Monday, July 29, 2013

How to make a sourdough starter

Recipe - How to make a sourdough starter

I've recently started making sourdough as my bread of choice. And I've been using my own starter, which I started from scratch! It's Winter and the weather is well and truly living up to our local Winter's reputation. So what better than soups, stews and slow cooked meals with delicious sour dough on the side! Then toast it in the morning and top it with eggs, avocado and baby spinach! Brilliant!

My first step on my way to sourdough was to figure out how to create or buy a starter. I found a few helpful sites on starting a starter. I was pleased to see many agree that it could be done with just flour and water, however, the quantities often differed, some included honey, molasses, yeast and other ingredients. I decided to give it a try with plain old flour and water.

So here's what I did:

You will need:
- a large jar or container with lid (several really - your collection will grow and grow!)
- 1 cup plain or whole meal flour (I used half/half)
- 1 cup luke warm water

What to do:
1. Measure 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour and combine well in your jar. (That's it! Almost..)
2. Leave on bench overnight with lid resting on top but not sealed
3. Put your lid on and leave for another day or two in the fridge. You can check on it in the meantime... give it a smell, a stir, a taste if you like! :) (A great sensory experience for kids too!)
4. Now you've left it for a few more days... Today you can 'feed' your starter... usually when you feed it you'd discard or use 1 cup of starter each time... because you've just begun, take out 1/2 cup of starter and put in another container with lid. You can feed both and you'll have a second starter on it's way to a friend in no time.
5. To feed: Take out your 1/2 cup of starter, discard or use to start another batch! Add one cup flour and one cup water to each batch. Stir well. Return to fridge.

Basically by this point your starter is ready to use. I found it all felt a bit experimental to begin with... I just trusted the process and hoped it would work! My first loaf was a resounding success and there have been many more since! (I'll share my recipe soon!)

I've since passed on some of my starter to several friends and family members and it's lovely to think that from that first cup of flour and water comes bread in several homes! Beautiful! :)