How to: Sourdough Starter + Bread Making

 

So here we are…I’ve officially jumped on the sourdough bandwagon and I hate to admit it but I’m never EVER getting off. Although I was initially overwhelmed with the idea that I would potentially have another mouth to feed and care for, so to speak, I also came to my senses and realized I birthed a child so I figured I could probably handle this…

All joking aside, if you’re not currently doing this…YOU MUST! It truly is not only a work of culinary art, but it’s also the most rewarding thing you’ll probably ever pull from your oven. The process, though wordy (sorry!) to achieve that homemade, crispy on the outside, airy and chewy on the inside texture is worth saving, reading, re-reading, and taking on.

Challenge accepted!

As good as my first-ish (the ‘ish’ is explained in detail below) ever loaf was I would also be sans loaf without my sister. A true baker (and kitchen genius might I add) took the time to walk me (virtually, of course) step by step in the process of making my first starter all the way to making my first loaf. These steps, though not my own, are tried and tested and absolutely fool-proof if you follow each carefully and are diligent in caring for your new ‘pet’. 

So, welcome to the sourdough club and go and get STARTED! (I know, I know, but I just couldn’t help it! Ha)

 

 

How to make your first sourdough starter:

 

What you need:

  • a glass jar with lid
  • all purpose flour
  • water
  • food scale (recommended but not required)
  • a rubber band or tape

 

Day 1

In a clean bowl mix together 1 cup (113g) of flour with 1/2 cup (113g) of water until no visible flour remains. Add to your jar (make sure the jar you choose is large enough for the starter to grow). Cover lightly and let sit in a warm area for 24 hours. And welcome your new pet to the family.

Day 2

You may or may not notice much of a difference today. Discard one half of the starter (you should be left with about 1/2 cup). Then, add 1 cup (113g) of flour and 1/2 cup (113g) of water. Mix and let sit lightly covered for another 24 hours.

Day 3

The jar will start to look a bit bubbly now and also may smell a little fruity. Starting today, feed your starter two times a day with the same measurements as above (spacing them apart as evenly as possible). Continue to cover lightly.

Day 4-6

Continue to feed your starter twice a day. Add a rubber band or tape to measure the level of expansion. (Note: I noticed my starter doubling in size around day 4 though continued with the process to allow for a riper starter- aka a better tasting/lofty loaf of bread.)

Day 7

Your starter should be consistently rising and falling after each feeding. Today you should be ready to bake your first loaf!

Deep breath- you did it!

At this point your starter can be used for any recipe you choose. Use whatever amount is required but be sure to save about 1/2 cup of starter in a clean jar, feed it one last time, leave it at room temperature for a few hours, then store covered in the fridge.

What do I do after Day 7?

Once a week take out your starter, discard half (keeping 1/2 cup) and feed it the same ratio as above. Let it sit at room temp for a few hours, then cover and place it back in the fridge.

Notes:

  • If you want to bake more than once a week (um- fresh bread daily please!) you can store your starter on the counter but you will have to feed it daily to keep it viable for use.
  • Don’t throw away your discard after each feeding! You can use it for various recipes including crackers, pancakes, waffles, etc.

 

Now for the fun part!

Okay so you’re ready to bake your first loaf of bread. I will be honest and tell you it’s easy, but not. Remember the ‘ish’ I mentioned above? Well, with my first attempt at a loaf I was less than precise with my starter to flour to water ratio only to result in a sloppy mess that made a quick trip into the trash. However, if you DO measure precisely (lesson learned) and with a ready-to-go starter you’re likely not to fail, seriously! Once you do it I promise you’ll be SO happy that you did!

I decided, for my first (okay second) loaf, to keep things simple and use a less challenging  (for me) recipe. Although I did make some tiny modifications I chose the recipe below since it didn’t require 24 hours of proofing aka a less stressful night’s sleep and less time to be able to sink my teeth into it. To make sure the loaf was ready to go by dinner time I began the process in the morning after having fed my starter the night before. Nothing beats a warm, fresh baked loaf of bread come mealtime!

Click here for my Simple Sourdough Bread recipe!

 

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Now give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy your creation! This is a slice I toasted and topped with a little ghee…perfection!

 

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