Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sourdough 101 - Day 1

I've been keeping a sourdough starter for a few years now. It's quite fun - like a little bacteria baby (but the good kind!) that makes delicious bread. I am not as adventurous as some with my starter - those who make crumpets, pancakes, muffins and pretty much everything flour-based with their starters impress me to no end! I am just your standard, one loaf per week gal. So, this is definitely sourdough for beginners! If you want screeds of information and fangdangled recipes, google it, and you will no doubt find plenty to keep you busy!

I made a new starter when I moved into my new house, partly because my old one died, but partly because I like the idea of having house-specific yeasts for my bread making. Yes, I am a little weird like that! I loosely used the process from River Cottage to make my starter. It is quite a lengthy process - give yourself at least a week before you actually get to make a loaf - but I am going to try and break it down day-by-day for you.

To make a starter you will need:
  • a big, ceramic bowl (not stainless steel or plastic)
  • at least 1kg of good quality flour - I use organic wholemeal, but I've heard rye is the best
  • an organic grape (optional, but helps the yeast get going)
  • a warm place

Here's what you do:
  • measure 100 grams of flour and mix well with warm water to the consistency of a thickish batter
  • once mixed, drop a single organic grape in the middle of the mixture
  • cover with gladwrap and leave in a warm, draft-free place (hot water cupboards are ideal)
  • wait

Your mixture should look something like this

Starters take all different amounts of time to get going - mine took a good day or so, but some can be bubbling away within a matter of hours. I would do the above process at night and then check it in the morning to see if it needs a feed.

Tomorrow we will discuss feeding our starter to get it really going!

Please note: it will take about 7-10 days before you are ready to start making bread.

Part two here.
Part three here.
Part four here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I was referred to your post after asking sour dough starter questions on facebook. I see you specify not using stainless steel bowls... and am wondering why that is? Thanks! Pip.