The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie tutorials or videos for cultivating yeast/starters

Letoatreides3508's picture

Newbie tutorials or videos for cultivating yeast/starters

Hi. I'm a little new here, and have been recently introduced to the joy of baking my own bread. So far I've done jalapeno cheese bread, french bread, and cinnamon rolls (which were 9 shades of yum).

As I fear I have become hopelessly addicted to amateur baking as a hobby, I'd like to start expanding on my basic skill set. I was interested in finding a tutorial about cultivating my own bread or cake yeasts. Unfortunately the tutorials I have found so far have been a bit lacking. They were written well and were informative, but when I'm a newbie at something I tend to gravitate towards 'hapless newbie' territory.


As I understand the cultivation process, to make my own renewable stock of yeast, I mix up flour sugar and water into a batter, and leave it to sit until the yeast forms. Then I take part of this batter and mix it in with my dough. What I'm wondering is as follows.

1.) Is there a reliable conversion chart to know how much of the batter or started to use as a substitution for store bought yeast?

2.) When I take out a portion of my batter, do I just fill the jar back up with a comparable amount of water, sugar and flour and just keep it growing? And where do I store it when not in use? Do I have to refrigerate, or do I keep it at room temperature? And how will I know if it goes bad?

Any helpful advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Also if there's a video series on youtube or an instructable or something that provides a comprehensive guide to this that would be great too. Thanks :)


ElPanadero's picture

to The Fresh Loaf

Your questions are amongst the most commonly asked here. There is a plethora of useful information to be found on the subject of "starters" or "wild yeast". I suggest you use the search box at the top right of your screen and search for "starters" and go from there.

Here's a link to be going on with:

Good Luck

PetraR's picture

You do not need sugar in your * Starter * you just need flour and Water.

I use bread flour, others like rye flour or whole wheat flour or a mix of wheat and whole wheat flour to start a * Starter * 

I started with 100g of flour and 100g of Water, mixed it all up until it looked like a thick pancake batter and used an airtight jar in which I put the mixture.

* Some say you should leave the lid a bit open but that is up to you, both ways work *

On day 1 I just stirred the mixture 3 times during the day.

On day 2 I just stirred the mixture 3 times a day.

On day 3 I left it alone all day.

On day 4 I took half out of the jar and discarded it and  added 100g of flour and 100g of Water, stirred it all up so that I got the same consistency * thick pancake batter * and closed the lid.

24 hours I took out half and added 100g flour and 100g Water....

I have mine in a Ball Jar with the Ring lid.


Ask 10 people how to start a * Starter * and you get 10 different answers.


I just put a paper kitchen towel over the top of the jar and screwed the ring close so that from now on the * Starter * could breath while waiting to be fed.

 When you take out your starter for you bread you just feed it 100g flour and 100g Water again.

I would advise to weigh the container that you want to put your Starter in first, so you always know how much Starter you have.


To the other questions, once you took the amount Starter for your bread just feed your Starter again with the 100g flour and 100g Water or whatever amounts you started your Starter with.

If you do not bake on a regular basis your Starter can be kept in the Refrigerator, just take it out once a week, let it come to Room temperature, discard half, feed it and let it sit for 1 hour before you put it back in the fridge.

Sometimes when you keep your Starter in the fridge there is either a clear liquid on top or even a brown liquid layer, that is fine, it is called * hooch * you just stir it back in before feeding your Starter.

It is hard to kill a Starter so do not worry.



RobynNZ's picture

Petra is right, everyone has their own way of working with a sourdough starter and when you get familiar with yours, you will too.

To get started, Paul's tutorial on establishing a starter, day-by-day posts illustrated with photos, is based on Debra Wink's tried and true method which so many TFL contributors have used successfully (it is the method in the handbook El Panadero has guided you to, set out as a tutorial).

If Paul's (TFL name Rainbowz) teaching style works for you, once you have the starter established you can check out his starter maintenance post.