitchen. I’ve seen other starters that are really runny and am afraid mine isn’t right because it is thicker. I assume this is the way it’s supposed to be since mine looks like the picture above. Thanks for the great video. I’m thankful to have found your flour, I am gluten intolerant and have no reaction to your flour.

    • jovial says:

      That’s great that you can enjoy einkorn. If you are weighing all of the ingredients with a scale, then the thicker consistency is correct. Good luck!

  14. Sarah says:

    I’ve tried three times to get a starter going. But they either mold or smell horrid on day three. I’m following your instructions exactly. Should I let it set for 24 hour instead before feeding the first time? Why is this happening?

    • jovial says:

      That is really strange to see mold on day three. When you say you are following the instructions exactly, are you using a scale? Do you use a container that has been cleaned and dried in the washing machine? Are you covering the container tightly? Are you seeing any bubbles? You could try cutting the first day to 24 hours and see how that goes, but 48 hours is pretty standard. What type of water are you using?

  15. Julie says:

    I need a bit of clarification. On day 5 , when instructions say to “leave out”, does that mean on the kitchen counter in daylight or should I place the container back inside a kitchen cabinet? Thank you in advance.

  16. Susan says:

    I’m confused. My starter has been going now for a few weeks and is reliably bubbling and doubling within the 6-10 hour window. I have only been feeding/refreshing once per day and I haven’t moved to the refrigerator yet.
    My confusion is about the instructions…is the intent that the starter be refreshed twice per day or just once? The video says every 24 hours, but the book and this posting seems to imply that twice daily is recommended. Please clarify. I’m fine with whichever approach is best, but I’d like to know what that is — every 12? Or every 24? I want a strong rise in my breads!

    • jovial says:

      The book says to refresh more, but people were having trouble so 24 hours was indicated later in the video. It sounds like you are ready to bake and refrigerate your starter. Just make sure that you refresh it at least once a week, twice is better. If you have to book, pick a recipe to try using the sourdough levain method, not straight sourdough. Just keep an eye on proofing times, the book says 3 to 5 hours, but that is when your starter is strong, you might need 5 to 10 with a new starter. And don’t bake until you shaped dough rise, even it takes a few hours. As you progress, things will move along quicker. The more you keep the starter at room temperature, refreshing every 24 hours, the faster your starter will become strong, but you can also refrigerate if that is not realistic. Congratulations and good luck!

  17. Elisabeth says:

    Help! I need some help troubleshooting! I am following your video step-by-step, weighing out all the ingredients, etc.

    After the first 48 hours I was surprised to see a lot of air bubbles in my starter. I also had the grey coating. I followed the directions and continued on.

    On day 4 or 5 I started noticing less air bubbles but did notice the sour smell. I had less grey coating and continued on but started getting NO air bubbles after this. Also, the sour smell is gone.

    My starter also doesn’t “do” much in it’s 24 hr rest. At first, it seemed to spread and thin out. Now I looks pretty much like I left it the day before when I open it.

    I’m on day 10 now. No more air bubbles at all. No more sour smell. No more grey coating.

    Did I kill my starter???? Should I start over? Or just keep up w/ the refreshing until I see some action?

    I am using filtered well water. We have a whole house filtration system. And I am using the Organic AP Einkorn Flour by Jovial.

    I’d appreciate any insight on my starter! Thank you! And I REALLY appreciate the videos!

    • jovial says:

      it sounds like you are doing everything right! If you look on the bottom of the container at the part of the starter that is on the bottom, can you see bubbles? The gray will not appear after the starter reaches a certain pH so that is good! Keep refreshing 2X per day until bubbles appear on the surface and the starter is spread out and no longer in a ball after 6 to 8 hours of rest.

