Sourdough Starter

The result of a great Sourdough Starter...

Nothing is better than homemade bread.  Especially when it’s made with natural ingredients and can be done with only three things; flour, water, and salt.  Of course, you need your sourdough starter but what is that if not only flour and water.
If you use your kitchen and cook daily, there are millions of awesome yeasts and bacteria floating around and that’s what we’re going to utilize to make our starter.

Actors and props in the play:

The quality of flour and the water you use are extremely important.  Remember, you are going to have your starter for years so use good stuff.  I usually grind my own flour for my artisan breads but sometimes I don’t.  Never, buy bleached flour and if you can avoid enriched.  A good flour to use for your starter is something like King Arthur’s All Purpose Flour.  Don’t use tap water either as it usually has chlorine in it that can damage your starter.  
In a large jar, place 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup of purified or bottled water.  Stir until incorporated and cover with a dish towel.  Leave out on the counter in a warm, non-drafty area for 24 hours.  Repeat with the 1 cup of four and the 2/3 cup of water.  Do this every day for 3-5 days.  Of course, you are going to end up with a lot so discard until your jar is only ½ to 1/3 full.  You will start to see bubbles forming and smell a sweet/sour.  That is your natural yeast culture doing its thing.
For my starter, I added flour and water for a full seven days because I wasn’t sure if it was what I was seeing and smelling was right.  Feed your starter one more time and make sure that your jar is no more than 1/3 full.  Place a lid on the jar and put it in the refrigerator for 72 hours.  The evening of the 3rd day, remove the starter from the fridge and feed it.  I cover my jar with a coffee filter and rubber band and leave it on the counter overnight.   The next morning, your starter should have doubled in size.  Stir it and it is ready for use.
Sourdough starter is very forgiving and a little abuse won’t hurt it.  You should feed it once a week whether you use it or not to keep it healthy.  Store it in the frig with a lid on.  I’ve gone as much as two weeks without feeding mine and its done just fine.  It may get a brownish watery substance floating on the top but you can just poor that off.  That is the waste product of the yeast.
Treat your starter well and it will do the same for you.

On my next post, I’ll do my basic white, sourdough bread for you.


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