The Imperfectly Perfect Sourdough Starter

Let me preface this with this statement; “Any task that I perform for my homestead which may be done imperfectly still blesses our home”.

This recipe is not going to be sharing the precise grams in weight or maintenance plan which you may find in those fancy Blogs or Videos. This is my tried-and-true process of maintaining a healthy and happy ferment since its inception.

Isn’t it ironic that the Starter began to gain popularity once again in recent years? There was a great influx when the pandemic hit, but as I recall there was a lot of chatter in the months before. I started mine around Thanksgiving of 2019 & lovingly named her Dolores. (Did you know that if you name your starter, you may be more likely to keep it going?) I think that philosophy actually helped me.

I kept her going throughout the entire “lockdown” period, through our big move across the country in the Summer of 2020, and she’s still alive & thriving today.

There have been times when I got down to a couple of tablespoons or had to put her dormant in the refrigerator, but it’s very easy to build back up and get it active again.


Here’s my Recipe and Maintenance for my two-year-old Sourdough Starter

Tools Needed:

  • Any jar with a lid, such as a Mason Jar
  • Breathable cover (like cheesecloth)
  • Glass Measuring Cup
  • Wooden Spoon


1. To get started, in the evening fill your jar with 1/3 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of clean, warm, filtered water. You can use any flour for this process EXCEPT for “bleached” flour – I tried it & it didn’t turn out well. 

2. Stir well, making sure all dry pockets are blended.

3. When you wake up in the morning, it should have multiplied. Remove 1/3 of your Starter and either discard it, or save it in a container in your refrigerator.

4. Now, add back 1/3 cup of flour & and mix it into your remaining Starter + JUST enough luke-warm water to incorporate into a thick pancake consistency  (this has become my secret weapon to a thriving ferment).

5. Cover and store in a warm place – around 70-80 degrees is ideal. You can keep it near a heater, fireplace (not too close that it bakes), a sunny window sill or your stove. When I am baking a lot, I wrap mine in a towel and leave it on the stovetop.

6. If you choose to keep the “discard”, use it up quickly because it can clutter up your refrigerator if you’re not careful. I recommend saving the discard only after it gets established, around day three or so. You can find many amazing recipes for this on YouTube.

7. Repeat this process for 10 days, then you can begin incorporating the Starter in Sourdough recipes. I have also begun to take it out with my hands and knead it just a little bit, so that it gets used to my touch. This has really helped my Wild Yeast to respond very well in my recipes! The important thing to remember is that your Starter needs just enough warmth to create those big beautiful bubbles. After around the 30 day mark, it should be well established with a nice bubbly appearance, feel spongy, glutenous, and smell like delicious Sourdough.

Now that “Dolores” is fully established, I use it and then when I know I won’t be baking for a while, I will feed, seal up tight & store in the refrigerator until I know I need it again (feeding every week or so). This way, I don’t have to start all over with the waiting process to achieve the good ferments again.

Thank you for visiting our Blog – Please let us know how your Starter is going by tagging us on Instagram. We would love to keep in touch!

Download this Recipe HERE


In Joy – Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead

The Best Homemade Sourdough Bread

One year ago this month, I embarked upon a journey into the wonderful world of Sourdough. It was almost as if I had a vision that in a few months, the whole world would be making homemade bread while in the 2020 quarantine. There have been many versions of this recipe – at one point, I simply gave up and tossed my starter in the refrigerator for three months.

But alas – I never gave up on creating the kind of Sourdough that I would buy in a Deli.

This is it...


Gather Your Tools:

  1. You must have an established Sourdough Starter for this recipe. If you would like to learn how to create one, visit my Instagram Account and watch my Starter Highlight.
  2. A medium Bowl
  3. A Dutch Oven or a Pot with lid
  4. Flour (can be any type – I used All Purpose Flour)
  5. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  6. Filtered Water
  7. Parchment Paper (not required)
  8. Sharp Knife
  9. Cornmeal (not required)
  10. Wooden Spoon
  11. Proofing Basket (if you have one)
  12. Towel


1/2 cup of Active Sourdough Starter

2 cups Flour

1 1/4 cup Lukewarm Water

3 cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of Fine Sea Salt


Do this in the evening so that it has a chance to rise for about 12 hours

In a bowl, mix starter & water together

Work in flour & salt with a fork

Cover with a towel for 30 minutes

Carefully fold into a ball

Cover with a damp cloth & allow to rise overnight in a warm spot

After about 12 hours, pull out dough and reshape it into a ball, being very careful not to deflate the sourdough bubbles

Place on a lightly floured flat surface and allow to set up for 15 minutes

Reshape once again & flour it so that it will not stick

If you have a proofing basket, place seam side up, or simply place in a bowl & cover again for 2-3 hours (you want it to double in size, so keep an eye on it)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with Dutch Oven inside to get it nice and hot

If you have Cornmeal, place some in the bottom of your Dutch Oven to keep it from burning

Carefully remove your dough & plop into cookware. If you have it, you can use a square of Parchment Paper

With a sharp knife, slice a few slits into the top (get fancy if you can – a pretty leaf or design can look very festive)

Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on

Remove lid and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes

Check for consistency – you can continue baking until desired color

Your bread should come out with a golden, cracked top and a thick crust

If you bake this bread from scratch, let me know how it turned out! Enjoy!!

Renee Weatherford

For more recipes and Homesteading Tips, head on over to our Instagram Page where we share our New Farm adventures in the Stories and Highlights.

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