Learn to make your very own sourdough starter so you can make tons of delicious sourdough recipes!
After my last blog post, I had a lot of requests for my sourdough starter recipe. I have preached of the benefits of sourdough in previous blogs, and I’m working diligently to turn as many of my bread recipes to sourdough that I can this year. I’m so excited to see so many eager to start their own sourdough journey, too! So, I figured I’d sit down and write out the process of making a sourdough starter from scratch for you.
Sourdough is a traditional way of making bread by fermentation. Sourdough is much healthier than average bread. Fermentation of the dough allows lactic acid to predigest the grain making it more easily digestible for us. Also, this predigestion makes the vitamins and minerals in the grain more easily accessible for our bodies to absorb. Plus, sourdough is three simple ingredients: flour, water, and salt. Have you checked the ingredient lists in storebought bread lately?
Aside from the health benefits that sourdough bread provides, it also has that slighly tangy flavor that just can’t be beat. There are so many delicious things you can make with sourdough starter. Of course, loaves of bread are always a staple in our home but let’s think outside the box! You can make pancakes, waffles, bagels, pretzels- even sourdough pasta! It’s amazing how many ways you can incorporate sourdough into your food.
What You’ll Need
Of course, you’ll need flour and water. I use an organic unbleached all purpose, but I have built starters from just regular all purpose as well. Sometimes using tap water can kill the natural yeast, so keep that in mind if your water is treated with chlorine.
I would also highly recommend a kitchen scale that weighs in grams. That will make it so much easier to get your exact measurements of flour and water. Kitchen scales are cheap- about $20 will get you one that’s perfect for measuring up what you need for your starter.
You’ll also need some kind of container with a lid to put the starter in. A mason jar works well for this but use any container you have on hand.
Okay, let’s get to the process!
Making the Sourdough Starter from Scratch
Day 1: Mix 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water in your container. Allow this to sit for 12-24 hours.
Day 2: Discard half of the first day’s mix. Next mix in 75 grams of flour and 75 grams of water. Let sit for another 12-24 hours.
Days 3-5: You may see a litle bit of bubbles and activity on this day, but it is totally okay if you don’t! Again discard half of your mixture. Mix 75 grams of water and 75 grams of flour. Allow to sit 12-24 hours.
After day 5, you may need to feed it twice a day depending if your starter looks “hungry” after 12 hours. Your starter is hungry when there are a lot of tiny, frothy looking bubbles on top, and it is very thin and liquidy. You would do the same feeding schedule, once in the morning then once at night. If your starter is not yet super active and appearing hungry after 12 hours, continue doing the once a day feeding.
After day ten, your starter may be ready to bake with. Remember, it can take up to 14 days to achieve an active starter, so don’t give up! You can test to see if your starter is ready by doing what is called the float test. Put a little bit of starter into a glass of warm water. If it floats, the starter is ready to use! You can also check by examining the starter. It should be thick, bubbly, and doubled in size.
Maintaining Your Starter
When your starter is mature and ready to bake with, maintain it feeding it regularly. If you leave it out on the counter, it will need fed daily. You can also put it in the fridge and feed it once a week. You want to feed it when you are using it to bake as well. I always feed mine about 12 hours before I need to use it.
You may notice a layer of liquid on top of your starter. This is called hooch. This means your starter is hungry and needs fed. Pour off the hooch and do a regular feeding.
Have you ever tried baking sourdough before? Is it something you want to try but not sure where to start? Comment below and let me know! Don’t forget to sign up for the email list to receive updates from the blog!