Sign up for emails on super healthy, delicious plant-based recipes, cooking tips, events, announcements & the latest on plant-based nutritional research.

A whole wheat or rye sourdough starter becomes your "mother dough", which you draw from to create starting doughs for all your sourdough sweet & savory breads projects.  Keep it refrigerated, feed & water it periodically, and your mother dough will last indefinitely...even with a little benign neglect!


Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC



Creating a Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter (makes 1-1½ cups)

This is Peter Reinhart's recipe for citric acid-assisted sourdough (he uses pineapple juice) which ensures your sourdough gets off to a healthy start & thwarts the advances of pathogenic bacteria (it's a war out there!). The juice isn't essential, however. It merely acts as insurance; you can succeed without it 60% of the time, according to Reinhart, & I did fine without it.


Maintaining a sour “mother” dough is a bit like having a pet: Feed it regularly, pay it a bit of attention, & it rewards you with manifold baking pleasures both savory & sweet. Enjoy!



organic whole wheat or rye flour

non-chlorinated water

unsweetened pineapple juice (optional)




  • Mix 3 ½ tbs flour with ¼ cup pineapple juice, if using, or ¼ cup water in a container or jar that will hold 1-2 cups. Stir well to hydrate flour completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & set aside at room temp for 48 hours, but stir to aerate 3 times per day.

  • Add 2 tbs flour with 2 tbs of pineapple juice, or water. Stir well, cover loosely, set aside for 48 hours, stirring 3 times per day.

  • The starter should begin to now show some bubbles & frothiness. Now add 5 ¼ tbs of flour & 3 tbs of water. Stir well, cover loosely, & set aside for 24 hours & stir 3 times per day.

  • Transfer the now active starter to a larger (1 qt) container. Stir in a full ½ cup of flour with just 1/8 cup of water. Cover loosely.

  • In just an hour or so, your sourdough “mother” will be ready for you to remove a portion for use.

  • To maintain, keep lightly covered in the fridge. Feed with whole rye or wheat flour & water in a ratio of 2:1 twice per week. The larger your mother grows, the more food/water it will require. Intially, ½ cup flour: ¼ cup water will suffice. If liquid accumulates on the top of the starter, it's a sign your mother dough needs attention. Pour it off & feed it.

  • Before use, allow to come to room temp & active/bubbly.

Sourdough Starter