Nourishing Traditions Sourdough Starter

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Baking with sourdough has so many health benefits. Did you know you can make your own Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter with just flour, water, and air? 

Nourishing traditions sourdough starter

Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter

Once you have an active sourdough starter, you can make so many things. Breads, pancakes, biscuits, and so much more. Sourdough starter is really easy to care for. Before you know it, you’ll have it worked into your kitchen routine.

Sourdough starter that is easy

The sourdough starter instructions in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon are really simple. It is really the best way to get started baking with sourdough. If you can mix flour and water together, you can make a sourdough starter. 

There are yeasts and bacteria that float around in the air all around us. With the Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter, those airborne critters are what will turn ordinary flour and water into a live, bubbly sourdough starter. 

Once you have your sourdough starter going and some Nourishing Traditions sourdough bread made, you can serve it alongside some homemade soup. Learn how to make my sourdough pasta recipe here. If you want to make healthy tortillas, get my sourdough tortillas recipe here, and also check out my sourdough pancakes.

I have a Nourishing Traditions chicken bone broth recipe, which you can check out here. I also have a delicious recipe for sourdough pizza crust, and for sourdough hamburger buns. Are you hungry yet?

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I can't believe how easy it is to make a sourdough starter at home! This is perfect for getting started baking with sourdough. #sourdough #starter #nourishingtraditions #recipe #sourdoughbread

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Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter basics

You’ll start by mixing 2 cups of freshly ground rye flour with 2 cups of filtered water. Freshly ground flour is ideal, because no oxidization has happened. All of the beneficial vitamins are there for our body to use. But if you don’t have a grain grinder, buying ground rye flour will work just fine. 

Rye flour is a really great option for a sourdough starter. Rye contains high amounts of an enzyme called phytase, which helps to neutralize phytic acid in fermented foods. I’ll talk some more about why this is so important in a future blog post. 

Sourdough starter day 1

Enough talk about enzymes. Let’s get mixing our Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter. 

Mix the flour and water well, and you’re done with the first step! Now you just have to cover the bowl with a breathable cloth, like a flour sack dish towel or some finely woven cheesecloth, and put it in a warm area. The top of the refrigerator or next to a Himalayan salt lamp can be good places for gentle heat during the cooler months.

How to make a sourdough starter

Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter care

Every day for the next 7 days, you’ll need to feed the sourdough starter. Do this by putting the starter into another clean bowl, and adding one cup of rye flour and enough water to make a soupy mixture. Mix well.

During this stage, it’s best to try to feed the sourdough starter around 24 hours apart. It’s okay if it isn’t exactly 24 hours, but try to be as consistent as you can for the best results. 

Follow the feeding directions for 7 days. After a few days, you’ll see the sourdough starter get bubbly. This bubbly action is from the yeasts and bacteria from the air starting to interact with the flour. Exciting, right?

After 7 days, the sourdough starter is ready for use. I’ll be sharing a Nourishing Traditions sourdough bread recipe soon, so stay tuned for that. You’ll need 2 quarts of sourdough starter for a batch of bread, and you’ll need to save one quart to start a future batch. 

If you have extra sourdough starter accumulating, I have 12 delicious sourdough discard recipes here

Sourdough starter brown liquid

If you have a sourdough starter of any kind, you might see a brown liquid develop on the top. This just means that the yeasts and bacteria are hungry and want to be fed. This happens more easily when the weather is warm and the sourdough starter is very active. 

Definitely don’t throw away a sourdough starter that has liquid on it. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Just feed it like you normally would, and all should be well. 

Sourdough starter fridge

If you want to bake frequently, like every week or more, you can keep your sourdough starter out on the counter and feed it every day. If you don’t want to bake that often, or if you will be gone on vacation, you’ll need to keep your sourdough starter in the refrigerator.

Keeping the sourdough starter in the refrigerator is like having the yeasts and bacteria go into hibernation. The cooler temperatures keep them alive, but they will be much slower and won’t need to be fed as often. 

