1w 8h 10m
Starter, the heart of all things sourdough! The Sourdough Starter is a culture of delicious bacteria that will improve the flavor, digestibility and shelf life of all things baked!
The process of making a sourdough loaf begins with a starter. This is a mixture of flour and water populated with both wild yeast and lactic bacteria. It’s the small amount of naturally fermented flour and water you keep back from bread making to bread making. This should be refreshed often. A healthy and active starter will help you make great bread. You can see your starter as a culture you use to inoculate your new dough with.
Now that you have a sourdough starter, the big challenge is to keep it alive and well. The success of your bread depends greatly upon the liveliness of your starter. If you leave a starter without feeding for too long, two main things will happen. It will run out of food (sugars) and become too acidic. Both these things will slowly kill the yeast and the bacteria. At our bakery, we feed the starter twice a day every day, so it is happy. At home, if you do that, your starter will be in very good shape, but unless you are planning to bake every day, that process will be quite demanding and wasteful—the discard can, however, be delicious for making quick pancakes or crackers. To lower the frequency of feeding your starter, you could keep it in the fridge. This slows down the activity of the yeast and bacteria; meaning you won’t have to refresh it so often. Once a week will be good enough. To feed your starter once a week, all you have to do is repeat steps 4 to 7 from this recipe!
If you are going away for several weeks, you could put the starter in the freezer where the yeast and bacteria will become dormant. To reactivate, defrost and refresh a couple of times with 8 to 12h intervals between each feeding.
When you put your starter in the fridge, it slows down. When you want to bake with it, you’ll need to reactivate it. You’ll need to feed it at least once or twice and keep it in a warm place. Feeding it a few times will make it rise in less time and decrease the acidity. In other words, you’re balancing the yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. Your starter should at least double in size in 4h. When it does, it’s ready to make a good dough. Another test is to put a spoonful of starter in water. If it floats, it’s ready. When refreshing your starter, you should keep your starter warm. One tip for that is to place the strater’s recipient inside a bowl with lukewarm water. The starter should double in volume, and it will look bubbly with the top looking like a moonscape, not doming anymore but slightly caving-in with bubbles coming through. This is the time to start the dough!
Add 100 ml of water to a bowl
Add 140 g of wheat flour and mix until fully combined
Place the dough inside a container and close it. Leave it in a warm place for 1w to ferment
Add 50 g of water to a bowl. Add 10 g of the fermented dough and discard the remaining
Add 75 g of wheat flour and mix it well
Transfer the new dough to a translucent container
Mark with a piece of tape where the dough ends on the container to keep track of its rise. Cover it and leave at room temperature for 8h to ferment
The sourdough starter is ready. It can stay in the refrigerator as long as you feed it
Enjoy making different types of sourdough bread or even pancakes with it!
Yield 1 unit
Wheat Flour215 g