With all these sourdough recipes floating around the internet these days, have you ever thought about trying your hand at it?
Initially, I found the prospect of making my own sourdough starter both a daunting idea and a very neat homestead-y concept.
Daunting because it sounded like a lot of work to not only start the sourdough starter, but also continue to feed it throughout its entire “life!”
Homestead-y (I may have made that word up…) because what is more “back to basic living” than using nothing more than water and flour to make bread nice and fluffy?
In any case, it seemed like an interesting skill to master – and guess what? I found it was easier than I thought!
I started by adding 1 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup white flour and mixed well.
There were still lumps of flour, but I didn’t worry about it; I have been making yeast bread since I was 10 or so and lumps at this stage always dissipate.
It takes a number of weeks to achieve a “mature” sourdough starter.
Therefore, patience is definitely a virtue in this case!
While developing this mature starter, you need to remove half the mix and feed the starter with more flour and water daily.
Most people say to throw the removed portion away, but I’m not about to waste that tangy flavour!
In the early stages, your starter will not give you the leavening effect you need to make your bread rise.
You simply need to add all the ingredients the sourdough recipe calls for PLUS yeast, so you get a good rise.
Once you have a mature sourdough starter, you really only need to feed it every few days to maintain it.
When you feed your starter, after removing half the batch, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour and mix again.
Within a few hours, you should see bubbles starting to form; this means you have a healthy starter!
It should have a nice tangy smell, as well.
Make sure you put it into a container that is at least twice the size of your starter as it will expand when you feed it and don’t want it all over your counter.
I have my starter covered with a couple layers of cheese cloth.
To use the “throw away” portion from my mature starter, I have placed it in a mixing bowl and added 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour – just like feeding the starter I’m keeping!
Then, I cover it and let it sit overnight or even up to 24 hours.
It should bubble nicely by the next morning and can be used for all kinds of recipes!
Think you’re ready to try making your own sourdough starter? Or are you still not convinced it’s worth the work?
Drop a comment below with your thoughts!