Cooking: Sourdough Starter

When in quarantine during a world pandemic one wants to cook all the things!  To be honest, I’ve been cooking and baking everything I can think of to help keep myself busy during these crazy times.

When I couldn’t find yeast I decided I would just make it myself.  It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love sourdough bread.  I did quite a bit of research but everything I came across just seemed so overwhelming.  I wanted to simplify the process.  I decided to combine a few recipes I found and I got lucky because it worked out super well.  So well that I had to quickly make bread so that my starter would not overflow the jar it was in.

So, here’s how I made my sourdough starter.  Good luck!

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Non-Chlorinated Water
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Paper Towels
  • Rubber Band
  • 32 Oz Mason Jar or another glass jar

Day 1:  Combine vigorously a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup non-chlorinated water in a 32 Oz Mason Jar.  Scrape down the sides of the jar and cover with a paper towel secured by a rubber band and keep in a warm place.

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Day 2:  After 24 hours check your starter for bubbles, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see any or many at all.  Mine for example had maybe one or two bubbles.  Stir and let sit for another 24 hours.

Day 3:  Discard half of the starter (Sad I know. Be sure to check for discard recipes if you feel bad about throwing your discard in the trash).  Add another 1/2 cup of all purpose flour and 1/3 cup of water.  You want a smooth consistency that is not too runny but not too thick.  Think batter not dough.

Continue Day 3 steps until your starter is bubbly and doubles in size within 8 hours of feeding.  It took my starter 7 days to get to this point so don’t get discouraged if you do not see results right away.

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A couple tips:

  • Mid way into maintaining my starter I started using a piece of masking tape on the outside of the jar to mark where my starter was in the morning.  This allowed me to really track the progress and see how much it had grown.
  • If on Day 5 you do not see much movement, try feeding with whole wheat flour.  Whole wheat flour has more natural yeast which encourages your starter to get working.
  • Keep your starter in a warm place like by on on top of the stove, on top of the refrigerator or my favorite in the oven (turned off) with the light on.  I did this on Day 5 and I think it made a world of difference.  Think about it, the oven is a warm temperature controlled environment unlike your home where temperatures can fluctuate.

Once your starter is ready (use the float test if you are unsure), it is ready to use.  After using some of your starter for your recipe, feed again, let double in size and store in your refrigerator.  Storing in the refrigerator allows you to feed just once a week which makes the maintenance process much more manageable.

When it is feeding time, remove from the refrigerator (there maybe liquid on the top of the starter, this is normal) you can either drain the liquid or mix it in, either is okay.  Discard half of the starter and feed as you did in the above steps.  Keep the starter out of refrigerator for about two hours to allow it to come to room temperature which ensures the mixture feeds properly.  Return to the refrigerator after two hours.

When you are ready to use the starter for a recipe, remove from the refrigerator, discard and feed.  Continue this until you notice that is is bubbly and doubling in size.  At this point it is ready to use.  This may take a day or so, so give yourself plenty of time.

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