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How to make sourdough starter from scratch

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Making sourdough starter is a lot easier than most people think. The starter is the yeast your bread needs to rise. It takes some time to make because it needs time to mature and become strong enough to give your dough the lift it needs.  It has to be made at least 7 days in advance.

You will also learn how to feed sourdough bread and reviving sourdough starter from fridge.

You can read more about why sourdough is easier to digest amongst many other benefits of sourdough bread and why it is better for most people by clicking this link to the real bread campaign.

Sourdough Starter Ingredients

  • Flour, Strong white flour or plain white flour, with a high protein content, about 12 % and above.
  • (Other flours like rye and wholemeal do work as well but my favourite starter is made with plain flour)
  • You will find the protein content on the nutrition information packet on the flour.
  • Tap water or boiled cooled water
  • You will also need a large jar or bowl or any other food safe container with a lid

Method : Sourdough starter

Day One

Mix 50 grams of flour and 50 ml water together in a small bowl and then pour it into the large jar and cover with the lid. If you want to see how much it rises you can put a mark to the level of the flour mixture. See how much it has risen the next day.

Leave this at room temperature

Day Two

You will see that the mixture is getting bubbly and this is perfectly fine. Make more of the 50 gram flour and water mixture and add it to the jar and mix. Leave at room temperature and leave it overnight again.

Day Three – Day Seven

  • Repeat the day two process.
  • If your jar is not big enough, transfer to a bigger one
  • It will smell a bit like vinegar as well and that is what you are looking for. If this starts to happen round day 3-4 it will still not be ready. Do not be tempted to use it too early.
  • You will need to feed it every day when kept at room temperature.

It usually takes 7 days for a starter to be ready but some factors like your flour and environment can make it take longer.  If it does take longer keep at it, you may need to remove (discard) some of the starter to make room for more feeds.  You can use that starter in other bakes or throw away.

If you live in a hot country you may need to feed your starter twice a day because it gets really thin and inactive.  You may need to make use of the fridge in between feeds from day two.

When your starter is ready you can now use it to bake.  If you do not bake often, you can keep the starter in the fridge. You do not need to feed it everyday when you store it in the fridge.

When you need it again, get it out of the fridge, feed it, mix and leave it at room temperature and it should double in about 4- 6 hours.

After a few weeks, when your starter is stronger and fed and used often, you can use it straight from the fridge.  It will also need a lot less management.

Feed it each time after using so that you have enough for a loaf of bread.

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