A jar of active Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter
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How To Make Sourdough Starter With Fresh Milled Flour

How To Make Sourdough Starter With Fresh Milled Flour, I share my step by step method to make this super simple! I did not realize the amount of people interested in learning how to make their very own sourdough starter from scratch beginning with the simple wheat berry!

A jar of active Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter

In this post I show you how you can make your very own sourdough culture with fresh milled flour. So, let’s dive right into it!

what you need to get started
Supplies I use to make fresh milled flour sourdough starter from scratch.

What Do You Need To Start A Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter?

There are only a few simple items that you will need to get started, and the great part is most of these may already be in your kitchen! Here are the items I recommend:

  • A clean glass jar, with a lid. But, you don’t want the lid to be sealed completely. Your starter is alive, and it needs to breathe.
  • Clean, unchlorinated water. I recommend bottled spring water if you are unsure if your water is chlorinated. Most city/county water is chlorinated. Chorine can kill your cultures.
  • Kitchen scale that weighs down to the gram. I like to use a digital kitchen scale, You can find mine, HERE. This will come in handy during the feeding of your starter, but also later for the recipes. Most sourdough recipes are written in grams.
  • Fresh Milled Flour. I like to use hard white wheat, but really you can use any freshly milled wheat berry. (I recommend you use hard white or hard red, because this is the flour you will need to make sourdough breads in the future, when your culture is ready.)

That’s it, just a few simple things to get started.

A Sourdough starter is alive, so it makes sense when we think about the things it requires to live and grow. It needs water, food, and air (needs to breathe.)

Cautions While Making A Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter

There are a few things to consider when making your own sourdough starter. If you use good hygiene and safety practices, then there should not be anything to be concerned about. Here are some things to look out for.

What To Watch For

  • Always observe your sourdough starter before using for signs of mold. This typically appears as pink, yellow, or orange fuzzy spots on the surface. (However, it could appear as any color.)
  • Don’t use your sourdough discard during the first week of making it from scratch. The good and bad organisms are battling, and it may not be safe to consume or bake with your new sourdough starter, until you see it doubling consistently.
  • Make sure to keep your sourdough starter in a place where pets can not get into it. Sourdough starter can be dangerous for dogs and cats to ingest. If this happens, please contact your veterinarian right away.
  • I don’t advise to keep your sourdough starter in the oven or microwave, because this increases the chances of someone turning on the oven or microwave, and this will cook your starter. There are times this can be resurrected, but typically it means you are starting a new one.
  • Don’t pour your sourdough starter down your drain, it is best to scrape any discard you are not using into the trash. This will save your plumbing, I promise!
  • DO experiment and have fun with sourdough recipes, even if they don’t turn out the first time, keep going. You will start to learn how your sourdough starter behaves and what it likes and doesn’t like.
Hooch is the black liquid on the top when your starter needs fed
You can see where the top of my sourdough starter looks black, or there may be black liquid, this is the “Hooch” I am talking about, it is not harmful. However, it is a sign that your sourdough starter is not being fed enough, and it is hungry!

Troubleshooting Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter Problems

Hopefully everything will go according to plan while you are making your sourdough starter with fresh milled flour from scratch. However, occasionally there are some things that can go wrong. So, let’s go over some of those together. Here are some common issues:

  1. No Bubbling: If your starter isn’t bubbling, it might not be active yet. Check the feeding schedule—maybe it needs more frequent or consistent feedings.
  2. Watery Consistency: If it’s too watery, you might be using too much water in your feedings. Adjust the flour-to-water ratio to make it thicker.
  3. Mold Growth: Mold is a definite no-no. Make sure your container, hands, stirring utensils are all clean. Throw all of this away, and start over from scratch.
  4. Lack of Rise: If your starter isn’t helping your dough rise, it might not be strong enough. Ensure you’re feeding it consistently and at the right ratios.
  5. Temperature Troubles: Sourdough starters love warmth. If your kitchen is too cold, it might slow down fermentation. Consider finding a warmer spot or using a heat mat.
  6. Inconsistent Feedings: Regular, consistent feedings are crucial. If you neglect your starter, it might lose strength or develop issues.

Remember, sourdough can be a bit fickle or a diva, but with some TLC and a watchful eye, you’ll likely get it back on track!

sourdough brown butter chocolate chip cookie
This is my Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

What Do I Do With Sourdough Discard?

So, during this beginning phase, it will seem like you are throwing away and wasting a lot of your sourdough starter. I know, I understand, I don’t like to waste things either. But, it is important to note, that while you are beginning this culture, it is having it’s own little battle inside.

fresh milled flour sourdough bread bowl carved out
I have a recipe to teach you how to make bread bowls once your sourdough starter is active and ready!

