The Beginners Guide to Sourdough StarterJump to Recipe Print Recipe
Sourdough starter was been passed down for generations in many families back before yeast was isolated and sold in those nice, convenient little packets we be at the store.
We shop for many of our kitchen essentials at a local Amish bulk food store, as I walked down the baking aisle grabbing our bulk flour and sugar I came to the section for the yeast and their was no yeast to be found so I figured it was finally time, I had been wanting to start my own sourdough starter but didn’t need so I kept putting it off. Now that the Amish were out of yeast it was finally time to get my butt in gear and make my own yeast!
What is Sourdough Starter
Many of our grains, seeds, and beans are coated in phytic acid to protect them from spoiling. This acid keeps certain nutrient from those foods from enter and nourishing our bodies. Fermenting the grains gets rid of most, if not all of the phytic acid. Traditional cultures use fermented start (sourdough starter) for breads for this reason.
So how do you make a sourdough starter?
Getting started with a Sourdough Starter
- Flour (Wheat, All Purpose, Einkorn, etc.)
- Water (Non-Chlorinated)
The Process of Making Sourdough Starter:
- Day 1: Mix one cup of flour and one cup of water. Stir the starter until everything is combined, scraping down the sides if needed. Place a clean tea towel over bowl and let sit for 24 hours.
- Day 2-5: Remove half the mixture and add one cup of flour and one cup of water, stirring until combined. Cover with a tea towel for 24 hours.
- Day 6-7: Repeat instructions from days 2-5 feeding the starter every 12 hours instead of every 24 hours. On day 7 you can start baking.
If you plan to use your starter occasionally you will want to store it in the fridge. Storing it in the fridge will slow down the fermentation process. Allowing you to only have to feed it once a week.
If you plan to use your starter daily you will want to keep it on the counter. The beneficial bacteria is active at room temperature, so you will need to feed your starter more often, adding flour and water to your starter everyday.
How to Maintain Your Sourdough Starter
To keep your starter alive and active for years to come you will have to maintain it by feeding it.
Tips for Success with Your Starter
- It’s working if the sourdough is bubbling (if there aren’t a lot of bubbles it may need to be feed more flour).
- Say you plan on using your sourdough starter on a Tuesday, you will pull it out from the fridge on Monday, feed it, and let it sit on the counter over night.
- If the sourdough starter has a sour or vinegary smell, it is not bad. Fermenting foods tend to have a sour smell.
- If your starter has clear gray liquid on top it is called hooch (you can drain this off or mix it back in). It means your starter needs to be fed more flour.
- If you neglect your starter simply remove half mix and starter over with feeding it flour and water to revive it
- Glass Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Tea Towel
- Flour Wheat Flour, Einkorn, All-purpose
- Water Non-chlorinated
- Day 1: Mix one cup of flour and one cup of water. Stir until everything is combined, scraping down the sides if needed. Place a clean tea towel over bowl and let sit for 24 hours.
- Day 2-5: Remove half the mixture and add one cup of flour and one cup of water, stirring until combined and covering with a tea towel for 24 hours.
- Day 6-7: Repeat instructions from days 2-5 but instead of feeding the sourdough starter every 24 hours, feed it every 12 hours. On day 7 you can start baking.
Common Questions/FAQ About Sourdough Starter
- Why do you have to remove half the mixture?
- If you don’t remove half the starter mixture you will end up with a lot of immature starter.
- How often does the starter need to be fed if its on the counter top?
- If your starter is on the counter top your starter will need to be fed everyday.
- How do you store starter?
- You store starter in the fridge for occasional use and on the counter for daily use.
- How much sourdough starter do you keep on hand?
- Leave about one cup of starter in the bowl so you can feed it and get back to a full bowl of starter. You will need to keep enough starter in the bowl that you can continue to feed it.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Starting Sourdough
Sourdough starter is super simple to make, super healthy for you, and is easy to revive if life gets busy and you neglect it.