How to Create Your Own Sourdough Starter
A well-kept sourdough starter is the foundation of all good sourdough breads. A sourdough starter is essentially fermenting flour and water that naturally develops wild yeast. It’s easy to make your own sourdough starter, and once you do, you never need to make another as long as you keep your starter properly maintained. Some bakeries or families even have sourdough starters that have been handed down from generation to generation!
- 150g strong bread flour (each day)
- 150g water (each day)
- (optional) ⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast
Combine the active dry yeast, strong bread flour and water in a bowl and mix to create a paste.
- At this point, you should have ~ 300 grams of paste
- Cover it with a kitchen cloth. Store in a warm area for 1 day
Day 2, 3, 4, 5
- After 1 day, remove and discard 150 grams of paste
- Add 75 grams each of bread flour and water to the paste, and mix thoroughly.
- Cover it with a kitchen cloth. Store in warm area for 1 day.
- Repeat steps 3-5 for approximately 5 days.
- Save the starter in an airtight mason jar in the fridge.
- Name your starter. It’s your new pet!
Things to Notice
- A healthy starter smells sweet, nutty, and slightly alcoholic from the fermentation. It should not smell acrid.
- The starter should not have a black liquid on top. This means you haven’t fed the starter and the yeast cultures have decayed. It should be discarded.
- At room temperature, a healthy starter will actively bubble and froth.
- Sourdough starters get better with age! As yeast colonies develop and become stronger and more robust, your bread will begin to have a more open crumb structure, better crust, and stronger flavor.
Taking Care of Your Starter
Feedings should happen approximately every week, minimum every two weeks.
- This is done by removing approximately 150 grams of starter for baking and adding equal weights of bread flour and water to the remaining starter.
- The starter should be mixed for around 2-3 mins, and left out at room temperature for 4-5 hours before being stored in the fridge.
- Every 5-6 feedings, adding an optional spoonful of Rye or Spelt flour adds a nuttier flavor to the starter.
- If there is a time where you are unable to feed your starter, do not freeze it, as that process will kill the yeast cultures. Follow this guide for drying and reconstituting the starter.