To Create Sourdough Starter at Home
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup unchlorinated water
- microwave the flour and the water in separate containers for 1 minute to kill all microorganisms
- mix flour and water 50-50 by weight one of the containers
- cover with paper towel
- let stand away from heat in the kitchen
- within a few days to a week the mix will start bubbling because it picks up bacteria and yeast from the air in the kitchen
- smell it. It should smell tart from the acid and alcohol produced by bacteria and alcohol.
- If it smells rotten, discard it and start over
- Otherwise, you now have starter that contains bacteria and yeast indigenous to your kitchen
To Build Robust, Spongey, Sourdough Starter
You need this process to strengthen the bacteria and yeast cultures in the starter. Robust starter resembles sponge. It looks frothy.
- Feed the starter it by stirring in unheated water and flour of weights equal to the to the starter (“triple” it)
- Cover with plastic wrap or a saucer and wait 9 hours. You will now have frothy “sponge”
- Discard half of the sponge
- Repeat steps 9 through 11 five to ten times. The more you do this the more robust the bacteria and yeast become
- Put 2 tablespoons of the sponge in a small jar, screw on the lid, label it with whatever unique name you like, date it, and put it in the refrigerator.
- Feed the refrigerated starter every week, returning 1/3 of the fed starter to the fridge, and using the remainder to make sponge for a batch of bread.
To Use the Refrigerated Starter to make Sponge
- Remove the starter from the fridge (1 tablespoon, about 10 grams)
- Triple by stirring in an equal weight of flour and of unchlorinated water (total 30 grams)
- Cover with plastic wrap or a saucer and wait 9 hours
- Triple by stirring in an equal weight of flour and of unchlorinated water (total 90 grams)
- Cover with plastic wrap or a saucer and wait 8 hours
- Triple by stirring in an equal weight of flour and of unchlorinated water (total 270 grams)
- Cover with plastic wrap or a saucer and wait 7 hours
- You now have sponge for baking bread
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of the sponge, mix with equal weights of flour and unchlorinated water, return to the fridge in a sealed, labeled jar
- Use the balance of the sponge to make a batch of bread dough.
To Use the Sponge to Make and Bake Sourdough
- 200 g sourdough sponge
- 650 g unchlorinated water
- 1000 g bread flour
- 20 g salt
- Stir sponge, water, and salt together till well mixed
- Add flour and mix by hand till all ingredients become wet
- Set aside in a glass bowl covered with a wet kitchen towel or plastic wrap for 45 minutes
- On a floured surface gently Stretch the dough into a square, dust with flour, poke it all over the top with fingertips, and fold in thirds top to bottom and side to side
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 twice more
- Shape the dough into two loaves and either put them into greased pans or set on a greased cookie sheet or cornmeal-dusted baking stone
- Let rise till approx double – 3 to 6 hours
- Snip the tops of the loaves with scissors about 2″ deep
- Bake loaves in cold oven set to 375ºF for 45 minutes to 1 hour till internal temperature reaches 190ºF
- Turn loaves out onto a wire rack and set the rack on top of the bread pans
- Allow to cool 30 minutes before slicing.