  18. Julie says:

    Hello again! Susan’s Feb 22 2018 asked same questions I had. Book says to refresh twice daily from day 5 until bubbles appear. This was amended in video to once per 24 hours. But now Elizabeth’s Feb 25 2018 question addresses similar issues to mine. The reply instructs to keep refreshing 2x per day. I’m so sorry to belabor this question. I’m on day 18. No bubbles on top of dough or visible through bottom of glass dish looking up into dish. No sour smell, no more gray. Dough ball spreads a bit and “puffs” out increasing in size maybe 50%. But no bubbles like with Carla’s beautiful starter.
    When I’m refreshing (and hopefully building) the starter daily, it’s consistency is thicker than before…yet still no bubbles.
    Please forgive this lengthy entry. I love Einkorn flour and the Einkorn cookbook. I really want to succeed at this. Thank you in advance for your reply and for wonderful videos.

    • jovial says:

      Are you weighing the flour and water? It sounds like your starter is on its way if it is expanding by 50%. If things are moving along slow, it is better to wait 24 hours between refreshings. We are not sure why some people’s starter bubble up quickly and others take longer. Try adding an extra 15g of water and see if that helps you see some bubbles, but make sure you go back to the refreshing recipe thereafter.

    • jovial says:

      You can refresh 2X per day to move things along faster. You can refresh 1X per day if this is all you are able to fit into your schedule. Please send photos to info@jovialfoods.com and we may be able to give you more tips. Spreading and puffing sounds like it’s working!

      • Susan says:

        In my experience (only since January using Einkorn, and totally new to making sourdough of any kind) the turning point for me was the warm water and warm rising conditions. Water at 100F (or at least above the mid 80s) and using a warming drawer set on low — these two things were like turning on a light switch after 3 weeks of no success (using someone else’s approach). Many kitchens are not warm enough, mine included. The ambient temp in my warming drawer at mid 80sF is working beautifully. Use s thermometer for the water. I use it at every feeding. Also, if you look at the starter at about 10 hrs +/- (depending on how far along your starter is in the process) you’ll see a lot more rise and bubbles than at 24 hrs. There is a peak rise and then a slight fall by 24 with some of the bubbles diminished. The other thing I did to kickstart things is used organic potato cooking water (filtered of course when first used for cooking) reheated. I’d read that that can really get the starter jumping and it did. I’ve also fooled around a bit with hydration. I stick pretty close to the 10-30-60 formula. But when I play around and hydrate it a bit more, I get huge bubbles. I don’t know if this is true, so only guessing, but I think that higher hydration might require more frequent feeding. I think the low hydration approach may sustain the starter longer.

        • jovial says:

          Thanks for your comment, 100F water is very important to get the starter warm and covering the starter with an oven mitt or kitchen towel helps. We do not recommend using potato cooking water or introducing other ingredients in the starter, it just makes the starter unstable. We are looking for the establishment of a strong starter that is longterm and not needing much maintenance, that’s why the ration of water and flour are what they are. Changing the ratio is not recommended because this formula gives the best-flavored bread and durability unless you live at a high altitude. Glad you are doing well with your starter.

        • jovial says:

          You can also call our too-free number and talk to Lauren, she has created a starter for herself and can help with questions. Good luck!

  19. Jessica says:

    Hello,
    I love the new videos! I have a question about feeding my starter once I have more. I want to keep more starter, as I bake a lot and I’m confused about how much to feed a larger quantity. How much do you recommend feeding when you have more than 10g to maintain? Thanks!

  20. Denise says:

    High altitude?! Shoot! I didn’t think of that making a difference. I’m at 5100 feet. How should I alter the instructions? I’m several weeks in and still don’t have big bubbles or bread which rises without yeast.

    • jovial says:

      We have not been able to test recipes at high altitudes, but your starter may just need strengthening. Use bottled water and refresh at least once per day until the starter spreads out and bubbles are visible on the surface.

  21. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. I started my starter on Friday and completely forgot about it until Monday. LOL
    I opened it up, it had lots of dimples and it totally smelled fermented. I went ahead and used about 12g of the underneath part and added the water and flour from day 3. I am hoping I didn’t mess this up.

