If you’re new to baking sourdough bread, you’ll quickly learn that the great majority of the magic happens in the starter. Some types of bread are braided, some are sprouted, but sourdough gets all its flavor from the wild yeast, started with nothing but water and flour.
While the flour you choose to start your sourdough with makes a huge impact on the cultivation of great yeast culture, the jar that becomes a long-term home for your starter is equally important.
So what is the best jar for a sourdough starter? The most important factor is having enough space to allow your starter to grow and develop. Glass and plastic jars are also ideal because they allow you to visually keep track of the starter growth patterns.
In this article, we’ll share with you the 7 best jars for a sourdough starter and explain the pros and cons of each option. Understand and choose your equipment carefully and you’ll be a sourdough master before you know it.
Types Of Sourdough Start Containers
Ideally, you want a jar or container that is tall, rather than short and squat. Measuring growth is easier in a tall jar and it’s also more exciting simply because it’s more obvious.
But what type of container is best? Glass, plastic, or stoneware? Let’s find out.
Sourdough Starter Jars
Most people grow their sourdough starter in either glass or plastic jars and containers. Both of these options are found in most cupboards at home or purchased inexpensively for your specific yeast-culturing needs.
Glass starter jars will be slightly more expensive than plastic, and they come with a higher risk factor for breaking, though they’re by no means fragile.
Plastic, on the other hand, may come with certain health risks depending on the quality and are more easily discolored, warped, or scratched.
Sourdough crocks made from stoneware are an alternative to plastic or glass.
They’re heavier and very durable and many brands claim to make a better quality starter because there completely non-reactive, which can make a difference in wild-growing yeast culture.
Stoneware will also better regulate the temperature inside the crock, compared to glass or plastic. Bacterial growth happens best when it’s warm and cozy, so keeping the temperature stable can help build your starter more quickly and with better results.
The downfall of a stoneware container is that you can’t see inside without opening the lid. It’s also more difficult to measure growth because you can’t just make a line on a see-through glass or plastic jar and watch as the starter grows.
7 Best Jars For A Startdough Starter
As you can see there are pros and cons to every type of container that you might wish to start your sourdough yeast culture in. We’ve carefully assessed all the options and provided you with the 7 of the best of the best.
Depending on your skill level, financial commitment level, and of course, personal preferences, you can choose the best sourdough starter jar for your kitchen.
|Rank||Recommended Jar||Brand||Best Feature|
|1.||Fido Square Clear Jar||Bormioli Rocco||Chalkboard label, large volume|
|2.||SAUERKROCK Fermentation Crock||Humble House||Stoneware|
|3.||Clear Glass Clamp Jars||Mason Craft & More||Traditional quality|
|4.||Super Terrine French Glass Canning Jar||Le Parfait||Nice shape for large volume|
|5.||Clear Plastic Jars with Black Lids||Novelinks||Quantity value|
|6.||Glass Food Storage & Preparation Cup||Anchor Hocking||Stylish, fully removable lid|
|7.||White Plastic Jars with Pressurized Screw Top Lid||44 LLC||High-quality, budget-friendly plastic|
1. Bormioli Rocco Fido Square Clear Jar
Bormioli is one of the leading brands in the glass jar space and you can find almost any size, shape, and style you could possibly dream up.
We like this particular option for the label and size, in case you want to brew up a large batch of starter.
There are 4 other size options in the same style, however, so there really is a Bormioli jar to fit any need.
- Large 50 ¾ ounce capacity
- Stylish chalk label that’s easy to clean and perfect for dating your starter
- Rubber gasket and metal clasp design is easy to open and reseal quickly and securely, but you can also remove the gasket to give your starter just enough air to breath without easily becoming contaminated
Biggest Drawback: The price point for Borimoili jars has increased quickly in recent years and, though they are good quality and design, they’re more expensive than some of the other, similar options on our list.
2. Humble House SAUERKROCK Fermentation Crock
Humble House is a brand devoted to home fermentation products and they have a variety of really beautiful, sturdy, and reliable crocks that will not only provide a quality home for your sourdough starter but also allow you to experiment with other cultures and ferments.
- Capacity equal to 4 standard Mason jars
- Comes with weights making this crock versatile for fermenting other foods, not just cultivating a sourdough starter
- Beautiful design, made from durable ceramic finished with a lead and cadmium-free glaze
Biggest Drawback: This crock is designed specifically for fermenting foods and it works phenomenally well for nurturing a sourdough starter but it is larger than necessary for the average home bread baker and, if you’re not planning on using for any other fermentation projects, it may be more than you need for a simple starter.
3. Mason Craft & More Clear Glass Clamp Jars
Mason jars are the standard in glass jars. They’re a popular household name not just because they’ve stood the test of time, but also because the brand has grown and developed their product line to meet the demand of an evolving audience.
- 2-pack of 1L jars
- Clamp top lid uses a durable rubber seal to provide an airtight seal, but it can also be removed to allow for breathability when necessary
- Perfect height and design for easy measurement and feeding of sourdough starter
Biggest Drawback: Because there are many different sizes and quantity options, it has happened that customers receive jars in the wrong size or quantity. Whether this is due to user confusion/error or a mixup in the warehouse, it doesn’t happen often but if it were to happen to you, it would be frustrating.
4. Le Parfait Super Terrine French Glass Canning Jar
With these glass canning jars, Le Parfait and taken a simple commodity and added French sophistication to the design, making them not just useful, but also stylish statement pieces.
Your sourdough starter will be the center of all conversation for many reasons.
