Is it possible to make sourdough starter without whole grain flour? I have glanced over the two recipes: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe and https://www.theclevercarrot.com/2019/03/beginner-sourdough-starter-recipe/, and both call for whole grain. Is regular all purpose good enough?

Note: This will also be my first time ever making sourdough starter, so if it is much easier to succeed with whole grain, please let me know!

1 Answer 1


Yes, a sourdough starter can be made from AP flour. Rye and other whole grain flours are recommended because they can generally be built up more quickly, given the higher level of nutrients available to yeasts and bacteria, but I've been able to make the process work with AP flour. It is fairly likely that you will need at least some whole grain flour if you get into bread making. So, it's not a bad idea to have a small amount of whole grain flour on hand. In either case, give it a go. There is not much to lose!

  • 2
    Correct. Some sources suggest adding a carrier of natural yeasts (e.g. grapes or raisins) when setting up a refined-flour starter to get things going faster. A small package of fresh whole-grain flour is a good investment.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 12:28
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    I have started and maintained sourdough just fine with just AP, but at other times have even had well established starts seem to go flat as if they lost their yeast and associated good bacteria. It seemed to happen during times of especially low humidity and high temperatures. At those times, a small amount of whole grain rye flour and boom, it sprang back. I do not use rye flour for anything else, but agree whole heartedly that a small bag just for this is a fine expenditure to help speed the start or save one.
    – dlb
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 12:35
  • Ooh, ok. Especially after you mention "low humidity and high temperature" (my area is the definition of that), I feel like I should go out and get some whole grain flour. Thank you!
    – cfire19045
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 17:20

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