What You Need To Start Sourdough Baking

Many people are scared to start with sourdough baking because everyone talks about how hard it is and how expensive it can be to get started. The truth is sourdough baking is cheaper than you think and can be a great way to save money. There are a few things you will need and some things you can do to lower the cost as well.

While you can always add more to your stools and supplies as time goes on like proofing bowls, silicone bread mats, and fun things like a nice bread box you do not need these things to get started.

Ingredients to keep on hand for sourdough baking

One thing that makes sourdough baking so popular is that baking sourdough bread uses less ingredients than yeast bread recipes. This is a great way to save money both over the cost of buying at the store and from using fewer ingredients that you can easily buy in bulk to lower the cost further and always have what you need on hand.


The most basic and most used item in your sourdough baking will be flour. Remember that when you are buying flour you want to buy it in bulk for the best price possible. The fresher and better quality flour the better.

While you can get a grain grinder and grind your own wheat berries for most people buying in bulk and rotating your stock is the easiest and most affordable option.

All-Purpose Flour: A versatile choice for both feeding your sourdough starter and making various bread recipes. I buy this in bulk at Sam’s Club and it is our main staple flour for just about everything.

Bread Flour: Ideal for achieving a chewier texture and higher rise in your sourdough loaves. Bread flour is a great luxury when you can afford it. This is not recommended for those who are doing sourdough to help reduce the gluten in their diet.

Whole Wheat Flour: Adds depth of flavor and nutrition to your bread. You can use it in combination with other flours if you are not a fan of the deep flavor of whole wheat flour.

Filtered Water:

Chlorine in tap water can interfere with fermentation. Use filtered water, especially when feeding your sourdough starter and mixing your dough. Many people choose to use spring water but I find this to be the most economical option.

Now you don’t need a facey filter like a Berkey. A simple Brita filter rated for chlorine will do the trick.

Sourdough Starter:

Get an Active Starter: Maintain a lively and active sourdough starter. Regularly feed it with flour and water to keep those wild yeasts and bacteria happy. The easiest way to do this is to get an active starter from a friend or to order one offline.

Make your own sourdough starter: You can always choose to make your own starter at home to capture active yeast in your environment and use it to make your own bread. This can be a bit tricky but I think everyone should try making their own sourdough starter so you will always have this option if you need it in the future.


Honestly, you can use any salt for your sourdough. Fine sea salt is the most common but the truth is I use a simple iodized salt that I buy in bulk to help meet my family’s iodine needs.

Equipment that helps make sourdough baking easier

Mixing Bowls: Different sizes for mixing and fermenting your dough. Use whatever mixing bowls you have access to. We have a wide range of mixing bowls from the kitchen aid to random sizes from multiple mixing bowl sets we have had over the years. 

It is not uncommon to find a wide range of mixing bowls on the dining room table covered in cloth waiting for bread dough for the next few days to rise. I tend to do a big cooking every 2 to 3 days leaving time to work on other projects between. 

Kitchen Scale: Precise measurements are crucial in sourdough baking. If you are just starting out and can not get a kitchen scale yet remember that ratios in recipes do not account for the fact that water is twice as heavy as flour. So a 1:1 ratio would be one cup flour to one half cup water. 

Dutch Oven or Baking Stone: Essential for achieving that perfect crust. If you don’t have this when you first start you can start by making your sourdough in whatever pans you have. If you have sourdough bread can make a great sandwich loaf and even bakes well in the air fryer. Do not let the cost of starting get in the way of your sourdough journey. 

Lame or Razor Blade: Used for scoring your bread before baking. If you do not have one don’t worry. Your bread may not look as pretty but you can start with a sharp knife or even kitchen shears. Soon enough you will be saving enough money on bread to buy more bread tools. 

Parchment Paper: Prevents sticking during the final proof and baking. I have done without parchment paper but it really does make working with dough and cleanup easier. 

Glass Jars: Perfect for storing your sourdough starter. Ensure they have enough room for expansion. Keep glass jars you have around the house for this. I use a pickle jar with an old candle jar lid on top with the gasket removed and some old pasta jars with canning lids sat on top. Both are covered with cloth and a rubber band left on our mail by the mailman. It works quite well for my sourdough starters and didn’t cost me a dime. 

Bench Scraper: Handy for cleaning surfaces and shaping dough. Grab one of these from the kitchen tool sections next time you go to Dollar Tree. In the meantime, a large flat kitchen knife can work for most things. 

Dish Cloth or Towels: Keep a clean environment and cover your dough during fermentation. I like to buy bulk flour sack towels just like I used to use for cloth diapering. It’s funny to see the bright white clothes back in the kitchen and weird knowing they will not be used and diapers after they become stained like I used to do when the kids were little.

Remember when you are just starting out you do not have to have fancy supplies, you can always add to your bread-making supplies as you build on your skills and are ready to take things up a notch. I remember when I first got a bread-proofing bowl and lame set so I could start shaping only after I had learned to get that perfect crumb in sandwich loaves.

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