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I’ve spent the last two weeks honing in on my grandma skills, and I am so excited to share with you guys! Sourdough bread is a hot commodity in our house. It seems like one minute it’s there and the next it isn’t.
As some of you know I am on a mission to live more simply, sustainably, and self-sufficient, and I’ve been checking skills of my list one by one. A couple of months ago a came across an article in Mother Earth Living magazine that inspired me to add sourdough culture to my list. I remember attempting to make a sourdough starter in my teens, and it completely failed, so this one was a bit scary for me.
Sourdough starter is the fermentation of wild yeast and a beneficial bacteria found in our environment called lactobacilli. One of the probiotic byproducts of that fermentation is lactic acid, which can help with digestion by breaking down the gluten in flour and help us absorb essential nutrients like B vitamins and iron.
Creating a sourdough starter is basically mixing together flour and water, and letting that mixture ferment. Because the starter is alive, it must be fed regularly to keep it active.
How To Make Sourdough Starter
A few notes before we begin
Sourdough starter takes about a week before it’s ready for use. When measuring your ingredients it is best to measure by weight using a kitchen scale, but I listed measurements in both and volume in this recipe. To stir the starter I found that it is easiest to use a chopstick, but a wooden spoon works fine.
You will need:
Warm, filtered Water
- In a large glass container stir 100 grams of flour (about 1 cup) into 125 grams of water (a little over 1/2 cup). Stir and cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band or a non-sealing lid. I use a jar similar to this one.
- Leave the mixture on the counter for a few days, stirring vigorously several times a day to aerate the mixture. If the mixture looks dry feel free to stir in a bit more warm water.
- When it begins to smell yeasty and you see some bubbles on the top, the wild yeast has begun to ferment and your starter is ready for feeding. Feed your starter by discarding (or using) about half of it and then stirring in 100 grams flour and 125 grams of warm water until combined. Regularly used starters should be fed at least once a day, twice if in a warmer climate. Less frequently used starters can be kept in the fridge and fed once a week.
Creating and maintaining a sourdough starter has been very fulfilling, similar to the feeling of keeping a house plant alive. One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a piece of buttered sourdough toast and a hot cup of Earl Grey tea, and it feels even better knowing I made the bread myself.