I have been experimenting with sourdough for at least five years now. I hope to give you a tutorial that is simple and easy to follow and will help you get your own sourdough starter active from scratch. It takes just seven days to prepare your own sourdough starter, so you can bake your own perfect sourdough bread.
What is sourdough?
Sourdough, in my own words, is a combination of water and flour, which has fermented and can be used to raise your bread dough without using any commercial yeast. Growing a sourdough starter is not difficult at all and baking with sourdough only requires a teeny bit more planning than baking with commercial yeast. The result is mindblowing, addictive and healthier than standard bread.
Sourdough starters grow on natural yeast and are variable due to temperature and naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast populations in your home. Keep an eye on your starter as it grows, the process might be slower or faster than that which I experience in my house.
So here we go!
- 2kg of flour (You might not use everything, but it is better to have more and you need some extra to start the baking process once your starter is ready.
- Fresh water ( preferably unchlorinated, you want optimal lactobacilli growth)
- A clean one-liter glass jar with a lid
- A spoon for stirring
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Day 1. Mix one tablespoon of flour with one tablespoon of water in your jar, close the lid and leave on the shelve overnight.
- Day 2. Add one tablespoon of flour with one tablespoon of water in your jar, mix and close the lid and leave on the shelve overnight.
- Day 3. Add 2 tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of water in the jar and mix. Close the lid again and leave overnight.
- Day 4 Add more or less 60 ml of flour and 60 ml of water, mix in and leave overnight.
- Day 5 Remove half the mixture, I will soon share a pancake recipe to make with the discarded mix. Now add another 60ml of water and 60ml of flour to the mixture in your jar, close and leave on the shelve.
- Day 6 Repeat the process of day 5
- Day 7 You should now have 240ml of fairly active sourdough starter. If there is any vinegary water floating on the top, pour it off and discard it before you mix in the new flour and water for the day. Now add 120ml of flour and 120ml of water and wait for it to become bubbly before attempting your first sourdough bread. You can use the recipe here.
Adding flour and water to your starter every day to keep it alive is called “feeding” your starter
Throughout the whole process, keep an eye on your starter. It should become bubbly at around day three/four and be active on day seven. I would recommend you keep up the feeding until at least day ten. After day ten, you can store your starter in the fridge and feed it once a week.
If vinegary water forms on the top in the fridge, discard it and feed the starter afterward. Always feed your starter on baking day and leave it at room temperature to become active before attempting to use it as a starter in your bread mix.
Have any questions? Pop them in the comments and I will answer them as soon as possible.