How To Care For Your Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

Emily Woody

To feed your whole wheat sourdough starter:

Take your starter out of the fridge. Take 25 grams ( 1 big tbsp) of sourdough starter and put it into a new jar. Put the discarded sourdough starter back in the fridge with a loose lid so it can breathe and use it for recipes that do not require a significant natural rise, like waffles, pancakes, and green onion cakes.

Add 90 g (100 ml) of warm water to the new jar and whisk together with a fork until no clumps remain.

Add 100 g (about ¾ cup) of whole wheat flour to the jar and mix until no clumps remain.

Cover the jar with one of a jar cover, clean cloth, or beeswax wrap. Place the jar somewhere that stays consistently around 21 c. Your starter will be ready for baking when it has risen significantly, is bubbly, and smells sweet (this will take about 4-7 hours depending on the ambient temperature). If you are not baking, put the starter back in the fridge after about 2 hours on the counter. 

Please note

  • Remember never to use all of the refreshed sourdough starter up, because you will need to keep some to build a new starter back up.
  • The starter can live in the fridge while you are not using it, but it should be refreshed (fed) twice a week, even if you aren’t baking. It will be ready for a feeding when it looks overly deflated and/ or develops a hooch (liquid on top). The hooch is harmless, just pour it off before feeding it
  • Because this is a whole wheat starter, it is best to feed it whole wheat flour. We use Hard Red Spring flour 
  • You can save your discarded starter to make waffles, pancakes, green onion cakes, or other items that do not require a significant natural rise. Simply keep the older starter refrigerated and either use it within the week or feed it equal parts by weight of flour/water (around 60 g flour/60 g water) to keep it alive until you use it up. Aim for feeding the starter about ⅓ of its volume.
  • All flour, baking environments, and sourdough are unique; use your best judgement and intuition to ultimately decide what your starter needs


For those of you who want to master the art of sourdough, I recommend the book The Sourdough School by Vanessa Kimbell. 

You can also find great sourdough recipes, tips, and inspiration online at The Sourdough Blog and at The Perfect Loaf Blog

Want to know what to do with all your excess sourdough discard? Check out our sourdough discard recipes:

Happy baking!