Our Urban Farms
Sourdough Bread Starter
What you Need:
A glass jar
The most important part of getting a healthy sourdough starter going is de-chlorinating water. This is as easy as filling a glass container with water and letting it sit on the counter for 24 hours. Chlorine in our water supply will kill the yeast and bacteria you are trying to grow in your starter. Use only de-chlorinated water to begin your starter and to feed it thereafter. Also, only use de-chlorinated water when making your bread dough. That will ensure the healthiest, most robust growth of yeast and bacteria.
To make the starter, mix equal portions of de-chlorinated water and flour by weight. This generally equals a 2:1 ratio of flour:water by volume. You don't have to be too exacting. For example:
Begin by mixing 1/2 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of de-chlorinated water. Mix them completely to ensure all of the flour is moistened. We recommend putting it in a pint-sized canning jar. Cover it loosely. The yeast and bacteria need to breath. But, covering it keeps other things from falling into it.
For the first few days, feed the beginning starter once every day. To feed it, remove 1/2 of the starter (setting it aside for other uses) than add flour and de-chlorinated water, mixing it with 1/2 of the starter.
After a few days, you should begin to see some bubbling some hours after feeding. This is the result of gasses that are forming as the yeast and bacteria feed on the flour's gluten.
Once you see bubbles forming, you can begin feeding the starter 2 times per day. The starter is ready to use when it approximately doubles its size in a 4-hour period of time.
After the starter is thriving, you can begin storing it in the refrigerator, without daily feeding for up to a week. Remove the starter from the refrigerator a few days before baking to begin feeding it again, so that is nice and active for baking.
You can make different starters with different kinds of flour. However, be sure to use the same kind of flour for baking as was used to feed the starter.