- 2 cups warm water (if your water is heavily chlorinated or unfiltered, use bottled water) Chlorine retards the starter and can affect it.
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 5–6qt glass or ceramic bowl (do not use metal)
- Clean dish linen
- Pour the water in the bowl and add the yeast then sugar. Do it in this order.
- Whisk this around until the sugar dissolves.
- Gradually stir in the flour until it’s all combined. It’ll look like thick pancake batter or possible a tad thicker.
- Cover it with a clean dish linen and set it aside on your counter top out of the way.
- Let it go for 24 hours then using a wooden spoon, stir it as it will separate.
- Repeat step 5 for 3-8 days or until the bubbling has subsided and a yeasty, sour aroma has started.
- Transfer this to a quart size mason jar (or any 2qt size glass or ceramic jar) and cover it with a lid that has holes poked in it. You NEED to have poked in it as if you don’t CO2 will build up and if it can’t escape the jar will explode. What I did was used a 2qt mason jar and had Mr. Fantabulous use a drill to drill out 2-3 air holes in the metal lid.
- Put this in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
- Now as it sits in the refrigerator you’ll notice a green/gray liquid that floats on the surface of it. This is OK. This is from the yeast/starter not getting in contact with air. No air results in alcohol. All you need to do is blend the alcohol back into the starter. This will give you that unique strong sourdough flavor. If it’s too pungent, just measure out what you pour off and then replace with warm water. Remember you always want your starter to be pancake batter consistency
Feeding your starter
- Most recipes call for a ‘fed’ starter. Typically most recipes call for 1 cup of starter so at least 12 hours before you are ready to make your bread you need to do the following steps:
- Take your starter out of the refrigerator, stir it and pour into a large glass bowl.
- Measure out 1 cup and discard
- Add in 1 cup of flour and a ½ cup of warm water.
- Stir to incorporate and cover with clean linen
- Allow to sit for at least 12 hours (I usually go a day). This will reactivate the yeast. When you uncover it, it will be all bubbly and ‘yeasty’
- Stir and measure out how much you need for your recipe (1 cup per our example).
- Now you need to feed it again – add 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of warm water.
- Stir then cover. Let this sit at room temperature until all bubbly (about 3-5 hours)
- Once bubbly, stir it again and pour it into a 2qrt glass jar and cover with your “holy” lid.
Storing your Starter…
- Like I’ve said, starters are a labor of love. Just like kids, they need fed however you only need to tend to them once a week. As stated in the one step above, you may notice that liquid floating on the top. If it’s anything but green/gray discard as it went bad. I know something sour “went bad”. So anyway you need to feed it.
- This step is almost like the ‘Feeding your starter’ instructions above but you don’t have to let it sit out.
- Stir in the liquid and then pour all of the starter into a glass bowl.
- Keep stirring until it’s pancake batter smooth ensuring that the alcohol liquid is all incorporated.
- Remove 1 cup of starter and discard.
- Add in 1 cup of flour and a 1/2 cup of warm water.
- Stir until smooth and pour into a clean 2qrt glass mason jar and cover with holy lid.
- Put the jar in the fridge. You don’t have to wait for it to become bubbly.
I know it sounds like a lot of work and I’m not going to kid you, it is initially but it’s worth it. It just takes patience. So if you started your starter today, you would be able to make fresh sourdough bread by the weekend. What’s really, really nice about sourdough starter is that, if given love and the proper feedings it can be passed on in your family for generations! Most bread companies have starters over 50-100 years old!