- 4-pack of 32 ounces/ 1L capacity jars
- High-quality stainless steel wire is rust-resistant and sturdy and the rubber seal, if you choose to use it, is latex-free and stylishly orange
- Wide mouth openings make it easier to feed your sourdough starter
Biggest Drawback: The glass is recyclable 100% mineral glass, which is great for the environment but it does seem to make them a bit more prone to chipping around the metal seal. If you’re gentle with your jars and know this is a potential problem, it’s easy to open and close gently to prevent any scraping or chipping, but it can be annoying.
5. Novelinks Clear Plastic Jars with Black Lids
While glass may be the standard option for sourdough starter, if you’re just beginning or watching your budget, there is nothing wrong with good quality, BPA-free plastic jars.
With this set of 10 containers, you really get your money’s worth and can use the containers for much more than just a single starter.
- 10-pack of 16 oz containers
- Made from food-safe, chemical, and impact-resistant clear PET plastic with black metal lids
- Lids can be left loose for a small amount of airflow, helping your starter breath
Biggest Drawback: These jars may not break with impact, but they will scratch because they are plastic. Also, if you’re marking your container with a felt, it doesn’t wipe off plastic like it does glass, so you’d be better off using a bit of Washi tape or marketing your starter growth in some other way.
6. Anchor Hocking Glass Food Storage & Preparation Cup
This glass jar is stylish, incredibly high quality, and very versatile. It will work well for sourdough starter except that you’ll want to avoid using the lid it comes with for this purpose.
The seal is too perfect to allow your starter to breathe, but it does give you more options for using the jar after your bread has been baked.
- 7-cup capacity
- Tempered glass is safe for use in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher, should you decide to use this jar for more than just sourdough starter
- BPA-free creates a perfect, airtight, leak-resistant seal
Biggest Drawback: The 7-cup container is large and, if you’re not only using it for sourdough starter, you may find that it’s really easy to fill it to capacity only to realize it’s incredibly heavy when you do so. The glass is very high quality and durable, which means it is not lightweight.
7. White Plastic Jars with Pressurized Screw Top Lid
If you’re not ready to invest heavily in your sourdough bakery, these BPA-free, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) white plastic jars are a safe, useful, and budget-friendly option.
They come with pressurized screw-top lids that can be left slightly askew to allow your starter a breath of fresh air while still keeping it safe from most contaminants and exposure.
- 4-pack of 32 ounces/1L containers
- Made of FDA compliant, food-safe, BPA-free plastic
- Lids make the containers not only stackable, but the seal is good enough to keep liquids from spilling out
Biggest Drawback: The containers are opaque white, which makes it more difficult to measure your sourdough starter growth. You will have to open the lid occasionally to check on your project. Also, being plastic, using a marker can stain the container.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sourdough Starter
How to store sourdough starter?
Once your sourdough starter is mature or strong enough, you can store it in your fridge to keep it viable. If you put it in your fridge you will want to make sure it is stored with an airtight seal to prevent the cold air from drying out your starter and any foreign odors or flavors from contaminating the culture.
You can also leave your starter at room temperature, but you will have to continue to feed it. A fully mature starter can survive longer between feedings, but as long as it’s warm, it will stay hungry.
Best flour for sourdough starter?
Once you have your jars picked out and ready to go, you’ll need to know what kind of flour to use for your sourdough starter. Our research has found that organic whole wheat is ideal for quickly and successfully cultivating wild yeast.
This is such an important part of the sourdough process that we’ve written an entire article to explain exactly how to choose the best flour for sourdough starter.
Can sourdough starter go bad?
Yes, sourdough starter can and will go bad if it isn’t stored properly. After all, your culturing bacteria; if you don’t take care of it, eventually bad bacteria in the form of mold will overrun the healthy cultures you’re trying to cultivate.
Mold in a sourdough starter is usually very obvious, as it generally shows up as pink or orange streaks through your starter.
You can also accidentally kill your starter if it’s left in the heat for too long. Yeast loves to be at a comfortable room temperature around 70F, but it can’t survive temperatures above 140F.
Many sourdough bakers like to store their starter in their ovens as a way to control the temperature and air exposure, but if you forget and turn on your oven, there’s a good chance your starter will not be able to recover.
Similarly, you don’t want to store it on a windowsill in the middle of a heatwave, or above a heat register that’s keeping your house warm.
What is the sourdough starter float test?
As yeast develops, it starts to bubble. This is one of the signs that your starter is thriving and it’s part of the reason it expands and grows.
The bubbles are tiny pockets of CO2 that become trapped inside the sticky, glutenous flour. These air pockets are what cause bread to rise in the baking process.
Since air is lighter than water a fully risen dollop of yeast bread dough or a healthy and active dollop of a sourdough starter should float if put in water.
While the float test can be a fun kitchen experiment, it’s not highly reliable in predicting if your bread has risen fully or if your sourdough starter is ready to use in a recipe. It’s very easy to get a false positive with dough or starter than is only a halfway ready.
Why does my sourdough starter have liquid on top?
It’s not unusual or even a bad sign if your sourdough starter starts to form liquid on the surface. It’s usually just a sign that your starter is hungry and needs to be fed.
The liquid is affectionately called “hooch” because it’s actually alcohol that is created as wild yeast ferments.
If your starter is neglected, the hooch may start to turn a grey or even black color. This doesn’t mean your starter has gone off, but it does mean you really need to take better care of your actively growing yeast.
If it’s left too much longer your starter will be more susceptible to mold growth.
Up Next: Best Dutch Ovens For Sourdough