Since I started to learn how to make #sourdough a few people have asked about how I started my ‘starter’, the active yeast ingredient used in sourdough so they can also make theirs.
I have no idea if this is the exact, best or professional way of doing things, but this is what worked for me under the guidance of my very kind brother-in-law and the book he gifted me which is this one by Casper Andre Lugg and Martin Ivar Hveem Field :
The section about Starters in this book is really easy to follow with lots of pictures of what it should look like at each stage of the five day process.
So, this is what I did…
Day 1: You’ll need a clean glass jar with a lid you can leave on loosely, some scales, wholemeal flour and water. You’re going to be adding flour and water to the jar for the next 5 days so make sure it’s big enough to allow that to happen.
Put 30g of whatever type of wholegrain flour you have in the jar together with 80g of warmish water (about 30c if you have a thermometer)
Mix together. This should make a paste. Place the lid loosely on the jar so that air can get to the paste and leave in a warmish place-maybe on the kitchen worktop for 24 hours.
Day 2: The mixture might look a little thicker and that’s great! It means the process has started.
Weigh and mix in 50g of the same flour you used yesterday together with another 80g of warm water and leave for another 24 hours.
Day 3: Some bubbles may have formed in the paste. This is the CO2 you want to see because that’s what makes the holes in the sourdough bread. This is my Starter on day 3.
Again, weigh and mix in another 30g of flour and 80g of warm water. As the flour and water is added this is ‘feeding’ the mixture so the sugars can turn into CO2 (apparently)
At this point I started to notice a warm, beery biscuit smell coming from the mixture. I think that means it’s doing its thing?!
Day 4…nearly there! there should be more bubbles forming now and the active ingredients should really start working. By the end of day 4 my mixture looked quite frothy.
Add your 30g of flour and 80g of water again to this and mix well. Don’t worry if your bubbles disappear temporarily. I thought I was knocking all the good stuff out of it! The chemical reactions will still continue to happen and the active ingredients won’t be destroyed by storing the starter.
My jar was actually very full so I stored some in another jar, but some people just throw half away at this point. The active ingredient is there is its not really the volume that counts, as long as you have enough for your first loaf and some left to keep adding to for your next one.
Day 5: Now your baby Starter is ready to turn into a teenager.
You’ll need a second clean jar or a container to put some mixture in temporarily.
Weigh 30g of your Starter mixture and place it in a new jar or in a container.
Add 50g of your wholegrain flour to the small amount of your Starter.
Add 50g of strong white flour and mix.
Finally, add 130g or warm water and stir together.
Leave to stand for 12 hours (in the new jar or the old jar after you’ve transferred the original mixture out and cleaned it) and then you’re ready to bake with your Starter.
Some Starter recipes tell you to feed (Add the flour and water) to your starter once more before you make dough and bake with it, but I suppose it depends on how developed and bubbly your Starter is? I did feed mine again once just to be on the safe side.
Hope yours works out 🙂