  22. Sam says:

    Hello, I have a question about what to do when the starter is working almost too well? On day three (today), my starter was bubbling like crazy, and smelled like parmesan cheese. I mixed in the new flour and water, and now, six hours later, it has doubled in size and is once again bubbling like crazy. I’m not sure if I should leave it out for the remainder of the 24 hours, or will the yeasts use up all of the food in the flour and expire? Should I put it in the fridge, or maybe feed it again? Thank you so much for your help.

    • jovial says:

      That’s great news! I would keep moving forward as recommended, but move to the next step in 12 hours instead. You can always put it in the fridge to slow down the activity.

  23. Michelle says:

    Hi. I am on day 14 and have some bubbles at the bottom but it’s not doubling in size yet. Should I continue refreshing once every 24 hours? Someone I go longer than 24. Is this hindering the process?

    • jovial123 says:

      As long as you have bubbles then the fermentation is working. Try to refresh at least every 24 hours to keep the starter maturing. You can refresh every 12 hours and that will speed up the process.

  24. Ashley Coles says:

    I am thrilled that you have posted these “lessons” with the videos! I gave my first start a few months and it just didn’t seem right. I found the video and it filled in some questions I had. I’m happy to say I started a new starter and it looks perfect! Thanks you!

  25. Mary says:

    I have a starter that is working great. And I have refrigerated it. But if I don’t get to baking any bread for a week, and I need to refresh it (right?), am I supposed to take only 10g and throw the rest away? I think I’m confused about the refreshing process when I don’t need to bake any bread for a while…?

    • jovial says:

      If your starter is working great, you can refrigerate it. You do not discard starter once it’s mature, you use it in your bread. For example, let’s say you have 60g of starter in your refrigerator and you go on vacation for 10 days. When you return, bake a loaf of bread. If you use a levain, take 50g of starter instead of 25g and use that. Refresh the remaining 10g, let that rise, then store it in the refrigerator. The amount of starter you use in a recipe is flexible so you can use a little less or more, to use up extra you might have. Sometimes, I only have 10g left for refreshing and 15-20g for a levain, but all turns out well. If your starter is more than 3 months old, you can refresh it less, even once every 2-3 weeks. That is why this starter is dry, it maintains itself well. The flavor of your bread will change slightly if you refresh less, it will be sharper, and refreshing once a week keeps everything rising really well too.

  26. Andrea says:

    I started my starter on April 1, using the instructions from the book. I use a scale and digital thermometer for accuracy. Everything seemed to be progressing wonderfully — by Day 3 it was bubbling like crazy. Then, I got to the “refresh” part and I haven’t seen a bubble since. It expands and “melts” from the ball shape to a puffy “muffin” shape — but no bubbles, not even the little pinholes that I see in your examples. So, yesterday and today, I tried your idea of using a few more grams of water. Still nothing except, of course, a more slack starter after 10 hours. Any suggestions? It has been 13 days…

    • jovial says:

      Once you get to Day 3, you working with a starter that has less water. Once this type of starter is working, it is very easy to maintain. If you are not seeing a rise after refreshing and it’s been 10 days, let the starter sit out at room temperature for 24 hours before refreshing again. I bet in few days you’ll be seeing some action.

    • Andrea Vaccaro says:

      Well… I started over on April 28th. I decided that maybe the problem was that I went to my vacation home and although the water was filtered, it wasn’t from the same water source. So, maybe my starter didn’t like the abrupt change. Today, I tried my second attempt at starter for my first loaf of brad, using the miche recipe from the book.

      I wish I knew how to send you a photo because it is simply gorgeous!

      Thank you, Andrea

  27. Elisabeth says:

    Hello my daughter and I are trying to make your Einkorn sourdough starter as a homeschool baking project in hopes of more exciting baking endeavors.

    We have just finished refreshing the starter for Day 4. We are using the 48g whole grain einkorn that we grind ourselves. The starter yesterday had the bluish gray top layer that needed romoved and was quite thick. Today there really was not any bluish gray color, but maybe 1 or 2 bubbles and a strong odor. The concern is that the starter is VERY THICK and doesn’t look at all like the video. Could you comment on the thickness? Should we be concerned? Perhaps we dusted our hands with too much flour Day 1 to work with?

