Potato Flake Sourdough Starter

Potato Flake Sourdough Starter

This potato flake starter is my go-to for making sourdough bread. Many of you have asked me about sourdough, and I must admit it is not an area in which I am strong. It's taken me years to find a system that works for me. 

"I'm sorry," I told Herman as I looked at his lifeless liquid sitting in his mason jar. I had killed "Herman," my sourdough starter, for the second time. What was I doing wrong?! Well, I knew what I was doing wrong. I just had to admit it to myself. I had murdered Herman because I neglected him. 

Potato Flake Sourdough Starter 

What went wrong?  

Your sourdough starter is a living thing! The yeast you will use to create your starter is a single-celled microorganism classified as a fungus kingdom member. Yep, that yummy bread you can't get enough of is because of a fungus! But you must feed, nurture, and check on it so the yeast will start growing and create good bacteria and bubbles, or it will die. I have found that this is where most people, me included, fail. So, let's go over all the steps to help your starter thrive! 


mason jar filled with sourdough starter


Sourdough Starter Recipe:

First, we have to create our starter. 

Tools Needed: 



  • 1 pkg. or 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 Cup of warm water (110º - 115º)- I always use filtered water and place it in my kettle to warm it up. 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Instant potato flakes 

 Jar for starterPotato Flakes in Mix

Making/Mixing the starter: 

  1. Have a decent-sized glass jar ready, such as a quart mason jar. 
  2. Starter Mixed Inside Jar
  3. Mix all the starter ingredients inside your jar. I like to take a paper towel, fold it, place it over the opening, then secure it with the metal sealing ring. The covering will allow the necessary airflow while keeping unwanted things out of your starter. 
  4. Let stand on the counter for 24 hours at room temperature. 
  5. After 24 hours, place the jar in the refrigerator for three days. Set the alarm on your phone, or write it on your calendar so you will remember! 
  6. Feed it with 1/2 cup of sugar, three tablespoons of potato flakes, and 1 cup of water on the fourth day. Stir it and keep it at room temperature for 24 hours. 
  7. You can now use one cup of the starter to make your bread. 
  8. Store the remaining starter in the refrigerator and feed every four days. If I am going to make bread constantly throughout the week, I leave it out on the counter.
  9. If you are not going to make bread that week, discard 1 cup of starter and then feed. 


Keeping Your Starter Alive: 

Remember that good bacteria and bubbles, well that is part that helps to leaven (rise) your bread. It keeps you from using commercial yeast whenever you want to make bread. Your starter mix is also what gives sourdough its signature tangy flavor. But you have to keep feeding your starter to keep it alive. 

Bubbles in Sourdough Starter 

To Feed "Herman" the potato flake starter: 

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp potato flakes

Mix the ingredients in a bowl/ glass measuring, then add to your starter.  

Feeding Potato Starter Mix


Staying Alive, Staying Alive, Ah, ha, ha, ha 

  • Consider a name for your starter while waiting. When I started to think of my starter as something living, I took better care of it.
  • Make sure it can "breathe." If I used the metal lid with the ring, I would shut it too tight, and my starter would die. Some people use tea towels with rubber bands around the mouth of the jar, too.  
  •  It also helps to keep it out where you can see it, whether on the counter or in the fridge.
  • You can even set a weekly alarm on your phone to remind you to make bread or feed your "Herman." 
  • We also have a printable vintage-inspired cottage pantry label available in our online shop here: Sourdough Starter Label 
  • Sourdough Starter Label


Making Sourdough Bread: 

I recommend reading the following instructions before jumping to the recipe and starting. A couple of time restraints will dictate when you need to start making your bread. Getting your timing right is also where people fail because it fits outside your family/work schedule. So, consider timing your baking time for the weekends or days/times you can make and bake your bread. 


Ingredients for Sourdough Bread: 

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 cups warm water (110º - 115º), filtered

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp salt

1 cup starter

6 cups of bread flour or all-purpose


Steps for making Sourdough Bread: 

  1. Stir together all the ingredients except the flour in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add flour a little to the other ingredients, mixing well. 
  3. Knead your dough for 5 minutes. Kneading is essential: set a timer and give your muscles a good workout! 
  4. Kneading Dough
  5. Put the dough into a large, greased bowl. Then, turn it over so all sides are greased. 
  6. Sourdough in Greased Bowl
  7. Cover the bowl with a tea towel. Make your tea towel and bowl beautiful so that a spark of joy lights up in your heart every time you look at it, but that's just me. Place it on your table or somewhere you can see it throughout the day. Let rise at room temperature overnight for 24 hrs. 
  8. Bread Rising in Bowl Covered With Tea Towel
  9. Now, divide your risen dough into three pieces, making three loaves of bread.
  10. Dividing Dough Into Three Pieces
  11. Dough Split Into Three Pieces
  12. Knead each piece until you have formed a loaf. Place each loaf in a bread pan or on a pan/cutting board and let it rise for 12-24 hours or until it has been increased to the size you like. 
  13. Bake at 375º for 25min

Bread Loaf in Basket

How can you time your sourdough bread? 

The schedule that works for me is making my sourdough on Friday afternoon/night (waiting for 24 hrs), then separating the dough and kneading on Sat. afternoon (waiting for the 12 hrs.), so I can bake it on Sunday morning.

Once again, setting alarms on your phone or marking your calendar will help you have a busy schedule throughout the week. 

What other Sourdough items can you make? 

You can also make dinner rolls with this recipe; the only difference is to separate your dough into roll shapes, then place it on a cooking sheet with parchment paper and cover it with a tea towel. 

Sourdough Rolls


I also like making mini loaves; that way, the kids know they get one a day, which helps keep them from eating three whole loaves in one day. I use a mold to help them rise and bake them. Sourdough also freezes well, so I can leave half of the rolls or mini loaves out and then freeze half for later.

Mini Loaves Rising in Pan

Mini Loaves arranged in baskets


Good luck with creating, keeping, and making your potato flake sourdough starter! What did you decide to call your starter? Drop your names below in the comments! 


  • My bread is not coming out of the oven domed. What is the problem?

  • My startee is named AnnaPurna after the Hindu goddess of hearth and home. She’s sleeping in the fridge this week.


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