Dehydrated Starter Instructions

Welcome to your sourdough journey! You can download the PDF instructions (that includes pictures) by clicking the button below.

Supplies needed:

• Wide mouth quart mason jar or a glass/ceramic bowl • Dehydrated starter/natural yeast
• Flour
• Water

*The term “starter” and “natural yeast” will be used interchangeably throughout.

Feed 1:

  • In the glass container, empty the packet of dehydrated sourdough starter from the packet into the jar.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water. Stir the water and dried yeast together.
  • Add a slightly rounded 1/4 cup of flour to the mixture and stir well. The consistency should be like a thick pancake batter.
  • The jar should sit on the counter with a light (non airtight) cover. A plastic lid or inverted canning lid works well.
  • This mixture will sit for 12 hours.
  • If the 12 hours ends at an odd time, like the middle of the night, waiting until morning is fine.

Feed 2:

• Now that the mixture has been sitting for 12 hours, feed it again:

  • Add 1/4 cup water and stir.
  • Then add a slightly rounded 1/4 cup of flour and mix well.
  • Use a dry erase marker or rubber band and mark the level your starter right when you feed it.
  • The starter is going to sit for another 12 hours. After 12 hours, see if the starter has grown. Seeing growth may take 2 feeds up to 10 feeds.

Feed 3:

  • Now that it has been 12 more hours, feed your natural yeast again. Stir in 1/4 cup water, mix well, then stir in 1/4 cup of flour and mix well. Mark your starting point to see if it grows.
  • If at this point the amount of starter is going to be more than can fit in your jar/bowl, you can start discarding a portion (about half) before you feed it.
  • Once your natural yeast is active, growing (near doubling in size) and has bubbles, it is ready to use. This takes time! As mentioned above, this may take you 2 feeding cycles or 10. It totally depends on how quickly it acclimates to your kitchen. Don’t give up! Keep feeding!

Taking care of and using your sourdough starter:

  • Check your recipe for how much starter is required and pour/scoop that amount into your mixing bowl. ALWAYS KEEP AT LEAST 1/4 CUP OF STARTER to use and feed for your next bake.
  • For the 1/4 or so that you are keeping, feed it (1/4 cup water and heaping 1/4 cup flour), mix, and leave on the counter or put in the fridge until you’re ready to use it again. To make a larger amount of starter, you can feed 1/4 cup of starter with 1/2 cup of water and a rounded 1/2 cup of flour.
  • The starter in your mixing bowl is ready for use.

Storing your natural yeast

If you are going to be baking with your natural yeast regularly, you can continuously feed it and keep it on your counter. If your baking is going to be less often, like once a week, store it in the refrigerator. It is very resilient and will still be fermenting in the fridge, just at a slower pace. When you are ready to use it again, plan ahead! The day before you want to use it, take it out and give it a good feed (1/2 cup water, slightly rounded 1/2 cup flour). You want it to be healthy and bubbly before you attempt to bake with it again. It may take 1-3 feedings to get it to there.


  • The temperature of your kitchen matters. Sourdough starter thrives at 70-85 degrees. The cooler the kitchen, the slower the yeast will grow. If your kitchen is cool, try to keep your starter in a warm spot such as the top of your fridge or near your stove.
  • You’ll know your starter is ready to use when it is active and nearly doubling size after being fed and has lots of bubbles. You can also test it by dropping a teaspoon sized amount in in water. If it floats it is ready to use! If it sinks, feed it again.
  • If possible, feed your starter with filtered water. The living microbes found in natural yeast are particularly sensitive to chlorine (and other contaminants) in tap water.
  • Save your “good” flour (kamut, spelt, einkorn, etc.) for making your dough, not for feeding your starter. Don’t use expensive flour for feeding your starter because essentially just the microbes are going to eat it, not you! When you are making your dough (or batter, etc.) use any variety that you want and experiment with different flours. I use organic, unbleached all purpose flour to feed my starter.
  • Thicker starter is better than thinner. It should be thick and gloppy, not thin and drippy.
  • If your sourdough starter has a dark liquid on it, it wants to be fed! Pour the liquid off and feed the natural yeast.
  • Once your sourdough starter is happy, feed it daily if kept on the counter and weekly if in the fridge.
  • If your starter is not bubbly, DON’T bake with it! There are two possibilities going on:1. There is no food left for the yeast to metabolize. 2. There are no active yeasts to eat what is there.Solution to both problems: feed it!
  • I have more tips in my Instagram highlights called ‘starter 101 and starter 102’. I walk you through feeding it and most importantly, what the consistency should look like.

I have a lot of posts on Instagram covering sourdough information, tips, tricks, recipes and more. This QR code will take you to all the posts in my sourdough guide.

Looking for Sourdough Recipes?

You can purchase my cookbook and get started on your sourdough journey! You can purchase my cookbook as a printed, physical book or as an instant PDF download. Click the button below to choose your book.

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