I got my first sourdough starter from a local home baker, and she texted me the following day: “So, did you narrow down some sourdough starter names and pick one?”

“Um, what?” I thought.

I didn’t realize that neglecting to name your starter as if it’s a pet, or perhaps more aptly, a child, is sacrilege in the sourdough community. (I’m kidding – the naming thing really is for fun.)

I quickly started crowdsourcing name ideas from family and friends.

Most of them thought I was being weird. “You’re naming your starter? Why?”

Now that I’ve been baking sourdough for a while, I realize why naming it is just part of the process.

Starter is alive – she swells when eating and deflates when hungry. She relies on regular feedings to stay alive. She occasionally needs her windows cleared (the sides of the glass jar). She hates being cold but will begrudgingly perk up if you warm her up again.

You may think I’m crazy, but if you’re here, I’m guessing you need to find the perfect name for your sourdough. It’s only a matter of time before you’re talking about your starter like she’s your baby. Come on in; the water’s warm!

What’s Sourdough Starter?

If you’re here, I’m pretty sure you already know what sourdough starter is, but just in case I thought I’d cover it really quickly.

Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeasts and good bacteria. The yeast feeds on the flour and water mixture, producing carbon dioxide bubbles that help your bread rise.

Related: 27 Top Benefits of Sourdough Bread + Why It’s Good For You

It’s most common to feed your bubbly friend with unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, or rye flour. Kept at room temperature, the starter will rise after a feeding, and when it’s at its peak (4-6 hours after feeding), you can start making sourdough bread.

Gone are the days of commercial yeast – you can make your own yeast right at home with simply flour and water. I’ve made everything from bread dough to pizza dough to English muffins, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls. It’s amazing!

One Thing Before Brainstorming Sourdough Starter Names

Before you start coming up with amazing sourdough puns, it’s worth considering what you plan to do with your starter.

Some sourdough bakers decide to sell their starters on Etsy or a local farmer’s market. Do you really want your sourdough starter label to read “Breadaddict Sourbatch?”

If you plan to sell it, it may make sense to choose a more professional name or something that aligns with your brand. Just a little food for thought before we really dive in!

bubbly active sourdough starter

Sourdough Starter Name Types

I’ve noticed several types of sourdough starter names – the route you go just depends on your personality.

A lot of people come up with puns. Things like John Dough or Yeast Mode. Dough Biden? Doughnald Trump? Anyone? Anyone?

An equal number of people choose names like Helen or Johanna to honor their grandmothers. And others adjust it slightly, such as naming their starter Dot after a grandmother named Dorothy.

Others go for descriptive names, like Bubbles or Puffy. It’s kind of like naming your dog Spot.

Many choose a regular name, such as Eve, which is the name of the famous TikTok starter sold by The Southern Sourdough Co.

Another popular choice is to pay homage to the name of the starter you bought or were gifted. Some sourdough starters go back decades – some even centuries – so why not carry on that tradition? That’s what I did. The starter I got was named Geraldine, so I paid homage to that and named mine Gertie.

sourdough starter in weck jar

Perhaps this has sparked some ideas for you, but if you’re still not so sure, I’ve compiled a huge list of sourdough starter names.

These are names of real starters sourced from Facebook, Reddit, TikTok, and friends. So if you think any of them are bizarre, don’t look at me!!

If nothing else, I hope you get a kick out of reading these names, and of course, comment your starter’s name!

Name Ideas That Come With Explanations

  • Homer (cause it’s “D’oh!”)
  • Lazarus (for its ability to come back from the dead)
  • Parachute Club (band with a hit song ‘Rise Up’)
  • Sean Combs (as in Puff Daddy)
  • Zod (because your starter is from another galaxy)
  • Audrey 2 (after the hungry plant in Little Shop of Horrors)
  • Jane Wick 2 (because she always comes back)
  • Inflation (because it’s sure to rise)
  • Phil (one Reddit user said, “Solely so that we can say ‘somebody feed Phil’, a nod to our household’s favorite food show.”)
  • Azira (means ‘rising star’)
  • Bertha Loaf (because we need her to birth a loaf)

