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Einkorn Sourdough Starter From Scratch

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Learn how to make and feed a sourdough starter with einkorn flour. You’ll have a healthy einkorn sourdough starter for baking flavorful, naturally leavened bread in seven days!

What is Einkorn Flour?

Einkorn flour, derived from one of the earliest known types of wheat, Triticum monococcum, has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Originating in the Fertile Crescent, a region spanning the Middle East, einkorn is an ancient grain, meaning it has remained unchanged over millennia. This heirloom variety of wheat is genetically and structurally distinct from modern wheat. Einkorn has a more straightforward genetic composition: a diploid (having two sets of chromosomes), compared to the hexaploid structure (six sets of chromosomes) of common wheat. This genetic simplicity contributes to its unique characteristics.

Einkorn’s cultivation is limited compared to modern wheat, primarily due to its lower yield and more labor-intensive harvesting process. However, its resurgence in popularity is driven by a growing interest in traditional and whole foods. Einkorn flour is typically sourced from small-scale farmers and organic producers, emphasizing sustainable and traditional farming methods.

Creating an Einkorn Sourdough Starter

We love einkorn flour for its nutritional profile. It is higher in protein, phosphorus, potassium, and fat than modern wheat flour. Einkorn is rich in lutein, a carotenoid associated with eye health, and contains many antioxidants. All the nutrients become more bioavailable through fermentation, too.

The gluten in einkorn is different from that in modern wheat, which may make it easier to digest for some people, though it is not gluten-free and unsuitable for those with celiac disease.

The flavor of einkorn flour is another aspect that sets it apart. It has a nutty and slightly sweet taste, making it a preferred choice for artisan bakers and chefs. Due to its lower gluten content, it naturally results in a denser, richer texture in bread.

Optional Starter Cultures for Einkorn Sourdough Starter

Einkorn flour can be quite expensive. An easy way to ensure you have sourdough starter success on the first try is to create your starter from an already established starter. You can easily begin feeding any starter einkorn flour.

Here are some options for dried sourdough starters to create your starter with:

Discarding and Feeding Your Einkorn Sourdough Starter

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “discard and feed.” The point of discarding and feeding your sourdough starter is to replenish the microbe’s food source so that the accumulation of waste products does not kill the yeast and bacteria.

In wild sourdough starters, yeasts ferment wheat carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Then, bacteria in the sourdough starter metabolize the alcohols produced by the yeasts into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid… making it sour. 

There are many ways to feed a sourdough starter, and no one way is “correct.” Sourdough starters can be thicker and drier or thinner and more hydrated. You can also use any flour to feed a sourdough starter, but here, we will focus on all-purpose Einkorn flour.

Ingredients and Tools to Feed an Einkorn Sourdough Starter

  1. Flour: I’ve used many flours to make a sourdough starter. For this recipe, we will use organic all-purpose einkorn flour. It’s one of my favorites for my starter, even if I’m not baking einkorn bread.
  2. Water: Filtered water is best, but you can use tap water if you have good tap water. I use tap water that has been filtered through our water filter pitcher.
  3. Glass Jars and Cheesecloth: I like to use a glass weck jar for my starter. The mixture needs access to air to grow well, so you can use the glass weck jar lid without sealing it or something like layered cheesecloth with a rubber band. A loose mason jar lid works great, too, but can cause an issue in the summer if you deal with fruit flies and such in your home.
  4. Kitchen Scale: If you frequent our blog, you should already have one of these on hand. You can find a good kitchen scale option HERE.
  5. Environment: Temperature is critical for growing healthy yeast and bacteria in a sourdough starter. Your kitchen temperature should be between 60-80 degrees F. Colder temperatures mean slower growth. Cold isn’t bad, it can just take much longer.
bubbly golden colored einkorn sourdough starter dripping down the side of a small glass jar after being stirred.

How to Feed a Sourdough Starter with Einkorn Flour

The feeding ratio is adjustable in these instructions. The sourdough starter is forgiving; you can adjust the ratio of flour to water to make it thicker or thinner. These amounts are just a great starting point. If you have trouble with your starter rising, check out this blog: Why is My Sourdough Starter Not Rising? How to Fix a Flat Starter

Step One (Day 1)

  1. In a bowl, combine:
  2. Use a spatula to combine the flour and water. Stir until there are no clumps and the mixture is smooth but thick.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a clean glass jar.
  4. Loosely set a lid on the top or secure a breathable covering to the jar (i.e., cheesecloth) and leave the mixture on the counter for 24 hours.

Step Two (Day 2)

  1. Stir sourdough starter mixture.
  2. Add in 50 grams of organic all-purpose einkorn flour
  3. Add 40 grams of water.
  4. Mix and scrape down the sides. Replace a breathable lid. Leave the mixture on the counter for 24 hours.

Step Three (Days 3-7, Feeding and Discarding)

  1. To a clean bowl, add:
  2. Stir until evenly combined, and scoop into a clean jar.
  3. Replace the breathable lid and allow it to ferment for 24 hours.
  4. Discard any remaining original starter mixture. Or you can find fun ways to use sourdough starter discard, like this muffin recipe.
  5. Repeat every 24 hours through day 7.

Step Four (The Night Before Baking)

You can feed your einkorn starter however much you need to here. If you plan to bake five loaves, for instance, feed your entire starter 300 grams of flour and 250 grams of water in a large bowl and cover it. If you are only baking one loaf, use less, but keep the ratios about the same.

  1. 8 hours before starting a baking recipe, in a bowl, combine:
  2. Stir until evenly combined.
  3. Scoop the starter into a large jar.
  4. Place the breathable lid on the jar and allow it to ferment for 12 hours.
bubbly golden colored einkorn sourdough starter in a small glass jar with a dark wooden spatula in the jar.

