Making your own sourdough starter can seem like a daunting task, but let me be the first one to tell you how very simple it really is!
So simple in fact that it took me 3 times to get it right! Because my first one went moldy when I forgot to feed it one day during the starting period. The second one died a slow and horrible death when I forgot to feed it for a few weeks. ahem.
Let me rephrase, it’s simple when you do it correctly.
What you’ll need
- 2 sterilized jars or bowls (not metal)
- A non metallic spoon
- A coffee filter or thin fabric
- whole wheat flour, spelt, rye, or brown rice flour
- water (if you have city water you must boil and let cool or aerate with a blender to rid it of chlorine)
Now the ratios of water to flour are 1:1 when starting a new sourdough starter. For this instructional I used 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour for each feeding, though personally I’d go 1/2 cup if I did it over again. Because 1 + 1 does not equal 2 in this scenario, so when I did 1/4 cup each day I ended up with less than 2 cups of starter.
Place a 1:1 ratio of flour and water into a clean and sterilized jar and stir well.
Cover with the filter or thin towel and set in an open area so it can start collecting the natural yeast.
Transfer the starter to a clean jar/bowl and feed your new pet another 1:1 ratio of flour and water in the same amount you used for day one. So if you used 1/2 cup for each, you’ll use 1/2 cup again. Stir well, cover, and set back out.
Day Three Through Six
Again, each day you’ll feed your starter a 1:1 ratio of flour and water. It will start to get bubbly and you’ll also notice it separate a bit and get a watery layer. Don’t worry, this is totally normal.
And most directions I read say to put it in a clean jar each day.
I did not.
And yes, I can be that lazy.
So I just changed jars a couple of times during the “starting” process.
Your starter should now have gone through the bubbly stage and smell somewhat ‘sour’. Transfer to a clean jar and feed it one more time.
At this point it is ready to use! You can now do one of 2 things.
- Test out some new recipes! Just make sure you feed it again before you put it in the fridge to store.
- Pop it right in the fridge for use later
Care and Feeding of your Starter
Upkeep on a starter is very simple. If you do not use your starter for one week, transfer to a new jar, feed it a 1:1 ratio of flour and water, and set it back in the fridge.
After you use it for a recipe, feed it the same 1:1 ratio and let it sit out again for just a couple of hours before storing in the fridge. (transfer to a clean jar about once a week)
If your starter starts getting a bit to thin, go ahead and pour out the watery layer that settles at the top!