I'm trying to "catch" wild yeast for the first time. 36 hours ago I mixed a cup of flour and a cup of water and left it out on a shelf with a paper towel over the top. It's been between 45 and 70 degrees here over that time.

Since then, the water and the flour has separated so that the water is sitting on top of the flour.

Is that supposed to happen? Should I just keep waiting? Should I give up and try pineapple juice? What is the best way to catch wild yeast for sourdough?

  • 2
    A few thoughts: (1) most yeast that establishes a starter likely comes from the flour, not the air, (2) separation can occur, but I find recipes where that tends to happen do not have a high success rate, (3) I'd recommend using a starter recipe that recommends feeding every 12 to 24 hours and probably stirring every 8-12 hours, (4) recipes that recommend just waiting 36 hours or longer without doing anything tend to fail more frequently, (5) you can't tell whether anything good is happening until you feed it, (6) if using pineapple juice, follow a recipe designed for it.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Yes. It seems like you should be stirring occasionally (when you feed your starter).

This site seems like a reasonable reference and, in the section called "Making your starter" it says:

In between stirrings it's normal for the mixture to separate and for a small layer of water to be on the top.

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