Sourdough Starter
March 2, 2015

Have you ever fancied having a go at making delicious, healthy sourdough bread? Here, our guest chef and expert bread maker, Lucie Steel, talks you through how to create a sourdough starter.

Sourdough recipe

Hi, Lucie here.  Well, I have to say that 2015 has sort of sneaked up on me when I wasn’t looking! But I am hanging on to the thought that the days are getting longer and spring is well on its way.

I do my baking in a converted shipping container which is always a challenge as you have no choice other than to be weather aware! I bake a lot of sourdough and it can be very temperature dependent. This said, please don’t let it stop you from having a go as in the confines of your kitchen (hopefully a lot warmer than my tin box) you will find it a much easier prospect.

Now there’s a lot of talk about sourdough and, therefore, a lot of frankly mythical rubbish floating around the Internet.  So let’s make this really, really easy. Proving time you cannot skimp on but simplicity of method can be yours!

Let’s make a white wheat sourdough starter.  It’s easy to do and keep.

White Sourdough Starter
Get yourself a reasonably sized (1ltr or more) plastic container with a good tight fitting lid. Don’t use a glass jar with a screw top lid as this can explode.

Day One

Ingredients:

50g of stoneground, organic, white wheat flour

100g water at body temperature

Method:

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly. Put the mixture in your container with the lid on and leave it on a kitchen surface.

Day Two

Ingredients:

50g good, stoneground, white wheat flour
50g water at body temperature

Method:

Open the container and add the ingredients. Mix thoroughly! Put the lid back on the container and leave it on the kitchen surface.

Repeat this process for at least another two days. You might need to leave it for three, or maybe even four, days if you are a really clean person with an immaculate house. Remember, these are living bugs you’re growing which don’t like strong kitchen cleaning liquids.

By day four/five you should have a nice bubbly mixture. This is the wild yeast feeding happily in your container and producing carbon dioxide as it feeds. If you went for five days feeding, your container will now have 550g of sourdough starter in it.

What next…

You can use your starter to bake straight away or you can pop it in your fridge and leave it in there until you are ready to bake. There is NO requirement to feed it until you want to bake, the yeast will simply “sleep” in the cold of your fridge and wait for you to “wake” them up with some food – ie. warm water and flour when you want to use them to bake!  When left in the fridge your starter may start to smell strange (like vinegar, eggy, apples, yeasty, alcohol) and it may split into a ghastly grey liquid with a floury paste underneath. All of this is absolutely fine! ONLY if it starts to grow black/green mould do you need to chuck it away and this shouldn’t happen unless the container gets contaminated in some way – so keep it sealed!

In my next blog I’ll tell you how to use your starter dough to make delicious loaves of sourdough bread.

Lucie Steel Bread Baker & Bread Class Teacher

Making the loaf!


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