Sourdough Starter

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Bread
Serves/Qty: 1
Marthinus Strydom

Giving life to your very own sourdough starter is a special thing. You feed it and you see it grow. Theres nothing like creating a successful starter and nurturing it for years.

The Story

A lot has been written about sourdough starter cultures. You can find long and elaborate articles on how to make your own starter while using things like pineapple and grapes. They are almost mythical creatures to be treated with the utmost care and fed every evening at the same time while standing on your head. The truth is much simpler. My starter seems almost indestructible. And the only thing I did is mix some whole grain flour with water and wait…

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Ingredients
Adjust Quanities

water
flour

Method

Giving life to your very own sourdough starter

Day 1

50g wholemeal flour

50g water

  • Place the flour and water into a clean bowl and stir together until fully combined.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

Day 2

50g wholemeal flour

50g water

  • To the sourdough starter add 50g wholemeal flour and 50g water. Stir together until fully combined.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

Day 3

100g wholemeal flour

100g water

  • Throw away 100g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 100g flour to the starter and mix in the 100g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight.

Day 4

100g wholemeal flour

100g water

  • Throw away 150g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 100g flour to the starter and mix in the 100g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight. The starter should start to smell pleasantly sour with small bubbles appearing on the surface.

Day 5

150g wholemeal flour
150g water

  • Throw away 200g of the starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 150g flour to the starter and mix in the 150g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight. The starter should appear active and full of bubbles.

Day 6

200g wholemeal flour

200g water

  • The starter should be quite active now and be full of little bubbles and smell slightly sour.
  • Throw away 250g of sourdough starter.
  • To the remaining starter, add the 200g flour to the starter and mix in the 200g water.
  • Cover and leave overnight.

Day 7

  • The starter should now be very active and full of bubbles and is now ready to use.
  • Remember when making your sourdough bread to always retain some sourdough starter which will be fed/refreshed, ensuring you have some sourdough starter for the next dough.

Maintaining your sourdough starter

Hi, I am your sourdough starter. If you look after me I will give you an endless supply of wholesome, tasty sourdough breads. I am pretty easy going and don’t require anything too fancy. A regular diet of flour and water will keep me strong and healthy. You can use me every day if you wish but I understand that you’re pretty busy and you may only get to hang out with me once a week. I get very hungry when left at room temperature so just pop me into the fridge where I can chill out until you need me. I can’t wait for us to bake breads together.

Your sourdough starter/culture is a bubbling living collection of friendly bacteria that will be used to make your dough rise. It is the natural yeast that will be used to make your sourdough bread.

Sourdough starter is best stored in a bowl or plastic container, something that can be covered. Make sure to allow room within the container for the sourdough starter to grow and rise.

To refresh or feed the sourdough starter:

  1. Whatever weight of sourdough starter you have add the same weight of flour and the same weight of water.
  2. For example, to 200g of sourdough starter add 200g of flour and 200g water. Stir everything together.
  3. If you have too much starter discard the excess and keep back what you need.
  4. If the sourdough starter is stored at room temperature it will require to be refreshed/fed every day.
  5. For the home baker where you might only bake once a week, having to feed/refresh your sourdough starter every day can become quite expensive.
  6. Therefore, your starter can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days and taken out when needed.
  7. If using the starter from the fridge:
  8. Take the starter out of the fridge the day before you plan to bake. This will allow the starter to come to room temperature. The night before you plan to bake, refresh/feed your starter as per the instructions above. Leave the sourdough starter at room temperature overnight. The next morning the starter should be active and full of bubbles and ready to bake with.
  9. Take what you need to make your dough. Feed the remaining starter and return it to the fridge.

bread sourdough