Well... after sharing with you how I keep my sourdough starter alive, I decided to share my experience with making a sourdough starter. It was maybe better first to share the steps for making the starter and then keeping it alive, but now it’s the opposite. Don’t blame me, please!
So let’s begin. All of the ingredients that you need to make a sourdough starter is... just flour and water. That’s it! And a jar of some plastic container. Just use whatever you have.
You may be able to make the starter with only all-purpose flour, but I tend to use all grain flour and all purpose flour at almost equal quantities. It may be a bit easier to get the “bugs” alive with the addition of all grain flour. With “bugs” I mean the wild yeast which ferments the flour and makes your dough really fluffy and stretchy. When I made a sourdough starter for the first time I used some malts. It’s a lot more nutritional than the traditional flour and makes your starter begin fermentation really fast. Don’t worry if you don’t have malts. You will be ok with the flour anyway.
I mix equal parts of all grain and all purpose flour. Then you add water. The ratio of water:grain is exactly 1:1. You will be ok if the water is more. Just make the flour hydrated. The bugs need a bit more water to get stronger. The overall quantity after mixing is 2/3 cup or about 150 ml. From now on, the only thing that is needed is time. Just leave the mixture to rest at room temperature for 24 hours. And don’t forget to cover the mixture with plastic wrap. Or if you use a jar - cover it with the lid but do not fasten it. Otherwise you will end with having a bomb. 😁
After 24 hours there will be some signs of fermentation. You will see small bubbles in the starter and it will probably start to smell a bit strange and sour. That’s pretty normal and means that you have some sort of fermentation going on.
The overall volume may have to increased a bit, but in only a day you cannot expect much. It’s totally fine. It’s fine even if you don’t have any signs of fermentation too. Just go on with the steps.
Now it’s time to throw away half of the “starter”. You need to feed the slow and weak bugs in order to make them stronger. Just add equal parts of water and flour in the container and mix the starter really well. You don’t want to have non-hydrated particles in there. After the feeding I have roughly the same quantity in the container. About 150 ml.
Now... just like the previous day - leave the starter at a room temperature for the next 24 hours and... we will meet again for the next day’s steps.
Making your starter requires some time, but it really pays off when your starter is ready and you can use it to make your bread or pizza dough.
Stay tuned for the next post. And don’t forget to cover your starter!