The Battle Inside Your Sourdough Starter

The first week or two, you should not use your sourdough discard. This is because of that battle between the good and bad bacterias & yeasts. It may not be safe to consume this discard, not until it starts doubling consistently. Then, it is ready to start using in your discard recipes, because this consistent doubling action is an indication that the good bacteria and yeast has won! YAY!

sourdough sandwich bread with fresh milled flour sliced on a cutting board with a jar of sourdough starter behind it
If you aren’t a fan of the traditional sourdough artisan loafs, I also have a recipe for sourdough sandwich bread.

If you want to see me making this sourdough sandwich bread, you can meet me on YouTube, I would love to have you! MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Don’t Throw Your Sourdough Discard Down The Sink!

Also, another important note that will save your plumbing in the future. Make sure to never throw your sourdough discard down the sink drain. Even if you run tons of water with it. This will create a thin layer after thin layer over time that almost resembles concrete in your pipes. Just toss it in the garbage until you can start using it in recipes.

hands mixing the fresh milled flour sourdough starter
Getting started mixing your freshly milled flour with unchlorinated water is all you need, so it’s just 2 ingredients!

Ingredients To Make Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter From Scratch

  • 50 grams of clean, filtered water (I like to use bottled spring water if unsure if it is unchlorinated.)
  • 50 grams of fresh milled flour (I recommend hard red or hard white wheat)

Instructions To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter With Fresh Milled Flour

First Three Days

  1. DAY ONE– Mix together 50 grams of water and 50 grams of fresh milled flour. Stir until no dry flour is left. Cover loosely and let this mixture sit for 24 hours. It is helpful to mark your jar at the top of your starter each time you feed it. Also, make sure you are keeping it somewhere at room temperature. (Not near any other ferments or cultures, they like to cross contaminate each other!)
  2. DAY TWO– Observe your starter, smell it, check it for any fuzzy mold. It should start to smell like it is fermenting. This day we are just checking on it, and nothing else. Continue to let it sit for another 24 hours.
  3. DAY THREE– Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next day. *You should start seeing a bit of activity on this day. It may start to smell somewhat sweet or fruity. It may have even risen at this point. (This is typically a false rise, and it will seem to lay more dormant after this first “false rise.” This large false rise usually occurs around day 3 or 4.)

Day Four Through Six

  1. DAY FOUR TO DAY SIX-Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next day. Repeat Each Day. It may go through times of very putrid smells, and may not rise at all during this phase. But, I promise, it is doing something. Inside there is a battle going on.
  2. DAY SEVEN– Now is the time that we will start feeding twice a day. You may be one of the lucky ones, and already have a doubling starter. But, even if you do, I recommend still feeding twice a day for 3-7 more days. This will make your sourdough starter nice and strong!

Day Seven To Fourteen

  1. DAY SEVEN TO DAY FOURTEEN– Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next feeding. Repeat Each Day, twice a day. (as close to 12 hours apart as you can.)
  2. DAY TEN– By day 10, as long as you have been consistent with your feeding your starter should be consistently doubling between each feeding. If this is the case, then your sourdough starter is ready to start using in any discard recipe! (If not, then keep up the good work of discarding, and feeding twice daily 12 hours apart.) I recommend these Sourdough Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, YUM! Just not quite ready to leaven bread yet…
  3. DAY FOURTEEN– Ok, as long as things have gone according to plan, and you did all the hard work, you should be ready to try your first loaf of bread! To know if it is ready to make bread, it should be at least doubling within 6-8 hours of your feeding. Your sourdough starter is letting you know it is strong enough to raise some bread, now it is mature, and it only gets better the older it gets. So, your first loaf of bread may not be perfect, but it will be a great point to jump on in!

Ready To Use!!!

  1. Now that you are ready to use your sourdough starter, make sure you are feeding it with enough food & water to use in a recipe, and still be able to keep 50 grams to feed for the next day. You never want to use up all your starter in a recipe. Then, you will have to start all over! (For example, if I want to make my cookies I mentioned above tomorrow, it calls for 120g of starter. So, I will make sure to feed my starter the night before extra 60g flour+60g water+50g starter = 170g total. I can use 120g for the recipe, and still have 50g to feed for tomorrow. So, just add up an make sure you have enough for whatever you want to bake the next day, and still have 50g remaining.)