    • jovial says:

      No, if you are measuring the ingedients with a scale (even the water), the consistency is correct. The whole grain starter is a little firmer than the video.

  28. Martha says:

    I have a mature whole wheat starter that I’ve used for quite a while. I just tried it with spelt and it came out well although a bit dense. Can I use it with the einkorn flour with decent results? It is more liquid than what I see here. There are no health issues involved and I’m anxious to try this flour!

    • Jovial Customer Service says:

      we recommend following the recipe exactly for best results and always weighing your ingredients. The more you refresh your starter the stronger it will get.

  29. Hi, there! I’m on day 3 of making my starter, but my mixture is a lot drier/denser, no so much sticky or wet. I would say it looks more like day 5 in this tutorial. Could it be that I live in a very dry climate at high altitude? Should I be making adjustments, or will it be okay?

    • jovial says:

      If you live at high altitude, you may have to add more liquid. The starter should not be dry on day 3, but be careful not to add too much extra. Try adding 10g extra through the process.

  30. claudia de la garza says:

    Hi I need help please. 😉 I started my starter on May15 at 3pm, using the instructions from the blog and video. I use a scale and digital thermometer for accuracy. And on May16 at 7:00 am my starter was full of bubbles and double in size with a grayish film on top and a very odd smell I want to say almost cheesy or alike. I do have to say that I bake a GF sourdough often and have my GF sourdough at room temperature all the time. So my question is if is normal that was bubbling like crazy in the first 12 hours, also I have never made a wheat sourdough mine is normally just rice and buckwheat and smells very differente. I haven’t refreshed it because is suppose to be refreshed on day 3. Please advice me should I start again or all that is normal? and also want to thank you for your proudcts I love your tomatos. 🙂

    • jovial says:

      There is no need to start over. Since you are already working with a starter in your kitchen, you have a lot of wild yeasts in the air. That’s a good thing. On Day5 onward, the starter will convert to a drier dough that won’t bubble so much or so fast. Sound like things are going well.

  31. Heidi says:

    I have followed this, and probably at about day 10–and my starter is ready. I plan to make a levain and make your boule recipe. However, I am confused on what to do. I will use the amount I need for the levain…what do I do with the rest of the starter? Do I continue throwing some out everyday for eternity, or am I at a point that I can just keep feeding it. If I keep feeding it, how do I determine how much to feed each day?

    • jovial says:

      When you starter make your bread rise, you never discard starter anymore. You use pieces to bake bread until it runs low, then you refresh again to replenish the supply. If your starter is only 10 days old, your bread might bake up dense. Make sure you lenghten the rising times until you see the dough actually rising. Continue to refresh and bake until things look good. Then refresh only when needed. We have a few more vidoes, one for levain and one for boule. Check our blog, recipe section or youtube channel.

  32. Debbie says:

    Just began a starter following your directions. Weighing, using water from a Berkey, glass bowl with lid. At the end of the first 48 hours, it is a fluffy, bubbly thing. Little gray, scraped away, and liquidy on the bottom. What does this mean? I’m proceeding, but don’t know what to expect.

    • Jovial Customer Service says:

      Keep following the instructions until at least day 6. It will likely go through a period of few or no bubbles while the pH and acid levels adjust, and final starter should be firm and have lots of visible bubbles on the surface and inside.

  33. Miel says:

    Hello, my starter is on day 19 and since day 9 I always see a big amount of bubbles when i push away the gray surface, but never on top. Is this normal, or do I have to see bubbles on the surface aswell? I’m using whole-grain. I already see the bubbles after about 6-8 hours after refreshing. Am I ready to bake with it yet and make a levain? Thank you.

    • Jovial Customer Service says:

      If the starter is spread out and not in a ball shape anymore after 6 hours, and if it has a sort of pock marked look to the surface, then try baking with it! You may need to refresh more to strengthen, but it sounds like you are ready.

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