This guide is comprehensive and contains tons of information. It also answers all my questions as I learned this. To make it as easy as possible for you to find the information you are looking for, I used headings whenever possible.
What is sourdough, you ask?
Sourdough starter can be used as a homemade leavening agent to make many kinds of baked goods. You can also buy sourdough starter from getsourdough.co.uk
This was the only way to make bread for hundreds of years. The modern-day levening agents are now in control. This includes baking soda, dry yeast, and baking powder.
Sourdough starters improve over time
According to most online literature, it takes about five days to get a starter moving. My experience was a bit longer at 8 days. We’ll get to that later.
A starter can be kept going for many years without any hassle. You can even keep your starter going for years, especially if you have some refrigeration. According to most sources, you should take your starter out at least once per week and feed it. Multiple sources have told me that starters are more resilient than you might think.
But isn’t it a lot of work to make sourdough?
This is why I didn’t start it until now. It was too much trouble for me. We all found ourselves stuck at home, with little time to spare, since a few months ago. It was something I wanted to try.
This isn’t the case. The bulk of the work is in creating a starter. It becomes very easy once you have your starter.
Baking breads takes longer because it is slower. But! Hands-off time is the majority of the time, especially if your mixer has a dough hook. The rest of the time is spent on rise and rest. You are ready to go if you have an iPhone with a good timer and a weekend at home (even sporadic), you’re good to go.
Sourdough has many benefits
It also reduces the need for commercial yeast. Sourdough is a great option for those times when commercial yeast is unavailable (like right now), or when there are no bake staples in the stores.
Sourdough has many health benefits. The wild yeast is responsible for most of the health benefits. The wild yeast is able to break down the elements of wheat more efficiently, making sourdough bread far easier for the digestive system than commercially prepared goods.
How to make starter sourdough
It is easy to make sourdough starter. You only need a container with a loose or cloth lid, unbleached flour, and filtered (chlorine-free) water.
A digital food scale is a great tool for this purpose, I have to admit. My scale broke after just 4 days. It was a thing I had for years. I finally gave up and put it under the tap to wash it. I realized immediately what I had done.
What you need before you start
A digital food scale or measuring cups and spoons are required
Non-metal containers and spoons are also important for your starter. I used glass or Tupperware containers and wooden spoons.
Use a towel/cloth or loose fitting lid. Your lid should allow for expansion during fermentation.
TIP: Use a food scale – I highly recommend one – to weigh your container in grams and ounces. It will make your life easier in the end. It was in a small note that I carried with me on my phone.
TIP 2: It is possible to keep a few extra containers. The edges can become dry and crusty after a few days. You can also forget to weigh your containers. Simply put your new container on the foodscale, zero it, and weigh your ingredients that way.
Which flour should I use?
There are many options. Bleached flours are something you should avoid. Unbleached flours are best. The reason is that bleaching can make it more difficult for good bacteria and yeast growth. It makes sense, right? Bleach is an anti-bacterial agent.
After doing some research and using what I had, I decided to make my own sourdough starter by adding regular whole wheat flour. There are many great options.
- Whole wheat regular
- All purpose unbleached
- Wholemeal Rye – A favorite of many artisan breadmakers
- Whole wheat pastry
- Gluten free flour (1:1 mixes work best)
Which type of water should I use?
Chlorine, which is found in tap water in many cities, is the main thing to avoid. This stops yeast and other good bacteria from growing. Bottled water is also available.
Sourdough starter feeding
How do you feed a starter sourdough sourdough? You can feed a starter to create a new one or you can feed an existing starter to keep it alive. Both will be covered.
What temperature effects your starter sourdough?
How does temperature of air and water affect starter? The fermentation process is accelerated by warmth, while cooling it slows down. I believe this is what happened to mine. My house was chilly on several days. It dropped to 68 degrees.