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Sour Dough Starter

Sour Dough Starter

120 grams whole grain flour or 1 cup

Organic White bread flour

120 grams or 1/2 cup per feeding of luke warm water


Day 1

Day 1: Starting in the morning or at night, using a mason jar, mix 1 cup whole grain flour (120 grams) with 1/2 cup (120 grams) filtered water using a fork making sure you’ve incorporated all the dry flour. For your first measuring – it is a good idea to weigh the flour, using a kitchen scale so you get an idea of how thick it should feel. It should be like a thick paste. Thick like peanut butter. If you need to add a little more water to incorporate the flour, that is OK, but be precise with the flour. Place the lid on top or a damp towel to keep moisture in, or plastic wrap- and let sit at room temperature on the kitchen counter for 24-48 hours, or until you see some bubbling.

Stater day 1

Day 2

After the first 24 hours, you may or may not see a bit of bubbling. I prefer to let this rest until I see a tiny bit of activity (bubbles) and sometimes this takes 36 or up to 48 hours. So start “day 2”, when you see a little bit of bubbling. Discard all but 1/2 cup (136 grams) of the starter. Add to the remainder, 1 cup of white bread flour, (120 grams), spooned and levelled, and 1/2 cup filtered water (120 grams), mixing well with a fork. Place the lid on loosely again and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.

Day 2. You should see some bubbles. If you don’t see any bubbles yet - just pop the lid or the towel back on and leave it for another 24 hours.

Starter day 2 from the side.

Day 3

By the third day, you should definitely see some bubbling- and if not, let it go a bit longer. For each feeding, like before, discard all but 1/2 cup of the STARTER (keeping roughly ½-cup of starter in the jar, 136 grams) Add 1 cup Bread Flour (spooned and levelled) and 1/2 cup water to the 1/2 cup starter and let this rest at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

Starter day 3

Day 4

Feed once, discarding all but 1/2 cup of starter EACH TIME. Feed 1 cup bread flour, 1/2 cup water. It’s helpful to put the starter in a clean jar and mark the beginning level (with sharpie, string or rubber band) so you can easily see this.

Starter day 4

Day 5

Feed again, 1-2 times, roughly 12 hours apart, discarding all but a 1/2 cup the starter EACH TIME. 1 cup bread flour, 1/2 cup lukewarm water. The starter should look active, bubbling, rising, sliding down, hopefully, close to doubling in size.

Starter day 5. It should start have a tangy and sweet smell - it smells like kombucha to me

Day 6

Give it one last feeding. Discard all but a 1/3 cup. Add 1 cup flour ( 120 grams) and 1/2 cup water, and place it in a clean jar so you can see clearly. You can use a sharpie or place a rubber band around the jar to mark the beginning level. The starter should hopefully double in volume within 4-6 hours of feeding. When it peaks, DO THE FLOAT TEST: To test the starter, place a teaspoon of starter (just from the top, while it is peaking, don’t stir it down) in a glass full of water, it should hopefully float. If it does, you’re ready to make bread. Let the starter keep resting at room temperature or a few more hours allowing it to fully metabolise the flour, perhaps sinking a little before making your dough. You want to make dough with slightly hungry starter.

Starter day 6

SMELL: Starter should smell slightly sweet and tangy, and not off or “bad”. If it really smells unpleasant, you may have used an unclean jar, or somehow introduced other bad bacteria. I would start over.

TEMP: It may take longer than 6 days in colder environments. Use a kitchen thermometer and take its temp. Find a place where it can be warm. Or use lukewarm water when mixing. Place it in the oven with the light on overnight. (Not in direct sunlight) or above the fridge, or on the stovetop. Sometimes if cold, it takes 10-12 days. Be patient, keep going. If it is doing absolutely nothing, leave it out on the counter for 24-48 hours and see what happens. If you see bubbles, it is alive. If you run out of flour or need a break, don’t just toss it, put it in the fridge and see if you can get it going a few days or up to a week or two later.

ACIDITY: If you still can’t get that starter going, some people recommend subbing pineapple juice for the water for one feeding- raising the acidity level. I have not tried this but I have heard it can get it going.

LIQUID: If you see any liquid at the top of your starter, it means your starter is hungry. So, yes it’s still alive which is a good thing! You can stir the liquid in, or pour the liquid out, either way, but feed it! This may be a sign that you may need to feed it more often than you are.

MOULD: if you see any discolouring or mould on the surface, the starter was probably contaminated. If it is only on the surface, you could try to keep it but I would suggest starting over again.

FLOAT TEST: If your starter is consistently rising and falling and it is has been over 8 days, but still doesn’t pass the float test, try baking a loaf of bread anyway.

REFRIGERATE & FEED AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK: Pick a scheduled day and try to stick with it, always reserving 1/2 cup starter (130 grams) and feeding it 1 cup flour (120 grams) and 1/2 cup water (120 grams). Discard the remaining, or give it away, or keep the discard in a separate container to use in waffles, pancakes, sourdough buns, banana bread, biscuits, etc. I usually don’t feed the discard unless giving away.

If you forget to feed it one or two weeks in a row, it is most likely OK, just feed it 1-2 x day for 1-2 days in a row to revive it (keeping it out on the counter) until bubbly and active. I’ve left my starter for a month on vacation (in the fridge) without feeding and simply revived it by feeding it 3 days in a row, 2 x day. It’s actually kind of hard to kill. You can also freeze it for longer storage.

If you find yourself wanting to bake more often than once a week, you can keep it out and feed it 1-2 times daily. Or if baking every few days, you can pull it out of the fridge, feed it 4-8 hours before using, leaving it out, use what you need while it is peaking, then put it back in the fridge that evening. Do the same thing a few days later when ready to use it again. So this would be feeding 2-3 times a week, best if baking 2-3 times a week.