Yogurt Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe

Filed Under: Food and Drink, Recipes

When I was a lot younger than I am now, my mom was given some sourdough starter and she made copious amounts of sourdough bread. One of the best things in the world? Taking a piece of still-warm sourdough bread and burring your nose in it. Trust me.

Then the plague hit Mom’s starter and all those yummy beasties died.

I’ve tried a couple of different starters on my quest to reclaim the childhood sourdough experience and none of them have had the oomph to make the bread rise properly. They tasted pretty good but it just wasn’t the same.

Science experiment time!

Amy Tucker

Yogurt Sourdough Starter

  • 1 cup milk–I used skim cause that’s all we had but the recipe said any kind of milk, even butter milk.
  • 1 cup plain yogurt–I used Greek style cause that’s what we had. Sensing a trend?
  • 1 cup flour

Mix the milk and yogurt in something other than a metal container and put a lid on it but don’t let it completely seal since if things work right, the biproduct of this happy union will be gas–CO2–and you don’t want your container to explode or anything; that would be messy. Let that sit on your counter for 24 hours. I put mine next to the coffee pot where it’s a bit warmer.

After those 24 hours, dump in the flour and give it all a good stir. You’ll stir your starter everyday for the next 3-5 days. If it bubbles and smells a bit like bread and beer then you’ve succeeded! I suggest you name your starter…but maybe that’s just me. If there are no bubbles then you’ve failed and it’s probably a good thing after all that you didn’t give your starter a name.

Your starter is ready to use! Keep it in the fridge and feed it with a couple of tsp of milk or flour once a week unless you need a lot of starter and then you’d add more “food.”

But use in what, you ask?

Easy Sourdough Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Dump your ingredients in a bowl and either hand mix or use a stand mixer w/the dough hook attachment. The end result is the same: dough that’s come together to form a ball and isn’t making out with the sides or bottom of the bowl.

Wash your bowl, add a bit of oil and plop in your dough–turning it over once so it all gets coated with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap or a couple of damp hand towels and set it aside for about an hour and a half–you want it to have doubled in volume.

Once the dough has risen, add a bit of flour to your counter and dump out the dough. You’re going to knead the dough but not like you normally knead dough. The point here is to remove as many air bubbles as you can. Once you’ve gotten the big bubbles out, form it into a ball and cover it with a towel and let it rest on the counter for about an hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and put your bread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Slash the top and spray it lightly with water–that makes the top crusty and awesome. The bread should bake for an hour.

Let it cool for 30 minutes if you can.


  1. Have you tried to make whole wheat sour dough bread with this starter?

  2. After the 24 hrs, I dump in 1 c flour…do I put a lid on? Keep in fridge or on counter for next 3-5 days?

    • I put mine in that crock that’s in the bottom right of the picture above and while I did put the crock’s lid on, it doesn’t form a tight seal.

      Covering’s good. Sealing’s bad.

      When the starter starts getting all aerobic and anaerobic, sealing your vessel will cut off the O2 and the guys doing all the anaerobic partying go wild and make crazy amounts of CO2. Then you have that whole sealed vessel+increased pressure due to increasing gas=sourdough starter bomb.

      And now I see you left this four months ago. Hopefully you haven’t experienced any exploding sourdough starter.

  3. Can you use this starter to make pizza dough? And thank you so much for making the instructions very easy read with pictures!! I’ve been online for 45 min. searching high and low for yeast-less starter recipes and it was crazy!

  4. Misty Weare says

    So, is this the best starter recipe you found? I couldn’t tell if you meant that this was “the one” you’d been searching for that was like your mom’s.

  5. I am on an eating plan called Trim Healthy Mamas. Sourdough and sprouted grain breads are all that is allowed on the bread menu. They said that the fermentation to make the sourdough breaks down the carbs. I do not know at this point if this recipe would be considered approved or not. The recipe they use calls for catching “wild yeast” from the air and that kind of freaks me out.

    The reason I chose your recipe is that my husband is lactose intolerant (though he can eat yogurt as it has the good bacteria that makes it possible for his system to process). I also chose goat’s milk as my milk of choice. The 2nd reason is that yeast plays havoc on my sinuses. I like the fact that it is broken down from the yogurt.

    I just made the initial mixture a few hours ago and it is bubbly already :). I am planning on using spelt and/or dark rye flour. Any feedback?

  6. Thank you so much for sharing the exciting concept of creating CO2 with Lactobacillus rather than yeast!
    I’m nervous the milk/yoghurt will grow other organisms, but, as you say, I will know by the smell.
    Kind regards.

  7. Okay, I understand the initial starting and adding the flour. So if I need more starter, add equal parts of flour and milk….how soon can I use this? I am a real novice and want to make this. Thanks.

  8. Donna Keith says

    I found the same yogurt/milk sourdough starter online that you must be talking about, and I’m impressed with how simple it is and how active it gets. I am right now trying my first loaf of bread from it and hoping it will turn out. I’m hoping that because the initial yogurt/bread starter recipe did not have a follow-up bread recipe with it, so I used another one I had found. Now I find yours which seems even simpler. The only difference is that you ask for more starter initially, so I’m just going to have to wait and see how this turns out. I do want to thank you that you included a bread recipe with your sourdough starter! Just seems that it should’ve been that way in the recipe I found! I am using a whole wheat flour in mine also, although mixed with a lesser ratio of white flour as well. Time will be the test!

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