Celebrity Sourdough Starter Names

  • Marilyn MonDough
  • Breadgar Allen Dough
  • Vincent van Dough
  • Winnie Sandoughson
  • Clint Yeastwood
  • Carrie Breadshaw
  • Bready White
  • Kevin Bakin
  • Taylor Sift
  • Shaquille Dough’Neal
  • Oven Wilson
  • Danny Doughvito
  • Orlandough Bloom
  • Doughly Madison
  • Winona Riser
  • Hulk Dough-gan
  • Bready Mercury
  • Olivia Gluten John
  • Breaddie Murphy
  • BeeDOUGHven
  • Discardi B
  • Samuel Dough Jackson
  • Riza Minnelli
  • Agatha Crusty
  • Avril Levain
  • Wheatney Houston
  • Breadley King
  • Angelina Doughlie
  • Oprah Wheatfrey
  • Mother Theryeasta
  • Marlon Breadough
  • Doughy Deschanel
  • Breadaddict Sourbatch
  • David Dowie
  • Bread Sheeran
  • Breadie Van Halen
  • Jeffrey Doughmer
  • Tenacious “D”ough
  • Bill Rye
  • Bread Pitt
  • Mark Breadanawicz
  • Breadnaan Frasier
  • Daniel Ricciardough
  • Doughna Mae
sourdough starter bubbles
Bubble, active sourdough starter

Politician Puns

  • Vladimir Gluten
  • Barack Doughbama
  • Doughnald Trump
  • Dough Biden
  • Ber-knead Sanders
  • Ron Doughsantis
  • Alexander the Bake
  • Mao Zedough
  • Theodore Doughsevelt

Punny Sourdough Starter Names

  • Jane Dough
  • John Dough
  • Dumbledough Makes
  • Bread Armistin
  • Doughlores
  • Jarlene
  • Ricardough
  • Scooby Dooby Dough
  • Potricia
  • Potrick
  • Harry Potter
  • The Yeasty Boys
  • Yeasty Job
  • Dough-ra the Explorer
  • Doughlene
  • Doughrine
  • Livin’ Lavidough Loca
  • Andy Doughfrain
  • Bready or Not
  • Dopan
  • Potbelly Pete
  • Cam Gluten
  • Sam Wheat
  • Frankendough
  • Doughboy
  • Hootchie
  • The Grateful Bread
  • Bubble Bee
  • Walter Wheat
  • Betty Blam a Pan
  • Dough Nuts
  • Khal Doughgo
  • Breaderick
  • Mcloavin
  • Stanley the Starter
  • Lucy in the Rye
  • Sir Loafsalot
  • Riseanne
  • Bread Kaczynski
  • Fernandough
  • Souron
  • Glutenous Maximus
  • Yeastie Beastie
  • Sally Rise
  • Arthur Yeastly
  • Doughwight Schrute
  • George Boule
  • Bread Lasso
  • Hoochie Mama
  • Breadverly Crusher
  • Spotty Lotty
  • Doughbert
  • Eduardough
  • Flour Patch Kids
  • Sophia Breadrillo
  • Doughnatello
  • Sour Monkey
  • Black Widough
  • Bulbasour
  • Waldough
  • Bready Kreuger
  • Rye-an
  • Wheatney
  • Rye Taylor
  • Ryenaldinho
  • The Bread Pirate Roberts
  • No Knead to Worry
  • Sourkraut
  • Leonardough
  • Leavensworth
sourdough bread
My starter, Gertie, doing some WORK!

Harry Potter Sourdough Starter Names

  • Gilderoy Lockstart
  • Vol-dough-mort
  • Dumble-Dough
  • Gryffendough
  • Ron Yeastly
  • Breadwig
  • Doughby
  • Harry Starter
  • Viktor Crumb

Star Wars & Lord of the Rings Sourdough Starter Names

  • C-3PDough
  • Doughbi-wan Kenobi
  • Breadbo Baggins
  • Doughromir
  • FroDough
  • Han Sodough
  • Doughda
  • Baby Doughda
  • Count Doughku
  • Dough Dameron
  • Doughba Fett

Disney Sourdough Starter Names

  • Cindoughrella
  • Doughana
  • Hercules
  • Alice in Wonderbread
  • Peter Pan
  • Captain Hooch
  • Doughlaf
  • Lightning McKnead
  • Winnie-the-Hooch
  • Flynn Riser
  • Doughcahontas
  • Dough White

Female Names for Sourdough Starter

  • Eve
  • Eden
  • Willa
  • Gladys
  • Irene
  • Gertrude
  • Anna
  • Betty
  • Penelope
  • Edith
  • Pam
  • Mabel
  • Leila
  • Geraldine
  • Gertie
  • Thelma
  • Matilda
  • Elsie
  • Annabel
  • Pearl
  • Hettie
  • Florence
  • Judy
  • Lily
  • Flo
  • Beth
  • Paulie
  • Rose
  • Vera
  • Maurice
  • Fran
  • Simone
  • Nina
  • Olive
  • Karen
  • Mary
  • Helen
  • Terri
  • Lola

