Sour Dough Starter

” Day 21 of covid isolation and I am here watching some guy talk about imaginary pet he had grown from flour” or how about this one “Who else is here because of covid?” I love scrolling through the Youtube comments

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

luke 6:38

It made me laugh… It has been a month for us and I’m doing the exact same thing, sitting watching a youtube tutorial on sourdough yeast starters. The news recently did an article on how more people are being domestic. Or at least trying, with shortages on food it can be hard to find creative ways around that. Yeast being one of them. Last week I posted on Rustic italian bread. But with quarantine leaving many without basic ingredients I received some international feed back stating – no yeast anywhere in Paris France- How does one make bread without it? Many here would run out to the NEXT grocery store to by whatever bread they could find or I suppose you could live without carbs … But I don’t roll like that. 

I remember my grandmother talk about sourdough starters when I was about 10. Talking about how great grandma had one from England, it came across on the sister voyage to the Titanic. I have read about starters surviving the Russian war. Houses burned during the great fires but starters were tucked away in cellars – they are still going strong today generations later.

Thankfully generations of time and experiences of war are not necessary and you can make sour dough starter with 3 simple things, flour water and time. Food 52 did an excellent tutorial on all the basics of sour dough starter – flavors, flour choice differences and maintenance – they even debunked a few myths like is age old starter is superior ? They did use a “gifted” starter not from scratch. Scroll past the video for a recipe for basic sour dough starter from scratch. I used this printable recipe found on the Kitchen. Takes approx 7 days and I used a combo of all purpose white and whole wheat flours because I liked the review of “flavor profile”given in Food 52 video, it was also what I had on hand and rye is hard for me to get right now. I will post more on how to use sour dough in future articles.

Food 52 test Kitchen Sour Dough Starter Video

Basic sour dough starter – Orig Directions from The Kitchen.

  • organic or unbleached flour
  • water
  • mason jar 2 qt or larger
  1. Day 1: Make the Initial Starter
    4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
    4 ounces water (1/2 cup)
  2. Weigh the flour and water, and combine them in a 2-quart glass or plastic container (not metal). Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel secured with a rubber band.
  3. Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.
  4. Day 2: Feed the Starter
    4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
    4 ounces water (1/2 cup)
  5. At this point, the starter should smell fresh, mildly sweet, and yeasty.
  6. If you don’t see any bubbles yet, don’t panic — depending on the conditions in your kitchen, the average room temperature, and other factors, your starter might just be slow to get going.
  7. Weigh the flour and water for today, and add them to the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with the plastic wrap or kitchen towel secured again. Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.
  8. Day 3: Feed the Starter
    4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
    4 ounces water (1/2 cup)
  9. Check your starter. By now, the surface of your starter should look dotted with bubbles and your starter should look visibly larger in volume. If you stir the starter, it will still feel thick and batter-like, but you’ll hear bubbles popping. It should also start smelling a little sour and musty. Again, if your starter doesn’t look quite like mine in the photo, don’t worry. Give it a few more days. My starter happened to be particularly vigorous!
  10. Weigh the flour and water for today, and add them to the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with the plastic wrap or kitchen towel secured again. Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.
  11. Day 4: Feed the Starter
    4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
    4 ounces water (1/2 cup)
  12. Check your starter. By now, the starter should be looking very bubbly with large and small bubbles, and it will have doubled in volume. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and honeycombed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.
  13. When I made my starter here, I didn’t notice much visual change from Day 3 to Day 4, but could tell things had progress by the looseness of the starter and the sourness of the aroma.
  14. Weigh the flour and water for today, and add them to the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with the plastic wrap or kitchen towel secured again. Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 70°F to 75°F (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.
  15. Day 5: Starter is Ready to Use
    Check your starter. It should have doubled in bulk since yesterday. By now, the starter should also be looking very bubbly — even frothy. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and be completely webbed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste even more sour and vinegary.
  16. If everything is looking, smelling, and tasting good, you can consider your starter ripe and ready to use! If your starter is lagging behind a bit, continue on with the Day 5 and Beyond instructions.
  17. Day 5 and Beyond: Maintaining Your Starter
    4 ounces all-purpose flour (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
    4 ounces water (1/2 cup)
  18. Once your starter is ripe (or even if it’s not quite ripe yet), you no longer need to bulk it up. To maintain the starter, discard (or use) about half of the starter and then “feed” it with new flour and water: weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container with the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter.
  19. If you’re using the starter within the next few days, leave it out on the counter and continue discarding half and “feeding” it daily. If it will be longer before you use your starter, cover it tightly and place it in the fridge. Remember to take it out and feed it at least once a week — I also usually let the starter sit out overnight to give the yeast time to recuperate before putting it back in the fridge.

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