How to make a sourdough starter

For any of you following our journey, you will know my youngest daughter has had a few issues with foods, particularly nuts (and eggs and dairy, but not as serious). So to fill the void of baked goods that may have contained nuts or lots of eggs, we’ve been exploring and falling in love with sourdough baking. I’m so happy I can share this with you, and am excited to share my very simple recipes to get some delicious, nourishing breads for you and your family.

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Sourdough bread is absolutely amazing. In fact, sourdough is probably the most healthy way you can consume bread. That’s because through the fermentation process, harnessing natural bacteria and allowing long rise times increases digestibility and nutrient absorption of our grains. As a bonus, sourdough bread is lower GI and far more hearty than any store bought bread I have ever eaten. Once you get started, it’s actually pretty simple. There are kneaded and no-knead versions of sourdough….but we can get to that later. Right now lets get started with our starter. Your starter is the thing that we will mix in with our dough, and when it “feeds” on the flour over our long rise time, the gases released will give our bread the lift. Don’t be afraid!! I spend about 5 minutes “active” time each day getting my bread ready and feeding my starter, so it shouldn’t be too daunting for you. I mainly use white flour to feed my starter, purely because starters maintained on whole meal flour can become a bit stinky over time. You do what works for you.

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This is our starter, or the “mother”. And it’s so amazingly simple, you won’t believe it. Just flour and water. THAT’S IT! It’s going to take about 7 days to get kicking, so now’s as good a time to start as any! When measuring your flour, make sure its firmly packed. The starter should be really quite a thick batter, basically too thick to pour out.

On the first day get a large clean glass jar (maybe about 1L in capacity). Mix together 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered (or cooled boiled) water with a wooden/plastic spoon (avoid metal). Cover with a clean tea towl, rubber band and just let it relax for 12 hours.

After 12 hours, mix in 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup filtered water. Again, let it just chill out.

After 12 hours, repeat again. 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup filtered water. Mix it thoroughly.

Repeat your feedings every 12 hours (morning and night works!) for 7 days. You’ll begin to notice a little bit of action after a few days and should noticeably see “yeast activity” a few hours after each feeding when the starter is in full swing. NOTE!! It will become a bit “stinky”….that’s the smell of the fermentation. DO NOT THINK IT HAS GONE BAD!! You will know your starter is ready to bake when it doubles in size a few hours after each feed.

Once your starter is established, you can store it (with a lid on) after feeding in the fridge unless you are going to bake that day. Then its good to get it out that morning (I usually prep my dough in the evening) and feed the starter to get some buzz happening. You can then return to the fridge for another few days. I bake almost every day, so mine happily lives on the bench in my pantry. Depending on how much baking I am doing, I generally feed it once or twice a day.

You aren’t limited to just bread with sourdough! You can make tortillas, pancakes, crackers, cake, muffins etc! As a bonus they become fabulous for your gut releasing so many of the “trapped” nutrients in the grains. Here is my sandwich bread recipe.

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I’m really so excited to share our sourdough journey with you all!

Comments

  1. Danielle says

    Hi there, just checking if you just keep adding to to the same starter after the 7 days? I understand that I can store it in the fridge after 7 days of feeding… Do I have to keep feeding it once it’s in the fridge? How long does it last for in the fridge?

    Thanks Danielle

    • says

      yes, you keep feeding and using from the same starter after the first 7 days, feeding daily if you are regularly baking and leaving on the countertop. if you are an infrequent baker, you can feed, close jar and pop it in the fridge for a week or two. before using you will need to let it come to room temperature and feed again to “revive” it for baking. then use some, feed again and return to the fridge.

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