Every Day Sourdough Starter Maintenance

  1. MAINTENANCE– Now that your starter is nice an active, you can leave it at room temperature, and feed (and discard) it at least once per day. It may be ideal to feed it twice a day, this is for optimum results. If that is not something you are able to do, or you are going on vacation, then you can place your sourdough starter in the fridge. Once it goes in the fridge, this will change the flavor a bit to be a bit more sour or acidic. Make sure to feed it (and discard) at least once per week, but the less often it is fed, the more sour it will get.
  2. HOOCH-If your sourdough starter gets hungry, or is in the fridge for a bit, then it may form a black liquid on top. This liquid is called “Hooch.” This is not dangerous, or bad. Just pour it off into the trash, and discard and feed. It is letting you know it is hungry!
  3. MOLD-If at any point you notice anything fuzzy OR pink, yellow, or orange on your sourdough starter this is likely mold. Unfortunately, your whole starter has been contaminated, and it needs to be thrown in the trash. Even if you think you can scrape it off the top, it is already all throughout your starter, and isn’t visible. Mold means it is not able to save.
sourdough bread made with fresh milled flour sliced showing the inside crumb
Beautiful crumb from a 100% fresh milled flour sourdough artisan loaf, see my recipe below! You can do this!

Preserving Your Sourdough Starter For Long Term Storage

Once your sourdough starter is mature & active, you may want to consider drying some out for long term storage. This give you piece of mind that you always have a back up incase something were to happen to your precious sourdough starter. I have a whole post on how to do this HERE.

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Checkout Some Of My Other Recipes

How To Dry Out Your Sourdough Starter For Long Term Storage

Sourdough Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sourdough Bread (Artisan Style Boule)

Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Sourdough Discard

Bread Bowls – Sourdough

Strawberry Cupcakes – Sourdough Discard

Sourdough Pumpkin Roll

Sourdough Recipe Index

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A jar of active Fresh Milled Flour Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter With Fresh Milled Flour

How To Make Sourdough Starter With Fresh Milled Flour, I share my step by step method to make this super simple! Learn this new skill to make your very own sourdough starter from scratch beginning with the simple wheat berry!
5 from 1 vote
Time Until It Should Be Ready 14 days
Total Time 14 days
Servings 1 sourdough starter

Equipment

  • 1 glass mason jar a pint jar should be fine to start with.

Ingredients
  

  • 50 grams clean, unchlorinated filtered water I like to use bottled spring water if unsure if it is unchlorinated.
  • 50 grams fresh milled flour I recommend hard red or hard white wheat

Instructions
 

  • DAY ONE- Mix together 50 grams of water and 50 grams of fresh milled flour. Stir until no dry flour is left. Cover loosely and let this mixture sit for 24 hours. It is helpful to mark your jar at the top of your starter each time you feed it. Also, make sure you are keeping it somewhere at room temperature. (Not near any other ferments or cultures, they like to cross contaminate each other!)
  • DAY TWO- Observe your starter, smell it, check it for any fuzzy mold. It should start to smell like it is fermenting. This day we are just checking on it, and nothing else. Continue to let it sit for another 24 hours.
  • DAY THREE- Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next day. *You should start seeing a bit of activity on this day. It may start to smell somewhat sweet or fruity. It may have even risen at this point. (This is typically a false rise, and it will seem to lay more dormant after this first “false rise.” This large false rise usually occurs around day 3 or 4.)
  • DAY FOUR TO DAY SIX-Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next day. Repeat Each Day. It may go through times of very putrid smells, and may not rise at all during this phase. But, I promise, it is doing something. Inside there is a battle going on.
  • DAY SEVEN- Now is the time that we will start feeding twice a day. You may be one of the lucky ones, and already have a doubling starter. But, even if you do, I recommend still feeding twice a day for 3-7 more days. This will make your sourdough starter nice and strong!
  • DAY SEVEN TO DAY FOURTEEN- Take 50 grams of your sourdough starter, add 50 grams of water into a small clean bowl, then stir. Add 50 grams of fresh milled flour, and stir to incorporate. Put in a new clean jar. Empty the rest of the sourdough starter into the trash (not the sink) and clean the jar for the next feeding. Repeat Each Day, twice a day. (as close to 12 hours apart as you can.)
  • DAY TEN- By day 10, as long as you have been consistent with your feeding your starter should be consistently doubling between each feeding. If this is the case, then your sourdough starter is ready to start using in any discard recipe! (If not, then keep up the good work of discarding, and feeding twice daily 12 hours apart.) I recommend these Sourdough Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, YUM! Just not quite ready to leaven bread yet…
  • DAY FOURTEEN- Ok, as long as things have gone according to plan, and you did all the hard work, you should be ready to try your first loaf of bread! To know if it is ready to make bread, it should be at least doubling within 6-8 hours of your feeding. Your sourdough starter is letting you know it is strong enough to raise some bread, now it is mature, and it only gets better the older it gets. So, your first loaf of bread may not be perfect, but it will be a great point to jump on in!
  • Now that you are ready to use your sourdough starter, make sure you are feeding it with enough food & water to use in a recipe, and still be able to keep 50 grams to feed for the next day. You never want to use up all your starter in a recipe. Then, you will have to start all over! (For example, if I want to make my cookies I mentioned above tomorrow, it calls for 120g of starter. So, I will make sure to feed my starter the night before extra 60g flour+60g water+50g starter = 170g total. I can use 120g for the recipe, and still have 50g to feed for tomorrow. So, just add up an make sure you have enough for whatever you want to bake the next day, and still have 50g remaining.)
  • MAINTENANCE- Now that your starter is nice an active, you can leave it at room temperature, and feed (and discard) it at least once per day. It may be ideal to feed it twice a day, this is for optimum results. If that is not something you are able to do, or you are going on vacation, then you can place your sourdough starter in the fridge. Once it goes in the fridge, this will change the flavor a bit to be a bit more sour or acidic. Make sure to feed it (and discard) at least once per week, but the less often it is fed, the more sour it will get.
  • HOOCH-If your sourdough starter gets hungry, or is in the fridge for a bit, then it may form a black liquid on top. This liquid is called “Hooch.” This is not dangerous, or bad. Just pour it off into the trash, and discard and feed. It is letting you know it is hungry!
  • MOLD-If at any point you notice anything fuzzy OR pink, yellow, or orange on your sourdough starter this is likely mold. Unfortunately, your whole starter has been contaminated, and it needs to be thrown in the trash. Even if you think you can scrape it off the top, it is already all throughout your starter, and isn’t visible. Mold means it is not able to save.

