Starting a Sourdough Starter

Update: Since I first posted this, I have posted a sourdough bread recipe. You can find it by clicking on this link. I also recommend that you search my blog using the term sourdough or bread, because I will continue to post some of my most used sourdough recipes, including an upcoming post on sourdough pancakes. winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

Okay folks, I have to be upfront with everyone here. Almost everything I know about sourdough I learned on the internet. And most of my best information I found at Mike’s website at www.sourdoughhome.com . The man is a sourdough genius and he gives easy-as-falling-up-the-stairs instructions. I’ve never met him or talked to him, but one thing is certain, his rock-in-the-pond is sending out big ripples!

So, if you don’t want to wade through his website just now, here’s my version of how to make a sourdough starter.

Important Note: If you live in a hot climate (like south China) see the note at the end of this post.

  1. Get a cup of flour, any kind, I like whole wheat.
  2. Stir in well 3/4 cup of water. Update: In humid climates use 1/2 c water to 1 cup flour.
  3. Cover it loosely with a cloth or lid to keep dust motes from floating in, but still allow the air in.
  4. Let it sit for a day.
  5. Next day, take out 1/2 of the wet flour mixture and throw it away. Stir in another cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water. Update: 1/2 cup water (see step 2)
  6. Repeat step 5 daily until you see that it is very bubbly and will double itself fairly quickly (less than 4 hours). If you think your starter is too runny to double, just add a little more flour to stiffen it up some. It will probably take about 4 days give-or-take for the big action to happen. You now have an active starter.
  7. Once you have an active starter, you can add flour and water to it gradually without always tossing half out, until you have the amount of starter that you need for the recipe you are making. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of starter to do the job. I once experimented and made a loaf of bread using only the starter that stuck to my wooden spoon after I had refreshed it (also known as feeding it). It worked out really well! In fact, I had people who disliked sourdough tell me that bread couldn’t possibly be sourdough because it didn’t taste sour. I had to laugh.

If you want actual bread recipes or further instructions, please go to Mike’s website because he’s done a great job and I don’t want to re-invent the wheel.

Hot Climate Alert! If you live in a hot climate and a nice cool, steady supply of air-conditioning is not a part of your kitchen, then (aside from feeling sorry for you – hope your deodorant works well) you will need to feed your starter twice a day. This is very important and will prevent over-growth of the starter and other problems you don’t want to deal with. It’s easy though, just feed it once in the morning and then again in the evening and it will be just fine.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

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