How To Make Sourdough Starter
Make your own sourdough starter
Do you fancy making your own bread? You go to the cupboard to get your ingredients, and you realise you’ve no yeast! But actually, you have already; you need to make it. This sourdough starter recipe is so easy to do and a great option for homemade bread. Making a sourdough starter doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it is quick and easy to make.
WHERE TO BUY SOURDOUGH STARTER?
Seriously! Don’t buy it, make it!
My husband makes the starter, so I learned from him and was surprised by how straightforward it was. With just three main ingredients and optional extras, anyone can do this. But, of course, everyone should be doing this!
GETTING YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTED
Ok, so you’re going to need flour. I use good quality flour like rye or stoneground wholemeal, but you can choose what you like. Sometimes I use a mix of three such as white, rye and wholemeal, which is super tasty.
You will need a glass jar and lid, don’t use plastic. You could use a jam jar. If you don’t have a lid, cover it with cling film and secure it with a rubber band.
Next, you will need water that has been boiled and left to cool slightly but still warm, or filtered water.
Then you will need honey or sugar, only a small amount to kickstart your sourdough.
And for an optional extra a twig and leaves from a Hawthorne tree (this contain yeast already). Yes, I know it’s bizarre, but it’s true. Don’t worry if you haven’t got this. Your sourdough mixture will still work.
HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH STARTER
Dissolve honey in the warm water. Add your flour and place a small twig (optional) in the mixture. Mix until it’s all combined, then pour in a glass jar and seal with a lid.
Store in a dark place, i.e., cupboard.
Shake each day for 6 days and undo the lid to rerelease gas, then put the lid back on.
On the 7th day, the culture should be ready. It will smell sweet/sour, and the gases will be released when you open the bottle each time.
FEEDING THE SOURDOUGH STARTER
With sourdough starters, you will hear the term ‘feeding’. This is simply adding the flour and water to the mixture to keep the microorganisms working.
To keep the starter going for next time, leave a bit of mixture in the jar from the original mixture and add more flour and water to make up the original volume. Shake daily and release the gas if using a sealed jar, as mentioned above. Repeat this process every 2 to 7 days to keep it going.
WHAT to look for in a SOURDOUGH STARTER
Once you have a live sourdough mixture, it will look like a slightly runny pancake mixture with some bubbles. If you should hear some gas released in a sealed jar when you open it and depending on the ingredients and natural yeasts, it could smell sweat sour or even a slight smell of paint, but fresh and not mouldy.
If you see any mould on the surface of the starter, you need to get rid of it and start again. The best way to avoid this is to use a clean jar (preferably sterilised). When first making the mixture make sure the bowl and utensils are sterilised and then pour into your sterilised jar and seal.
HOW TO STORE A SOURDOUGH STARTER
Just keep your sourdough starter in the cupboard. It will keep for a long time as long as your utensils are clean.
WHAT FLOURS CAN YOU USE IN SOURDOUGH STARTERS
You can use any plain flours you like, such as:
HOW MUCH SOURDOUGH STARTER DO YOU NEED FOR BREAD?
Use the amount stated in the recipe but leave a small amount left in the jar so you can add to it (feed it) for your next batch of sourdough starter.
- 1 tsp Honey or Sugar
- ¼ Cup Rye Flour or Flour of choice
- 1 OPTIONAL – Twig and leaf of a Hawthorne Tree ((contains the yeast))
- Enough Warm Water to make is slightly runny
- Dissolve honey in the warm water. Add your flour and place a small twig (optional) in the mixture. Mix together until it's all combined then pour in a glass jar and seal with a lid.
- Store in a dark place ie: cupboard.
- Shake each day for 6 days and undo lid to re-release gas, then put the lid back on.
- On the 7th day the culture should be ready. It will smell sweet/sour, and the gases will be released when you open the bottle each time.
- To keep the starter going for next time, leave a bit left in the jar from the mixture you've already made and add more flour and water. Shake daily, as mentioned before. Repeat this process every 7 days to keep it going.