Getting Started with Sourdough Starter
Here’s how we make sourdough in our house — following the wisdom of Josey Baker and his Bread Book. He insists that making your own sourdough starter is not difficult and that everyone can do it! With a a few simple steps and some patience, you will have your own sourdough yeast brigade to help you get baking...
The following process has worked well for us in our cool, moist Chimacum climate. We are aware that there might be variations in different regions but you can give this a try. This whole process takes about two weeks and requires just a few minutes every two or three days.
To make a sourdough starter:
1. First, we start with half a cup of whole wheat all purpose flour mix and half a cup of cold water. Stir it up until it’s the consistency of thick batter and add a little more flour or water if needed.
2. Then we put the mixture into a mason jar and loosely cover it and set it on our counter in the kitchen. See photo.
3. It needs to sit there for a few days at room temperature. After two days, you remove everything except for one tablespoon’s worth of the mixture in the container. You can use that 'extra' bit for other baking projects...like sourdough pancakes!
4. At this point, you need to add another half cup of cold water to dissolve the starter that’s left in the jar and then add another half cup of whole wheat flour. Stir it up well, loosely cover the jar and let it sit for another two days at room temperature.
5. We repeat this process for about two weeks— with removing most of the mixture every two or three days, leaving 1 tablespoon in the jar, mixing in equal parts of whole wheat flour and water and then mixing up again etc.
After two weeks of this, you should have a viable sourdough starter! You’ll know because it’ll have a nice pungent sourdough smell and it will have a bubbly appearance.
Depending on how often you bake, you will have to decide if you want to leave your starter in the fridge (for less frequent users) or leave it out on the counter for regular baking. You can consult the many baking wizards on the world wide web for more tips and techniques about that!