About this recipe:Making a sourdough starter is an easy thing to do; add water and strong flour together and let nature take over. You do not need to add yeast or apple or grapes or yoghurt to create the starter. The yeast comes from airborne wild or natural yeasts that are all around us in sufficient quantities to activate the starter. Then it is a matter of feeding the starter every day for 5 days. The starter will produce bubbles and will have a sweet alcoholic smell. I store my starter in a 1.5L Kilner jar and leave it in my kitchen in a cool place ready for use. The starter can be stored in the fridge if you have the space as this will slow down the activity and preserve it. You must bring the starter back to room temperature before use to get it active again, so allow 12 hours before use. The creation of a starter takes approximately 5 days and then regular feeding thereafter. Follow the step by step guide below and you will have the beginning of a wonderful sourdough starter.
50g strong white flour, strong wholemeal flour or rye flour or a mix
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Method Prep:10min › Extra time:5days proofing › Ready in:5days10min
On day 1 mix the flour and water and pour into a 1.5L Kilner jar. Repeat this process and feed the starter for a further 4 days using the quantities above. At the end of 5 days you will have 500g of sourdough starter that is starting to bubble and smelling of sweet alcohol. When you put a spoon into it it should be like a thick batter. Now you have the base starter which needs to be fed and developed. If water forms on top of the starter just stir the starter and the water will disappear back into the mixture. The picture shows my jar of starter and you can see where the starter has been active and "climbed" up the jar. This starter has been active for nearly a year, so bit of a youngster!
To develop the starter and give it more vigour remove about 300g of the starter which can be added to pancake batter, Yorkshire pudding batter, scone dough or give it away to a friend to help them create a starter culture. Now make a 50:50 mix of flour to water this time using 100g of flour and 100ml water and pour into the jar and mix into the leftover starter.
Next day feed it again with 50:50 this time using 50g of flour and 50ml water and you have replaced the amount of discarded starter. By now the starter will be active and ready to use. Each time you use the starter to make bread immediately replace the quantity taken from the jar and used in the recipe with the 50:50 mix, for example, if the recipe starter quantity is 300g then replace this amount in your storage jar with 150ml water and 150g flour and mix into the leftover starter in the jar.
If you do not use the sourdough starter on a regular basis the starter will go dormant, which is not bad, but before it can be used in a recipe it will have to be reactivated. Place your jar in the kitchen (a place warmer than where you had stored it) and discard half the starter and replace the quantity with a 50:50 feed. Within 24 hours the starter will be getting active and another feed or two will get it back to strength. The more active and stronger the starter the more flavoursome the bread becomes and the rise of the bread will also improve.
With your sourdough starter bubbling and smelling great now it's time to make some bread. Have a look at my recipe for a simple sourdough loaf to get you started. Have fun and enjoy the depth of flavour sourdough bread has.