Sourdough Starter

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Last February my husband watched a Good Eats special on how to make sourdough starter, and he went out and made some starter. He followed the instructions exactly and then promptly stuck the stuff in the refrigerator.

I had no desire to be a part of this project, because I made a sourdough starter the old fashioned way, from my Little House cookbook, back when we first got married. I knew from that experience that sourdough was a troublesome beast, and I was disappointed with the results. There really were not enough details in my cookbook, or on the web at the time.

One month after my husband made the starter, the pandemic lockdown began, and my world ran out of yeast, so I decided to pull out my husband’s starter and get to work. The trouble with his starter was it wasn’t quite ready.

I scoured the internet looking for ways to bring our starter back to life. Thankfully I found some good tips, from forums and the Clever Carrot blog that helped me make a good starter.

I just needed to feed it more. Just like Alton Brown said, feed it twice a day, but it needed to be fed more than just the once after getting it out of the refrigerator. It needed to be fed three times. It can take a few feedings to get it back to full strength once it has gotten cold.

Tips for making starter:

  • Use whole wheat flour instead of just all-purpose.
  • Feed your starter often, even every 12 hours until it is ready to use.
  • Your starter should be bubbly and smell sour and yeasty when it is ready to use.
  • Make a small drop of water in your starter, if it floats your starter is ready to use.
  • You might need to feed it more than once when you get it out of the refrigerator.

EQUIPMENT

  • 1 quart-sized jar
  • wooden spoon
  • damp tea towel

INGREDIENTS  

  • 120 grams whole wheat flour
  • 120 grams lukewarm filtered water

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Stir together 1 cup or 120 grams of whole wheat flour with 1 cup or 120 grams of lukewarm filtered water. Leave out at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. The culture should start to bubble and smell a little sour.
  • Add 75 grams of whole wheat or all-purpose flour and 75 grams of warm water to half of your starter twice a day for the next 5 to 7 days. Discard the other half of your starter at each refreshment, or feeding. The discarded amount can be kept and used for other recipes if desired just don’t leave it in the jar with the rest of your sourdough starter. 

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