September is widely celebrated in the baking world as Real Bread month, so what better way to contribute than sharing a DIY, real time, step by step post series on how to build a sourdough starter?
This is an experiment I’ve done twice already, both times with successful results. It provides a blueprint for a basic white flour starter, which can then be converted gradually to a rye or spelt one. I can only hope that I’ll also manage to provide a well documented step by step progress check that dispels some of the apprehensiveness that may come with baking sourdough at home.
Equipment needed to build your own starter from scratch:
Good digital scales
Glass or plastic bowl
500g Kilner jar or plastic container
On Day 0, you’ll need:
50g white bread flour
50g rye flour (I used wholemeal)
100g lukewarm water
Mix flours with water.
Transfer to container or simply cover bowl with cling film.
Leave for 24 hours in a warm place, away from direct sunlight and draught.
A few additional notes next, in the hopes that if you have the patience to start your own starter, you can spare a minute for the peculiars. I cannot stress how important a good electronic scale is, especially in bread making. You’ll often encounter recipes which require 17g of starter or 185g of water and that level of precision from your scales makes life much easier. I mixed the flours and water in a small Pyrex bowl, which doubled up as fermenting container this time. You can use any kind of bowl as long as you mix the flours properly until there are no dry patches; glass just makes that slightly easier to track progress. Finally, for day to day refreshes, I use a 500g Kilner jar, which is enough to hold a good quantity of starter, to accommodate full fermentation and that all important sneak peak for air bubbles as you wait for the starter to double in size.
Come back tomorrow for Day 1.1 – we’ll start refreshing the baby every 12 hours from tomorrow onwards. You can also follow the progress on my Insta page. Thanks and don’t settle for meh bread – make real bread.
OK, Alex. Going to give this a go.
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