It’s very simple. It’s just flour and water plus time.
Why do I want to make sourdough starter?
I love sourdough bread and I want to make it at home. I want that sweet tangy smell of rustic bread in my house.
Wild yeast or sourdough starter gives sourdough bread it’s texture and distinct taste…sweet and tangy. You need it if you want that rustic delicious bread with a beautiful crust.
It seemed difficult for me to tackle years ago. I read too much information about sourdough starter and I dismissed it as too complicated. I decided I don’t have time for it.
Time is not a problem now because we need to stay home to be safe from covid19.
I realized it is quite easy to make sourdough starter. Making the sourdough bread, I have to admit, is a challenge.
To keep the sourdough starter, you will need a jar, get a 2-cup jar and for later a bigger jar (1-quart) too.
Some notes on how I made my sourdough starter, maybe it could help you too to achieve success.
- I use filtered water (don’t use water from the tap), I dilute it with boiled water to make it warmer than room temperature.
- I used bread flour
- On the second week, I started using digital kitchen scale to measure flour and water and started discarding some of the starter before adding more flour and water
- I use bowl to mix the starter, flour and water before transferring it to a clean jar and use a silicon spatula to mix. My sourdough starter seem happier when I put it in a clean jar after feeding. Just like babies. Keep them clean and well-fed.
- I failed on my first try. My sourdough starter smelled like vomit on the fourth day, don’t know why it happened. It was so unbearably stinky so I had to throw it and decided to just start over with a smaller amount of flour and water, it’s easier to manage.
- On day 12, I started feeding every 12 hours and with equal amount of starter, flour and water. 1:1:1 ratio. I noticed that my starter seem livelier. It rises double or triple in size, about 5 hours after feeding and it sometimes overflows. The i see this is about to happen, I stir it gently to calm it down. 🙂 Just like kids, they get hyper-active sometimes.
- I keep my sourdough starter in my kitchen in an open shelf. It is warm where I live and it is just fine where I put it, quietly waiting for its next feeding.
- After a month, I feed my wild yeast back to once a day or sometimes after 2 days and it is still fine, no hooch (water) forming.
- My sourdough starter smells so sour when it’s “hungry” but goes back to being sweet after feeding.
I watched youtube videos on how to make sourdough starter. There are plenty of informative videos there, I chose to follow a very simple one.
It’s just 3 tablespoons flour plus 2 tablespoons tepid water, everyday. I switched to a different feeding quantity and routine after a week.
This is day 3. My wild yeast is alive 🙂
I am feeding my starter every 24 hours. On the start of third week (day 15), I tried to feed it every 12 hours.
It’s supposed to make them mature faster (?) to have more leavening power. (this is all based on what I’ve read from forums, trying to absorb all those infos sometimes give me a headache.:D)
My sourdough starter started to get really bubbly and active.
I used my starter to make my first successful sourdough bread. The feeling is like winning something!
I imagined it’s the same feeling I’d get if I make a hole-in-one!
This is an easy and delicious way to use the sourdough discard. Fry it in olive oil, seasoned with garlic and parsley flakes sea salt. It is like a sour and chewy tortilla
Do not worry if you see a bit of water (hooch) in your sourdough starter. I just stirred it in and feed the starter as usual. You will notice that it smells a bit like alcohol or acetone, it will go away after you feed it.
I wrote the recipe exactly how I made it. I hope you will find success too. You will have your very own wild yeast for years and years to keep.
I’m really hoping wild yeast will live a long and happy life. I hope I can pass it on to my future grandkids and that they will keep it and use it too.
I’m maintaining a small quantity of starter now. I keep about 50-70g of starter. I feed it once a day with the same amount of flour and water. Total of 150-200g of sourdough starter.
Sourdough Starter (Wild Yeast)
- In a small jar (2-cup capacity) measure 3 tablespoons bread flour and add 2 tablespoons water. Mix well.
- Loosely cover jar with lid and place jar in a warm place in your kitchen. I put mine in the cupboard.
- After 24 hours, take the jar, add 3 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of tepid water. Stir until well mixed.
- Put the lid back loosely and return the jar in the same place.
- By day 3 you will see bubbles forming…sign that there is some bacteria present. Congratulations. You may now start thinking of a name. 😀
- Keep feeding your starter for a week.
- Day 7 – by this time you already have a young starter. Start discarding some of the starter before feeding to freshen the batch and make it stronger.
- Use a digital kitchen weighing scale. Put a bowl on top and make sure the scale is on "0"
- Pour 100 grams of sourdough starter in the bowl then press the scale to "0" to measure the water. Or ⅔ cup flour and ½ cup water
- Pour 100 grams of tepid water to the sourdough mixture in the bowl. Stir well.
- Press the scale to "0". Add 100g of flour to the bowl and stir until it's well mixed.
- Pour the contents of the bowl into a clean and bigger jar (1 quart capacity) to give more room for your sourdough to rise. Loosely cover the jar and keep it in a warm place Put a rubber band around the jar so you can keep track of it's growth.
- Repeat for a week. You will notice by the end of week 2 (day 14) that you have a happy, bubbly wild yeast in your care, ready for its first baking experience. At this time you may try using it for simple sourdough bread recipes if you like.
- To continue, on Day 15, I started feeding my sourdough starter every 12 hours.
- Continue to do this if you are baking almost everyday. After 6 weeks I noticed my sourdough starter is okay even if I missed a "feeding". It has a more sour smell when it is hungry then after feeding, it smells sweet again.
- As an insurance, in case I unintentionally "killed" my wild yeast, I kept an ounce of sourdough starter in the fridge 5 hours after feeding it an ounce of flour and one ounce water with the lid tighly closed. I plan to feed it once per week.
- That's it. You can now use your sourdough starter at this point to make delicious sourdough bread. Enjoy your new "baby"
- Good Luck:)