To do this, just feed the sourdough starter normally. Put it in a jar with an airtight lid, and stick it in the refrigerator. It can go for about a week or two at a time in the refrigerator without being fed. You will need to take it out and feed it every 1 to 2 weeks to keep it alive. 

However… I’ve let mine go longer than that… shhh… don’t tell anyone. It has always bounced back fine after a few feedings, whew! 

Sourdough starter buy

Making a sourdough starter yourself at home is great. It allows you to start baking with sourdough quickly and easily, for no cost. Homemade sourdough starters work well for baking with a variety of wheat flours.

You can also buy commercial sourdough starters online. This is a good option if there is a particular flavor you’re after. For example, I used a San Francisco sourdough starter for a while

A commercial sourdough starter can also be good if you want to bake with a certain type of flour. My favorite sourdough starter that I bought online is fed with rye flour, but I can use it to make baked goods with any type of wheat flour. 

Sourdough starter instructions

Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter directions



  1. Measure flour and water into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Cover bowl with a breathable towel or cheesecloth.
  3. Let starter sit for 24 hours in a warm location. 
  4. Once a day for 7 days, pour mixture into a clean bowl and add one cup rye flour plus enough water to make mixture a soupy consistency. 

What are you excited to make with sourdough starter?

What are some of your favorite baked goods? Let me know in the comments!

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Rye flour

My favorite sourdough stirring whisk

Commercial sourdough starter that I use

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Yield: 3 quarts

Nourishing Traditions Sourdough Starter

Nourishing traditions sourdough starter

Baking with sourdough has so many health benefits. Did you know you can make your own Nourishing Traditions sourdough starter with just flour, water, and air? 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 7 days
Total Time 7 days 5 minutes


  • 2 cups freshly ground rye flour
  • 2 cups filtered water


  1. Measure flour and water into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Cover bowl with a breathable towel or cheesecloth.
  3. Let starter sit for 24 hours in a warm location. 
  4. Once a day for 7 days, pour mixture into a clean bowl and add one cup rye flour plus enough water to make mixture a soupy consistency. 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
The recipe in this blog post is from the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morrell. Learn more at Nourishing Traditions® is a registered trademark of NewTrends Publishing.

15 thoughts on “Nourishing Traditions Sourdough Starter”

  1. Hi Marisa! I ran out of rye flour. I have made bread from the starter and it turned out great. Can I feed the starter with soft white wheat or spring wheat from here on?

  2. What size container do you need if you don’t discard any of the starter ?
    Most recipes have you discard approx 1 cup.

  3. Hi Marisa,

    I love your site and all the help you have given our family through this journey. I am having a struggle at finding a recipe or completely natural product to help me style my curly hair. Any suggestions? I use oil now but it just doesn’t hold the curly for long.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Thank you so much! That is a great question. I have a heat protectant recipe and a leave in conditioner (you can use the search bar to find them) so those might be something good to try in the meantime. I hope those help! I will have to figure out a specific recipe just for this at some point 🙂

  4. Hi,
    Ive got nourishing traditions and made this recipe just fine twice. First time I got a working sourdough starter, but now my starter is struggling now the weather is getting very warm. It got white, dry and very off putting on top. So I tossed it. I started a new one but it isn’t working well. It rises and falls in about 12 hours and it forms a liquid on top. Should I feed my starter more often? Like every 12 hours instead if 24? Only problem is, the recipe comes out perfect so I could bake once a week. I already cut the recipe in half (I eat alone). What would you advice me to do?

  5. I love “Nourishing Traditions” and I love sourdough! Your tutorial looks so easy that maybe I will come off my own sourdough (that we have made in our family for decades) and give this a try!!

  6. Love this! What are some other flours that would work for this? I have spelt flour and kamut flour, so I was wondering if I could use either of those. Also, would spring water work fine for this?

    • Thank you! I think it’s best to start making the starter with rye flour, but once it is bubbly and active, you can definitely bake with any of the other flours. And yes, spring water should work fine 🙂


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