Sourdough starter: something you do want growing in your kitchen

starter 1

 

I’ve been wanting to try out my own sourdough starter for a while now, mostly at the urging of @jakqlin and her blog A Huckleberry Over My Persimmon. Seeing her pictures of sourdough pancakes and biscuits should be reason enough to want to try this out at home.

Many sites I came across, in doing research, say you need to buy an established starter from the interwebs. I opted to do it on my own. Will it be as perfect as a 100 year old starter? Maybe not. But there is something rewarding about growing your own yeast.

There are many guides to starters and I sort of used a mix of a few different ones. The three things you are going to need are a big jug of filtered water, flour (rye or all-purpose) and a mason jar (though you could use something similar). Oh, and the fourth thing is time.

The first picture on this blog is the initial mixing and just after a few hours. Below is after a full 24 hours. You can see the bubbles forming. Having had my starter going for just a few weeks, I’m not an expert. For some more tips once you start, check out the joy kitchen’s post. She has great advice on how to maintain your starter.

starter 2

 

Things I’ve learned:

  • When you feed your starter in the first week, you can use a smaller amount a few tablespoons of water/flour
  • After about a week, you can start storing it in the fridge when you don’t plan to use it
  • If your jar starts to really get nasty and crusty on the side, take your starter out and put into a bowl and clean your jar. Once you’ve discarded starter, you can go back to the jar.
  • The more flour you use to feed the starter, the more you’ll have to discard and cook with.
  • “Discard” doesn’t mean throw away starter. It means you can cook with the “extra.” Sourdough crackers are a great option, or biscuits, or pancakes.
  • You want to use starter that has been out and fed for a few days in baking bread, as you’ll want all that juicy yeast.
  • if you notice a brown liquid on top of the starter, simply pour it away. This means you waited too long between feedings or your ratio of flour to water was including too much water.

 

Recipe/Ingredients (version of this recipe from Nourished Kitchen)

Flour
Filtered water
Jar
Cheese cloth
rubber band

Day 1:
Whisk 1/4 cup flour with 3 tablespoons water in a bowl or jar. Cover with cheese cloth and seal with rubber band. Leave on counter. 12 hours later, repeat with 1/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons water. Cover.

Day 2:
12 hours after previous feeding, in AM, add 2 tablespoons flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons water, repeat after 12 hours

Days 3-5:
By this point, your starter should be bubbly, rise some, fall, rise again. You want to continue feeding, now just 1 tablespoon flour and just under 1 tablespoon water. You will probably have around 2 cups of starter. Now you can remove 1 cup to use in biscuits or crackers. The remaining starter can be placed in the fridge, sealed or continued to be kept out, with daily feedings until you’re ready to use in baking.

If you bake a lot, keep it out and feed daily. If you bake weekly or less, simply place in fridge. You’ll need ~2-3 days of feeding to have it ready to bake with.

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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