Sourdough starter is a mystical thing. Most people think you have to go to your neighbor, friend or the internet to get a sourdough starter before you can make your own sourdough bread. This isn’t true. As a matter of fact, if you went to a sourdough company and ordered their starter, got it home and fed it. By the time you got around to using it, let’s say a week, it would be already transitioning from store-bought starter to your local starter.
The yeast and bacteria in the air will make you a starter. If you buy it or get it from a friend, your local yeast and bacteria, that want to live in a flour and water environment, will go to war against the trespassers. The locals outnumber the new guys and will eventually destroy them; a week is a long time for them. So why go through the expense of ordering a starter that will become local anyway. Let’s make our own.
- Lid, towel or coffee filter. Something to keep the bugs out of the jar
- Wooden Spoon
- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 cups Warm Water
- In your jar pour 1 cup warm water (less than 100 degrees)
- Add one cup of flour
- Stir until smooth
- Loosely cover with jars lid, coffee filter and a rubberband or tea towel and set aside.
- Remove 1/2 cup of material from the jar and feed it to your chickens (discard if you don't have chickens)
- Add 1/2 cup flour
- Add 1/2 cup water
- Stir until smooth
- Repeat day 2, did you get chickens yet?
Day 4-5 (maybe 7)
- Repeat day 2
- The starter is ready when you can see bubbles two hours after feeding it and the smell is sour. It will be a good sour.
Now that you have a sourdough starter, we need to use it, feed it or store it. If not stored, it must be fed every day, about every 24 hours by following step 2 again.
For now, I will tell you how to store it. In the jar you made it in, feed it so the jar is about 1/2 full. Loosely put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator. I usually store the jar inside an empty yogurt container, if you happened to skip the 1/2 full part it will grow in the refrigerator and leak all over everything if you left the jar too full. The yogurt container takes care of the mess issue.
You can store the starter in the refrigerator for a month without feeding it and without the worry about killing it.
So you let a few weeks pass and go to remove the starter from the refrigerator. At first glance you think you killed it, there is a brown/gray liquid on top of the starter and it smells bad. It isn’t, I promise. You didn’t kill it, stir in the yucky liquid and feed the starter. The next day repeat Step 2 from the recipe. On the following day, you can again cook with it.