Sourdough starter

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A harvest of wild yeast, the traditional ingredient used to aerate dough to make a risen bread.

Equipment

A large jar (1 to 2 litre capacity) with a loose fitting lid for making and storing the starter.

Ingredients

flour
water
15 g
FAIRTRADE honey
FAIRTRADE
Sources

Method:

To create the starter culture:

Day 1: Mix 125 g strong white bread flour with 100 ml warm water and the honey to form a stiff paste. Turn out into the fermentation jar. Leave overnight.

Day 2: Mix 125 g strong white bread flour with 100 ml warm water to form a stiff paste, add to the original culture and stir well to include some air. Leave overnight.

Day 3: Mix 125 g strong white bread flour with 100 ml warm water to form a stiff paste, add to the original culture. Leave overnight.

Day 4: By now the mixture will be starting to create gases, and will smell sour.

Mix 125 g strong white bread flour with 100 ml warm water to form a stiff paste, add to the original culture. Leave overnight.

Using the starter

Day 5: You now have about 500g of fermenting starter culture ready for

  • use in making bread,
  • starting another culture (maybe for a friend), and
  • maintenance.

On baking day, weigh out the desired amount of starter for use in the bread, and feed it with the equivalent amount of flour and water.

If you are not baking for a few days put the starter in the fridge. When you want to restart, give the starter 24 hours to warm up, then feed it and fermentation will restart.

If you are away for any length of time, put the culture in the freezer (making sure there is room for expansion). To restart, just thaw to room temperature and feed as per normal.

Notes:

There are different wild yeasts associated with the different grains, and the instructions above are for a wheat flour starter. Rye flour can also be used as the basis of sourdough bread. It would therefore seem logical to use only one type of flour in a sourdough starter.