Video

Keyword fresh ground flour, fresh milled flour, making a sourdough starter, sourdough culture, sourdough discard, sourdough starter

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18 Comments

  1. Thank you Kara for this video! I used it daily while creating my first starter. If you’re inclined, I’d definitely be interested in how to dry starter as a backup.

  2. I just found you and I LOVE YOU. I love your story, your energy and your knowledge. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, experiences and mostly the detail!

  3. Thank you so much for your video and step by step post! I have been so nervous to start my starter from scratch because I couldn’t find much on freshly milled flour. I am on Day 10 and I am not doubling yet. I feel like it is fairly thick when I mix it up. Should I add more water or is it ok that it is thick?

    1. Welcome! I am happy to hear it is helpful! Mine starts out thick, then thins out by the next day. At day 10, you can start feeding twice daily, and that should do the trick. Also, just make sure you are not using chlorinated water, as that can kill off the organisms. Let me know how it goes!

      1. I have been feeding twice a day since day 7 and I am using bottled water. I will keep with it and hopefully it starts to double soon.🤞🏻

  4. 5 stars
    I started my starter, I’m on day 7 as of today, May 13, however we are leaving for a week on Thursday. My starter is doing great too I will add.
    Is there a way to preserve my starter until I get home?

    1. You can put it in the fridge once it is consistently doubling. Feed it heavy 1:2:2 ratio, let it rise on the counter. Then, put it in the fridge before it falls again. Cover, and let it sit in the fridge. I like to feed twice per week with a heavy feeding when it is in the fridge. But, it will do fine for 1 week without feeding. Just feed it heavy again once you get home. I hope that helps! Enjoy your trip!

      1. Thank you. I’m not sure about the ratio 1:2:2. Can you please explain? I’m a newbie to fmf and especially sourdough starter.
        Thank you

        1. Sure! So, a ratio of 1:1:1 would be equal amounts of starter, water, and flour by weight. (For example 50g of starter, 50g water, 50g flour.) That being said, a ratio of 1:2:2 would be 1 part sourdough starter, 2 parts water, 2 parts flour. (example 25g of starter, 50g water, 50g of flour.) I hope that clears it up. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Baking!

          1. Thank you for explaining. I thought that’s what it was but wanted to be sure.

  5. Hi! I have a healthy starter made with King Arthur flour, I am wanting to begin my fmf journey and am wondering if I can transition my current starter over by just feeding it fmf from now on? Or is it best to start a new starter using fmf right from the beginning?

  6. When you’re needing to feed the starter extra in order to use it for a recipe, how do you decide what ratio to feed it? In the instructions you mention doing 60g each of flour and water and still 50g starter as an example for your sourdough cookies. What decides that ratio? What if a recipe calls for a larger amount of starter?

    1. I have to play it by ear, if I only have 50g of starter, but my recipe the next day is going to require a larger amount, I will feed it with a heavier ratio. I try to stick with 1:1:1 ratio, unless I am making bread the next day, then I feed 1:2:2 to help make the starter stronger to be able to raise the bread. Sometimes if I don’t have a lot of starter left, I will just feed it so I have the amount I need for the recipe, and still some left for feeding to keep for the next day after. I hope that makes sense!

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