Male Names for Sourdough Starter

  • Stu
  • Alan
  • Doug
  • Bruno
  • Bruce
  • Brett
  • Rupert
  • Gordon
  • Nigel
  • Oscar
  • Frank
  • Charlie
  • Hans
  • Jeremy
  • Lars

Foreign Sourdough Starter Names

  • Tina Pay (‘Tinapay’ is bread in Tagalog language)
  • Lèlek (soul in Hungarian)
  • Alma (‘soul’ in Spanish)
  • Oriri (‘rise’ in Latin)
  • Archi (‘start’ in Greek)
  • Inuka (‘rise up’ in Swahili)
  • Alofa (‘love’ in Samoan)
  • Zapal (‘passion’ in Belarusian)
  • Taika (‘Taikina’ means ‘dough’ in Finnish)
  • Ruisleipä (‘rye bread’ in Finnish)
  • Zak (‘Zakwas’ is ‘sourdough’ in Polish)
  • Bara (the Welsh word for ‘bread’)

Sourdough Starter Named by Kids

  • Mr. Sourpants
  • Bready
  • Stinky
  • Stretch
  • George
  • Old Man Sour

Miscellaneous Sourdough Names

  • Herman
  • Bodie
  • Yummy
  • Vinny
  • Bubbles
  • Starty McStarterson
  • Charmander
  • Jesus
  • Carter the Starter
  • Noir
  • Heavy Metal
  • Starter Sammy
  • Rising Times
  • The Finisher
  • Pandora’s Box/Pandora
  • The Colony
  • My Baby
  • COVID Baby
  • Karen Tina
  • Bono
  • Dutchess
  • Queen
  • Dumpster Fire
  • Magnum
  • The Rise of the Pheonix
  • Reek
  • Junior
  • Dart
  • Ghengis
  • Dot
  • Henry the First
  • Monster
  • Momster
  • Couch Potato
  • Yoncé
  • Fester
  • Patience
  • Butters
  • Fauna
  • Mr. Ed
  • Thunder
  • Audrey III
  • King Charles III
  • Stella the Starter
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Ricky Bobby

How to Come Up With Your Own Punny Name

Still not seeing anything that feels right?

You can easily come up with your own punny starter name by using any of these sourdough-related words (also a great way to win at a sourdough-themed Taboo):

  • Dough
  • Rye
  • Bread
  • Yeast
  • Starter
  • Crumb
  • Sour
  • Leaven
  • Knead
  • Loaf
  • Flour
  • Wheat
  • Hooch
  • Boule
  • Rise
  • Levain
  • Crust
  • Gluten
  • Discard
  • Bubble
  • Oven
  • Sift
  • Bake
  • Jar
sourdough starter in weck jar

Just swap in one of these words into a name that means something to you, and you have your very own original sourdough starter name.

Cinderella becomes “Cindoughrella” and “Liza Manelli” becomes “Riza Manelli.”

Give it a try, and let me know what you come up with!

FAQs

What are some funny sourdough starter names?

Puns like Barack Doughbama or The Kneady Boys tend to make for hilarious names. I also think sourdough starter names that require an explanation are pretty funny, like Homer (cause it’s “D’oh!”) or Audrey 2 (after the hungry plant in Little Shop of Horrors).

What are some cute sourdough starter names?

The cutest sourdough starter names are typically sentimental, like naming your starter after your grandmother (think Hattie or Dot). There are also starter names that are cute in a different way, like Bubbles or Mr. Sourpants. I love sourdough starter names that come from kiddos!

What are some quarantine sourdough starter names?

Several sourdough starter names originated from the pandemic, like COVID Baby and Karen Tina (a cheeky reference to quarantine). While you may not want to name your starter after COVID, these names certainly have their place in history!

Conclusion

In the wonderful world of sourdough baking, giving your starter a good name isn’t just a quirky trend – it’s a heartwarming tradition!

As your bubbly companion rises and falls, it becomes a part of your family. Whether you go for puns, honor a loved one, or pick a name that fits your starter’s vibe, it’s all a fun part of the sourdough journey.

Here’s to happy naming and even happier baking!

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