• Elizabeth Middleton

Sourdough starter

Updated: May 17

New skills are never too late to learn and I‘m proud to say that I can now make Sourdough. Like many, I explored this during the Covid-19 Pandemic, while we all stayed at home. Instagram and the web have so many resources, but more importantly, inspiration.


I am definitely no expert, and I’ve only been doing this for a very short time. Please consider my recipe and advice as a friend’s advice, I am not and won‘t ever be a professional. There, that’s my disclaimer.


Here is my recipe and tips for a sourdough starter. You can find similar recipes easily all over the Internet. My recipe and techniques for baking a Sourdough loaf is here, and I’ll update with pictures and videos soon.


Sourdough Starter

Ingredients

50 g tepid water

50 g bread flour


Equipment needed

Plastic yoghurt container or glass jar, no metal lid

small spatula

Electronic scale


Method

Day 1

Measure out 50 g water and 50 g bread flour

Combine to form a paste

Put in the yoghurt container or glass jar. Keep it at room temperature, but not in direct sunlight.

Day 2

Add 50 g water and 50g bread flour, mix in to the starter

Day 3, 4, 5

Remove half and add 50 g water and 50 g bread flour, repeat for days 3, 4, and 5.

You should have 100 g of starter and on day 5 it will be bubbly and frothy

Now this is the hard part, discard all but half of it again. It’s hard emotionally because your starter looks ripe. You can just separate it and make another starter if you like, give it away or discard in the trash. You can also cook with it to make sourdough muffins, crumpets, waffles, etc. That’s a future post.


Should you need more ripe starter or want to gift it, you can feed it that amount. For example, you start with 50 grams and want to double the recipe, just feed it 100 g water, and 100 g flour. It will take overnight for it to feed on a bigger amount, but it will give you 250 grams of ripe starter the next day.


How to tell it’s ready

The starter is ready and ripe to use when it is a marshmallow consistency, very bubbly and doubled in volume. It actually doubles in weight too. The other test you can do is the float test, where you take a small amount and put it into a small bowl of water. If it floats easily, it’s ready. Personally, I find that it’s good to use between 15-22 hours after you feed it.


Rules

1. Feed your starter the same weight of the starter, or more of its weight. This holds true if you receive starter from a friend. I feed mine half the amount I need to bake, as it doubles. This may require you to discard, if it is less than the remaining starter. Measure it out, don’t guess.

2. Don’t completely seal your starter when you’re feeding it, it will explode. This happened to me with a mason jar, it broke the glass within one hour of feeding it. Now I’m back to plastic yoghurt containers for now.

3. Don’t expose it to sunlight. While some warmth can be its friend, light will kill the bacteria. Unfortunately that happened to me with a Sourdough starter a friend gave to me. I killed it by letting it sit in the sun on my countertop.

4. Feed your starter half the amount you need the night before a bake, and leave it out in room temperature, covered but with a little air coming in.

5. If you aren’t planning to bake for a while, you can keep it sealed in the refrigerator and feed it weekly to maintain it. Putting in the refrigerator makes it go to sleep and less active. So that means when you’re ready to bake bring it back to room temperature.

6. You can’t really kill it unless you expose it to direct sunlight for a while, but it can go weak. Just pour off any liquid (called Hooch) and go back to feeding, it’s full weight or more.

7. I don’t worry about feeding it the same time of day, just approximate when you will need it. I usually feed it at 8pm the night before and add it into my autolyse around 3pm the next day, so that’s almost 20 hours.


Any questions, email me or comment below.




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