Sourdough starter is a fermented mixture of flour and water that is used to leaven bread. It is made by allowing wild yeasts and bacteria naturally present in flour to grow and multiply, creating a fermented mixture that is full of beneficial probiotics and has a tangy, sour taste. Not only is sourdough bread delicious, but it is also easier to digest than bread made with commercial yeast.
Making your own sourdough starter at home is a fun and rewarding process. It does take a bit of time and patience, as the starter needs to be fed and cared for regularly, but the end result is well worth the effort. Plus, once you have a healthy starter, you can use it to make all sorts of sourdough goodies, from bread and rolls to pancakes and waffles.
To make your own sourdough starter, you will need:
- 1 cup (250g) wholemeal flour
- 1 cup (250ml) lukewarm water
Mix the flour and water together in a glass jar or bowl. Cover the jar or bowl with a cloth or piece of muslin and leave it in a warm, draft-free place for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, the mixture should have started to bubble and become slightly thicker. This means that the wild yeasts and bacteria present in the flour are starting to multiply.
To feed the starter, add an additional 1/2 cup (125g) wholemeal flour and 1/2 cup (125ml) lukewarm water to the jar or bowl. Mix everything together well, then cover the jar or bowl and leave it in a warm, draft-free place for another 24 hours.
Repeat this feeding process every 24 hours for the next 5-7 days, or until the starter becomes active and bubbly. You may notice a pleasant, sour aroma emanating from the starter as it ferments. This is a good sign that your starter is healthy and ready to use.
Once your starter is active and bubbly, it is ready to use in your sourdough recipes. To use it, simply take out the amount of starter that your recipe calls for, then feed the remaining starter with equal parts flour and water (e.g. 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water). Return the fed starter to a warm, draft-free place and allow it to rest for a few hours before using it again.
It is important to feed your starter regularly to keep it healthy. If you are not using it every day, you can store it in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. Just be sure to bring it back to room temperature and feed it a few times before using it in a recipe.
With a little bit of time and patience, you can easily make your own sourdough starter at home and enjoy the delicious taste and health benefits of sourdough bread. Happy baking!
See some of my sourdough recipes here: