Creating a sourdough starter
Creating a sourdough starter requires time and attention. Here’s how Grateful Bread’s Jeff Cleary recommends doing it: WHAT YOU NEED: Whole wheat flour Unbleached bread flour Filtered water Glass jar or non-reactive container DIRECTIONS: 1. Mix flour (preferably organic, freshly milled) and water together by hand or with a stand mixer on low speed until well blended. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature in a food-safe container such as a glass jar. 2. Discard half of the mixture and stir in another 4 ounces of water, then add 6 ounces of unbleached bread flour and mix thoroughly. Let sit for another 24 hours. 3. Reserve 4 ounces of the mixture and repeat the process of adding 4 ounces of water and 6 ounces of bread flour. Continue “feeding” the starter every 12 hours, repeating the same amounts of flour and water each time. 4. After 1 week, the starter should smell slightly acidic with a noticeable amount of bubbling. 5. Mix 2 ounces of the starter with 5 ounces of water and 8½ ounces of bread flour. Store on a door shelf inside the refrigerator to mature for 3 days (the back of the fridge can be too cold). 6. After this, the starter should be ready to use in your bread formula. Always reserve enough starter to feed for your next batch or you will have to create a new one from scratch. To maintain the starter, feed it 1 cup of unbleached bread flour and ½ cup of filtered water about once a week going forward. NOTE: Several variables will affect how a starter performs: temperature, humidity, and brand and type of flour. No baker can tell you exactly how to make your starter perform best. Experimentation and experience will be your greatest teachers. Try different combinations of variables to find what works best in your kitchen. King Arthur Flour offers a staffed hotline for answers about starters and bread baking 855-371-BAKE (2253) or online at kingarthurflour.com.