Okay, let’s talk sourdough starters. You have a few options when it comes to sourdough starters. You can start from scratch, you can purchase an active starter locally, or you can purchase a dehydrated sourdough starter. Each has its own benefits.
If you want to start from scratch, you will need all-purpose unbleached flour and purified water and a 32 oz container. Basic recipe is 1 cup flour to 2/3 cup purified water. Combine both (stir well) cover with cheese cloth and band if you’re using a glass jar, or if you’re using a plastic jar, only secure the plastic lid on one side. You will need to FEED your starter every 12 to 24 hours for the next 7-8 days before it will be ready to make bread with it. Leave it on your counter top ant room temperature to grow. Each time you feed your starter you will discard half of what’s in your container and feed with 1 cup flour and 2/3 cup purified water. Place a rubber band around the container to mark where your starter is after you feed it. You will know that your starter is becoming active once it grows above the line that you marked with the rubber band. Be patient it can take a few days before you see it become active. After a few days, once your starter becomes active, it may double in growth. Get excited, this is a good thing. To test if your starter is ready to bake with, use a cup of water and place a table spoon of your starter in it. If your starter floats, it’s ready. If your starter doesn’t float, it will need a few more days to grow. Note: the first 3-5 days it will smell awful, around days 6-7 you will start to notice the distinct sourdough aroma we all love. Remember to Feed your starter to maintain it. If you bake daily it can remain on your counter top as long as you FEED it daily. If you don’t bake daily it can be stored in your refrigerator and you only have to FEED it once a week. If you fail to feed it, you will kill your starter and will have to start all over.
If you are purchasing a starter from someone local, you’re basically buying a product that’s ready to bake with. You will still need to FEED your starter daily, remembering to discard half before you FEED it, or weekly if you’re storing in your refrigerator to maintain it.
If you purchase a dehydrated active sourdough starter, you’re basically insuring that you’ll have a great active starter. Dehydrated sourdough starter are fully active when they are dehydrated and take a fraction of the time, usually 3-5 days to be ready to bake with. If you purchase a quality dehydrated starter half of your job is done. Once you get it, you will rehydrate it with purified water and add all-purpose unbleached flour to it, cover it and let it grow. The kits come with everything you need to rehydrate and grow your new sourdough starter. You will FEED it every 12 to 24 hours, remembering to discard 1/2 before you FEED it. Your starter will remain at room temperature on your counter top during the growing process. Once fully active, you will be able to bake all the sourdough bread your heart desires.
Once your starter is fully active, you can keep the discard to make discard crackers, pancakes, etc. Check back regularly for Discard Recipes and Sourdough Bread Recipes……….Amy