How To Make A Sourdough Starter

Bubbly Sourdough starter in a glass jar from above

If there was ever a time to learn how to make a sourdough starter, it’s now.

Why make a sourdough starter?

Because it’s the easiest, time-proven and healthiest way to make continuous freshly baked soft doughy bread without having to run out to your local grocery store for yeast everytime you crave homemeade bread.

It’s true! Sourdough bread might just be the healthiest bread but in order to make it you need a sourdough starter.

Before I show you how to make a sourdough starter, let’s talk about why

Sourdough bread has been around for over 3500 years. In fact, the first civilization ever recorded to have eaten sourdough bread were the Egyptians; of course, found out and created by accident.

The bread dough was accidentally left out which let the good microorganisms get to work pre-digesting those sugars to make the resulting bread fluffy, spongy and tasty.

Beacuse sourdough bread requires fermentation the final bread is easier to digest. For those who have difficulty digesting bread, try sourdough bread! You might just see a big difference in how you feel afterwards.

How to use your sourdough starter

A sourdough starter is simply flour and water.

The consistancy looks a little bit like soup but you can adjust it to your liking or based on the recipe you’re using.

Some sourdough enthsiasts and professional bread bakers term sourdough starters by their hydration. So you’ll see 20% hydration or 60% or even 100% and more.

All this means is how much water you’re adding to the flour. The more flour, the more stiffer the dough and bread.

Baked sourdough bread on a dish cloth

Using your starter couldn’t be any easier than proofing it before you use it in a recipe and storing it in the fridge while keeping it fed once a week.

How to make a sourdough starter

Step 1

Take 1/2 cup of flour and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir well. Cover with a dish towel and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Step 2

Add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well, cover and let it sit for another 24 hours.

Step 3

Pour some of that starter away and add another 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well, cover and let it sit out in your kitchen for another 24 hours.

Step 4

By this time, if your kitchen temperature has been at a warmer temperature, you should start to see some bubbles forming on your starter. If you do, hooray! That’s a sign that life is starting to take form and establish itself in your starter.

Now, repeat step 3.

Step 5

By this time you should start to see more life in your starter. It should bubble up and expand. It should also have a pleasant slightly acidic smell to it. All these are good signs that your starter is ready to go for baking.

If your starter hasn’t reached this point it hasn’t failed! Go back and repeat step 3 until you see it bubble up and expand.

What next?

Now you have a sourdough starter ready to go! Meet your new kitchen friend. Here’s how to care for it. In a clean glass jar (any size will do, I prefer about 1/2 a quart’s size) pour your starter into the jar and leave at least 1 to 2 inches at the top.

Store it in your fridge and take it our about once a wekk for a feeding.

How to feed your starter: stir in about 1 tablespoon of flour to 2 tablespoons of water into the jar and pop it back into the fridge.

Sourdough starters can be stored in the fridge for months without anything going wrong. If you negelct it for a while take it out, give it a few feedings just like you did in the steps above the make it, until it bubbles up and expands with life again.

Summing it up

A sourdough starter is an easy way to add fermented foods to your diet if you regularly eat bread. Sourdough starters aren’t just for bread, you can use them in pancakes, muffins and even cake recipes. Sourdough bread is an ancient art and a healthy and nutritious way to consume bread.

How about you? Ever tried to make a sourdough starter?

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