Refrigerator Mother Starter Recipe

As you have read in my blog posts, My Sourdough Journey and Sourdough: Take 1, I use two different sourdough starters. One of them ended up being my Counter Mother, and the other my Refrigerator Mother. This is the recipe that was used for the Refrigerator Mother. My mom found this recipe and used it for the starter she gave to me for my birthday (more about that in My Sourdough Journey).

Make your own Sourdough Starter



1 c buttermilk

1 dash filtered water

2-3 T white flour

½ tsp caraway seeds


Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Lightly cover and leave in a warm, undisturbed spot. Check every day for progress. You can also stir it. Depending on the environment, it may take about 7 days for the starter to become active. It will have a ripe smell and be bubbly when it is ready to use. You can also drop a small portion in water. If it floats, it is ready to use. Once the starter is ready to bake with, feed it ¼ to ½ cup flour and the same amount of water twice daily. If you aren’t going to bake with it every day, you can keep it in the refrig. Add ¼ to ½ cup to your glass jar, add enough flour to make a stiff mixture, and place in the fridge. You slow down the growing process by adding more flour and keeping it cold. The night before you are ready to bake, take the starter out of the fridge, add water, and place it on the counter.


I found that I had to feed my starter for it to become active. So if by the 7-day mark it still isn’t bubbly, I would recommend feeding it ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup water.

Don’t worry about the caraway seeds affecting whatever you are baking. They added no flavor to my baked goods and were mostly gone by my third Sourdough Saturday.

Now that I am baking regularly with both of my sourdough starters and feeding them the same (although one is left out on the counter, and this one is in the fridge until I’m ready to bake), I can’t tell any difference between the two. But the Counter Mother was definitely the easier one to start. I’ll go into more detail about why in my recipe for the Counter Mother! To stay up to date, subscribe to my email list using the form below.

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