Sourdough starter

This recipe isn’t necessarily from The Bread, but they recommended I follow it for a week to get the perfect starter – and boy, is it bubbly! Making this starter can be hard, meticulous work, so buckle up for an extensive step-by-step, but it’s got a rewarding tang.

This bad boy can make pretzels, pizza crust, bread, pancakes, cakes, biscuits and much more!

Top tips from me:
1) Get a mason jar or a pasta sauce jar and clean it out! This will be what you create your starter in, and make sure to leave the lip gently placed on top without screwing it on tight.
2) Get. A. Lot. Of. Flour! Get as much whole wheat and all-purpose, maybe even bread, flour as you can. One big bag of each should suffice.
3) Every baker ever, including The Bread, will tell you to carefully watch your starter as it rises and falls within 12-24 hours of feeding. Maybe mark where it starts with a marker or rubber band to see your progress.
4) Don’t stress about precise feedings every 12 hours on the dot, but do make sure you feed it after it falls all the way before any brown liquid (called hooch) forms on the surface. That happened to me a couple times, so if it does to you, just pour that off the surface, stir and feed.
5) Some bakers may be angry at me for this, but: if you don’t have a food scale, find a conversion chart for grams to cups and measure out your ingredients that way. This goes for the bread, too, and it worked just fine for me.
6) Keep your starter in a warm place in the kitchen. Turning on my oven light and leaving my starter on the rack worked well for me; however, make sure you take the starter out when you preheat your oven for other stuff. Too much heat over 140 degrees can actually kill your starter since that’s too hot for yeast.
7) A big stipulation for this recipe: I sometimes had to eyeball measurements to make sure the consistency was accurate based on the photos. Don’t be afraid to add some more flour or less water if needed.
8) Also, it is totally fine to exclusively use all-purpose flour; however, The Bread recommends whole wheat flour to help speed up the fermentation process.

Time:
Assembling the starter will only take minutes, and feeding it each day will take about 10 minutes. Your starter should be steadily rising and ready to use within 6-9 days!

Ingredients:
TO CREATE YOUR STARTER: 100 g of whole wheat flour, 150 g of water
FOR EACH DAILY FEEDING: 50 g of whole wheat flour, 50 g of all-purpose flour, 100-125 g of water

*These feeding amounts may differ in the first few days, please refer to the instructions or the site that the recipe originates from.*

Instructions: 

– Assemble starter in clean jar and stir until flour is fully incorporated. Place in warm spot that will keep starter around 80 degrees F.- For the next two days: 24 hours after prior feeding, take out 75 g of starter and discard the rest. Clean the jar, add the starter, 50 g of whole wheat flour, 50 g of all-purpose flour and 125 g of water. Stir until incorporated and put back in warm spot.

– For the next three days: use the same measurements as previous days, but increase frequency of feedings and make sure to feed every 12 hours (approximately). Then let starter rest overnight. You should start to see fermentation activity with bubbles.

– A week later (and next few days if necessary): every 12 hours, discard mixture down to 50 g. Add in 50 g whole wheat flour, 50 g all-purpose flour and 100 g of water. Mix until fully incorporated and place back in warm spot. At this point, you should see your starter rise and fall predictably every day.

– I’ve seen different tips for how to care for starters after they’ve begun fermenting, so typically you should continue to feed it once a day to your own standards, perhaps the measurements used in the last few days, if you plan to regularly use it. Otherwise, feel free to refrigerate your starter as a sort of hibernation before feeding again.

Did you make this recipe and have any suggestions? Make sure to leave a comment!

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