I was put off making a sourdough starter for a long time, and had a couple of false starts, following recipes that called for grapes to be added at the start to provide a boost, due to natural yeasts that are found on the skins, and ratios of different types of flour from rye to plain.
It can be a bit ‘needy’ with daily feedings of equal parts water and flour, however storing in the fridge reduces feeding frequency to about once a week. Getting to trust the dark liquid that forms on top of the starter takes a bit of getting over, however this is harmless and just means the starter is ‘hungry.
This is the method I’ve now come to use; it’s as simple as can be:
- Use a large, wide plastic tub with a lid. Previous attempts with kilner jars, whilst looking attractive, failed due to it being too faffy to stir and wipe before heading to work in the morning. I also ended up having to throw discard quite a bit as jars would become full
- Put the tub on your scales and weight 75g strong white flour and 75g cold water and mix with a spoon or fork. The fewer utensils used the easier.
- Loosely attach the lid and leave it on the kitchen counter
- Repeat this for 5 days at which point bubbles should be forming – the starter is alive!
- The culture is now ready to use. Continue to feed once every other day, or when the starter is looking a less active
A sourdough loaf take a lot of time to leaven and prove, however this can actually make it an easier loaf to fit in around a busy schedule. The benefit that a slow prove brings to the flavour and digestibility of a sourdough loaf, also means your timings don’t need to be anywhere near as accurate. You can combine the ingredients in the morning and bake in the evening without having to be any more accurate that that.