Want to make your own Sourdough Starter? Just follow these steps.
So you wanna make some sourdough bread? Hey, me too! How about we do it together?
Sourdough happens to be my all-time favorite type of bread. No matter how many different types of bread I make, I always find myself making sourdough more than any other loaf. But before we can even get to baking that perfect chewy, crusty loaf of sourdough, we'll need to make a sourdough starter.
Yep, you're gonna catch some wild yeast and beneficial bacteria. Then you're going to make an amazing loaf of bread using no packaged yeast, only wild yeast. You can totally do this. This actually may be the easiest recipe you ever make. All you need is 3 ingredients and some time. Well, a lot of time actually. Got a week?
It sounds like a lot but really all you need is 5 minutes a day then the rest of the time, just sit back and watch the yeast multiply and the flavor build.
The flavor of your sourdough has everything to do with your particular starter and where you live. If you make a starter in Denver or California, I make my starter here in New Jersey and my mother makes one in North Carolina, they are all going to taste a little different. Why is that? Because when you make a sourdough starter you're actually catching wild yeast that's unique to your geographical area.
The other factor that will play into the flavor of your sourdough is water. Always use non-chlorinated water. I recommend using bottled spring water so that you can be assured that it is non-chlorinated but also that it retains all the minerals that would be filtered out from a tap with a filter on it. But if you do chose to use filtered tap water, that would make your sourdough starter taste unique to your area as well.
All these components will make for a flavorful loaf of sourdough unique to you. There are many different methods out there, all of which will accomplish the same goal. Having made (and failed) at cultivating different starters with a few different methods, I've found this method works perfectly! The length of time this will take is about 7-9 days and depends mostly on the temperature where you set your culture.
Your culture will thrive best in a temperature somewhere around 68-70 degrees. This doesn't need to be exact but a cooler environment means your starter will be sluggish. Not that it won't grow but it may take a few extra days. I find that the longer it takes the more frustrating it is and people (myself included) tend to give up if we don't see some action going on. So if we keep our culture warm and happy the process gets bubbly and yeasty pretty quickly.
I know that my house tends to be a little drafty and cooler, especially in the winter months so I set my culture in the cool oven with the light on. Just this little bit of ambient heat from the light is enough to keep my starter warm enough. If you're making a sourdough starter in summer it will probably be easier unless you keep the AC blasting. In that case, you may want to use the oven method too.
So let's get going! First, you'll need a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, a paper towel or cheesecloth, and a non-reactive container for growing your starter. A large, wide-mouth glass jar, a crock or food-grade plastic container all work well. Keep in mind, it may not look like much at first but within a few days your little culture will be a full blown, bubbling starter that will double its size within 8-12 hours after each time its fed so give it some room to grow. I start mine in a small mason jar but once the starter is getting fed more I upgrade him to the luxury suite, a nice enameled crock.
Yes, my culture is a "him" and his name is Gizmo. My other culture is The Blob. Think this is strange? Not so much. Plenty of sourdough makers name their starters. It's kind of a tradition and if you think about it, having a sourdough starter is like caring for a pet. You need to give it food, water, shelter and you'll be taking care of it for life, if you so choose. With regular use, feedings and a little TLC your starter can live forever if you take care of it. Even if you neglect it a bit, sourdough is resilient and can be revived with flour and water in most cases.
Ok, so here we go! Follow our recipe below!