Any non-reactive container can hold sourdough starter. We have heard of bakers keeping sourdough in ziplock bags and plastic to-go containers. Mason jars and old sauerkraut jars are popular favorites. Crocks are very traditional. Any of these can be a fine jar to use when you start baking sourdough bread. Don’t let finding the perfect jar stop you from baking your first loaves! But once you start baking regularly, you may find yourself looking for something better.

Don’t Let the Wrong Jar Come Between You and Baking.

If your jar is a pain to use, you may find yourself dreading feeding your starter and baking less than you would. Here is a checklist that will save you some misery down the road.  

  1. Starter jars get messy fast. Watch out for nooks, corners, and threaded closure where sourdough starter can collect, dry and cling.
  2. As sourdough bakers, we want to watch our starters grow. If your container is opaque then you might not see that it’s starving or miss the window when it is ready to use. 
  3. Watch out for containers that use cloth/cork lids or any lid that rest on the inside of the jar wall. These designs can allow contamination and invite the dreaded pink mold.
  4. Never use aluminum or other reactive jar materials. Starter creates acid (that’s what makes it sour) and should only be kept in non-reactive jars.
    Checklist for a Good Starter Jar
To our surprise, there were no jars that checked off ALL of these criteria - so we made it ourselves.