how to make sourdough starter
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you can make delicious, better than the bakery, sourdough bread at home using this easy to follow recipe for sourdough starter
As someone who loves to cook and bake, I hate when I find a recipe that I really want to make and then find out it takes a specialty ingredient to complete. I have no patience for that. Even now with Amazon Prime, an ingredient like sourdough starter is at least a day away.
Years ago I found a recipe in a back issue of Mary Jane’s farm for sourdough bread. As a BIG fan I couldn’t wait to try it. None of the grocery store in my area carried starter, and this was long before Amazon prime. I searched and searched for ways to make the starter on my own. I found a very basic recipe that called for 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water, stir, cover, and feed every day. Easy as pie.
Only, it didn’t work all that well. It could have been my kitchen, or the water and flour I used, but the results we less than thrilling, and on occasion, my starter would die and I’d have to begin again.
Eventually I gave up, but the other day I had a serious craving for sourdough, most likely because I have been off the bread for almost 9 weeks. I found several other ideas for starter and went with a formula from the kitchn.
What you’ll need –
a large glass bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cup for water, a kitchen scale, a clean towel, rubber band, flour and water
day 1 is when you begin the starter by combining equal parts flour and water, cover your starter with a clean kitchen towel, and secure with the rubber band, leave out at room temperature
by day 2 you should begin to see bubbles forming, and you may even be able to detect a slight sour smell, feed your starter by mixing in flour and water, cover and let rest
day 3 and 4, you are going to really notice a sour smell and more bubbles forming, feed the starter the same as in days 1 and 2
by day 5 your starter should be ready to use. it should have grown in size with a very strong sour smell, and when you mix you will notice the starter to be much looser
once your starter is ready to use, remove enough starter for your recipe – my sourdough bread recipes calls for 1 cup of sourdough starter, then continue to feed and cover until you’re ready to bake again
- in a large glass bowl combine 4 ounces of flour with 4 ounces of water stir so that you do not have any dry flour visible
- cover the bowl with a clean lightweight kitchen towel, secure with a rubberband and set in a warm spot (about 70 degrees)
- day 2 - add 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water to your starter stir to blend well, and cover
- repeat for days 3 and 4
- day 5 your starter should be ready to use; remove 1 cup of starter for recipe (or discard) and feed remaining starter with 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water (this will become day 1)
- repeat days 2,3,4,5
i try to always feed my starter at the same time every day, and if you are not going to be using it every 5 days or so, simply discard 1 cup of starter on day 5 and continue to feed it.
5 days may seem like a long time to wait but I really love checking my starter every morning to see how it’s doing, and by the time we finish a loaf the starter is ready for me to bake another.
**if your starter isn’t quite ready on day 5, simply feed as you did days 2,3, and 4 and check again on day 6. if you still don’t have a starter that is ready to use you may need to discard and start again.