Simple Sourdough Starter
Sourdough doesn't have to be hard! All you need is flour, water, a container of sorts and about a weeks time...and you'll be on your way to baking sourdough bread in no time!
Before we jump in, I want to say this: I'm no certified expert on the art of sourdough. This is just what has worked for me...and continues to! If you're anything like me, you've probably looked through a handful of sourdough starter recipes on the internet...and probably began to feel stressed when you saw weighed-out measurements listed. Personally, I don't weigh out my ingredients, simply because our ancestors didn't and they still proved to be phenomenal bakers, despite their primitivity. I'm heavily inspired by backcountry camp cooks in remote hunting camps...and I know for a fact that they don't pack in high-tech gadgets for their bread when they need to feed their starter! Keep it basic and simple, don't overthink it! It's just flour, water and a little time to rise!
You Will Need:
-Glass jar (like this!)
To establish the starter (Day 1):
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup water (filtered if your water is hard!)
To maintain the starter each day (Day 3-7):
- 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup water
Day 1: In the jar, combine 1⁄2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1⁄4 cup of warm water in a jar. Mix ingredients with a fork until somewhat smooth; the consistency will be pasty-like. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let it rest in a warm spot for 24 hours.
Day 2: Today, you're doing nothing but checking! Look for bubbles on your mixtures surface (like shown in this blogs cover photo!) If you don’t see anything yet, it’s okay. Leave your starter in a warm spot to rest for another 24 hours.
**Does your starter have a dark liquid appeared on the surface? If so, it's "hooch!" Hooch is essentially alcohol that's given off in liquid form as the wild yeast ferments within your sourdough starter...it's just an indication that your starter needs to be fed, which is totally normal! Leave it be, you can discard it when you begin to feed your starter again tomorrow.**
Day 3: Remove and discard about half of your starter from the jar. Add 1⁄2 cup of all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of warm water to the jar. Mix with a fork until smooth. Now, the texture should look like thick Bisquick batter. Cover and let rest your starter rest in a warm spot for another 24 hours.
Day 4, 5 and 6: Repeat Day 3 instructions each day. At this point, your starter will start to rise and form bubbles since the yeast is developing...this is what we want! When the starter falls, it just means that it's time to feed it.
**At this point, I only loosely cover the jar with plastic wrap. The wild yeast that enables your starter to grow is captured in its surroundings...by keeping a tight lid on it, you're inhibiting this process...I learned the hard way years ago when I first made my attempt at a starter, don't make my mistake!**
Day 7: You starter should have tons of bubbles and have doubled in size at this point. The texture will be spongy and fluffy. If it's all of the above, then it's ready to use!
**Keep in mind, if your starter is not ready at this point, i.e. temperature being too cold, timing, etc. continue to feed it for 1-2 weeks; be patient, you just have to give it time!
You have a starter, now what?! Stay tuned for my next blog post on feeding and maintaining your sourdough starter so you can use it in recipes!
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