Friday, January 09, 2009

sourdough starter - how to begin

Here's a very quick and easy way to make your own sourdough starter. The idea of a starter is that it is an acidic environment in which natural yeasts from the air can thrive and multiply. It's a fun "science experiment" to watch it bubble and grow.

The process will take 4 days or so.

To begin:

  1. In a large, non-metallic bowl or container, stir together:
    1.5 cups of white flour
    1/2 cup rye flour
    2 cups water
  2. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temp (70-72deg F) for 3 days. Take a quick look at it once a day, then re-cover tightly. It will start to smell funky, get bubbly, and might even separate liquid from solid. Don't worry, as long as you don't see any black/green/fuzzy mold on the surface, you're in good shape. If you see mold/fuzz, scoop it off immediately; as long as it doesn't keep coming back, you should be fine. If it does, throw your starter out and start again.
  3. On day 4, pour off all but 1/2 cup of the "starter" into the garbage, or give it to a friend.

Now you are ready to start feeding your starter on a regular schedule (next blog post)

I've seen other recipes for using pineapple juice instead of water; also, the LBB sourdough starter recipe uses organic grapes. This should work just fine; the rye flour creates a nice sour environment for yeasts to live in at the beginning.

Next post: care & feeding of your starter.

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