Day 8 (Baking Day)

  1. Perform a float test by dropping a teaspoon of einkorn sourdough starter into a cup of room-temperature water. If it floats, it’s ready for use. Feed and discard until it passes the float test, if it did not float.
  2. If your starter passed the float test, put some starter aside and continue feeding (using steps three and four above). Use the rest of the starter for your baking recipe.
bubbly golden colored einkorn sourdough starter in a small glass jar

Easy Sourdough Baking Recipe

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Einkorn Sourdough Starter From Scratch

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Learn how to make and feed a sourdough starter with einkorn flour. You’ll have a healthy einkorn sourdough starter for baking flavorful, naturally leavened bread in seven days!

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Fermentation time: 7 days
  • Total Time: 168 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 ounces
  • Category: sourdough
  • Method: fermentation

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. The feeding ratio is adjustable in these instructions. I suggest following the ratio as written for the first 7 days; then you can adjust it to be thicker or thinner as desired. If you use whole wheat einkorn flour instead of all purpose, you may need to adjust the amount of flour and water. Whole wheat flour generally absorbs more water.
  2. (Day 1) In a bowl combine 50 grams of organic all-purpose einkorn flour and 40 grams of water.
  3. Use a spatula to combine the flour and water. Stir until there are no clumps and the mixture is smooth yet thick.
  4. Scoop the mixture into a clean glass jar.
  5. Loosely set a lid on the top or secure a breathable covering to the jar (i.e. cheesecloth) and leave the mixture on the counter for 24 hours.
  6. (Day 2) Stir sourdough starter mixture.
  7. Add 50 grams of organic all-purpose einkorn flour and 40 grams of water to the starter mixture in the jar. Mix and scrape down the sides.
  8. Replace a breathable lid. Leave the mixture on the counter for 24 hours.
  9. (Days 3-7, Feeding and Discarding) to a clean bowl add 20 grams sourdough starter mixture from the previous day, 50 grams of organic all-purpose einkorn flour and 40 grams of water
  10. Stir until evenly combined, and scoop into a clean jar.
  11. Replace the breathable lid and allow it to ferment for 24 hours.
  12. Discard any remaining original starter mixture. Or you can find fun ways to use sourdough starter discard here.
  13. Repeat steps 9 through 12 every 24 hours until you reach 7 days.
  14. (The Night Before Baking) You can adjust the amounts here and feed your starter however much you need to.
  15. 8 hours before starting a baking recipe, in a bowl combine: All of the starter, 100 grams organic all-purpose einkorn flour, 80 grams of water and stir until evenly combined.
  16. Scoop the starter into a large jar with plenty of room for tripling in size. Place the breathable lid on the jar allow it to ferment for 12 hours.
  17. (Baking Day) Perform a float test by dropping a teaspoon of starter into a cup of room-temperature water. If it floats, it’s ready for use. If your starter does not float, continue to feed and discard until it passes the float test.
  18. If your starter passed the float test, put a little bit starter aside to continue feeding as in steps 9-12. Use the rest of the starter for your baking recipe.

Notes

  • This recipe is formulated using organic all-purpose einkorn flour. If you use a different type of flour your starter will be a different consistency and texture.
  • The type of flour you use will influence the flour to water ratio you should use. Whole grain flours, especially sprouted flours, work well with a 1:2 flour to water ratio. White flours like bread flour and all purpose work best with a ratio between 1:1 and 2:1 flour to water. 
  • You may notice some early watery separation. This is normal and just means you need to adjust the flour to water ratio. Simply add more flour to your feedings to thicken the starter.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

 

Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary.

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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10 comments

SC December 15, 2023 - 10:57 am

Is there any reason that I couldn’t take my existing healthy starter and just start feeding it with different flour vs starting from scratch?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley December 15, 2023 - 11:01 am

nope, you can do that! just switch it over.

Reply
Kassandra Santos January 26, 2024 - 9:21 am

Can I use half the amounts for my starter? 25 grams of the flour and 20 grams of water? Thanks 😊

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley January 26, 2024 - 10:09 am

absolutely! You can halve or double amounts as needed. The ratio stays the same, and that’s the important part.

Reply
Kassandra January 30, 2024 - 1:12 pm

Thanks so much!😍






Reply
Lauren March 17, 2024 - 10:19 am

Hello! I love your blog. I have a few questions. I got whole wheat einkorn and inadvertently was following your other starter recipe, so my ratio was 50 g flour, 55g water. (I did more water since I read whole wheat is thirsty) For feed and discard I did 50 g starter, and then my flour-water ratio. Not seeing bubbles and it seems too thin. It smells sour like it’s working though. So my question is why do you only use 20g starter for feed and discard for this recipe? Should I use less water to make it thicker? Thank you!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley March 18, 2024 - 2:44 pm

All flours absorb different amounts of water and produce different amounts of “hooch”. When sourdough starters ferment, they turn some of the solids into more liquids and it thins out. So, some starters do better with feeding less starter, since the starter adds more liquids than solids to the mixture.

When in doubt, make it thicker. once you have a bubbly established starter, you don’t need to be so exact. If it looks thin add more flour until it’s like a sticky dough.

Reply
CEN May 8, 2024 - 8:46 pm

Starter had a thick crust on top after day 1. Tried mixing it in but it was too thick and wouldn’t dissolve. I live at elevation in a dry climate. Thoughts on how to modify so this doesn’t happen? Thank you!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley May 9, 2024 - 9:29 am

You can add a bit more water when feeding to thin it out. And instead of using a breathable cloth lid, use a solid lid but leave it loose.

Reply