Sourdough Starter for Friendship Bread Recipe

Sourdough starter for Friendship Bread

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Fermentation: 120 hrs
Total: 120 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Yield: 1 starter
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
66 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 66
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 24mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

"Friendship Bread" earned its name because people are known to share their sourdough starter and pass it around to family and friends. This recipe guides you through the steps of making your own starter, which you can share as well.

The friendship bread sourdough starter uses commercial yeast to jumpstart the fermentation process. Flour and water are standard for starters, but this one also uses sugar or honey, which adds a hint of sweetness to the bread you'll bake with it. While making any sourdough starter is easy, it takes about a week before it's ready to use. During that time, stir it regularly and feed it as needed. The starter can then be kept indefinitely, just as long as it's properly cared for and fed.

The friendship bread recipe calls for one cup of starter, which will make two loaves. With this recipe, you'll have plenty of starter leftover to keep alive, share, or use in other bread recipes and baked goods.

"Sugar adds a nice dimension to bread made with this starter, so it’s a great recipe to try. Mine was ready in about six days and required feeding almost daily." —Colleen Graham

Sourdough Starter for Friendship Bread /Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 (0.25-ounce package) active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 F to 115 F), more for feeding

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, more for feeding

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or honey

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make sourdough starter

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large non-reactive bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of warm water, 2 cups flour, and sugar. Mix until smooth.

    A large bowl of yeast, sugar, flour, and water

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Transfer the mix to a non-reactive container that is at least four times the size to allow for growth. Cover with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.

    A large container of flour mixture, covered with cheesecloth

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Let stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 days or until bubbly, stirring the mixture 2 to 3 times each day. A warmer room speeds up the fermentation process, which means you may have to feed your starter more frequently, sometimes daily.

    As a rule of thumb, if the starter separates and liquid forms on the surface, and if it smells a little funky, it probably needs to be fed. Pour off the "hooch," (naturally forming alcohol) and feed your starter according to the directions provided in the How To Feed Your Friendship Bread Starter box below. Once the starter is ready, use it right away in a sourdough bread recipe or store it in the fridge and feed it weekly.

    A container of fermenting sourdough starter

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

How to Feed Friendship Bread Starter

  • Feeding is required to replenish the starter so it continues to thrive. Remove 1 cup of the starter to use in a recipe or discard it. To the remaining starter, stir in 1 cup (4 ounces) of unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar or honey. Cover, and let stand at room temperature for at least one day or until bubbly before using.
  • If the room is warm, your starter may be quite active and require more frequent (or even daily) feeding.
  • If refrigerating, feed the starter weekly.

How to Store

To store, transfer the starter to a jar, cover with cheesecloth or a lid and refrigerate. Avoid covering the jar tightly with a metal lid as it may explode. If chilled, bring the desired amount to room temperature before using. Freezing sourdough starter puts it into hibernation for later use.