The Easiest Way to Make Sourdough Starter
I’m going to share with you the easiest way to make a sourdough starter. Making Sourdough bread was hard for me and it’s not for the faint of heart. Today we will begin with making the starter. It was harder for me than it should have been so I’m going to share with you how I finally had a successful starter and it was pretty dang easy.
Now is a great time to get your starter going. It takes a bit of time but once you’re done you will be ready to make some warm out of the oven, buttered sourdough bread; to go with your beef stew or soup.
And you can use your starter for years to come! I’ve had mine for well over a year.
A week from now I will share my Sourdough Bread recipe with you.
It took me close to a year to perfect my sourdough bread. I think typically I would have given up but I wasn’t going to let this beat me and my sister and younger brother were having success and so, of course, that was even more motivation.
As I mentioned the starter took me some time so I want to share my mistakes.
I started with a starter kit that I bought from Amazon and that was a total bust. Then I realized that I could just create my own starter without the help of a “starter” kit.
Once I had my starter going with regular flour I discovered Einkorn Flour. The more I learned about it, the more I knew that I wanted to bake exclusively with Einkorn. So I switched my starter over by only feeding it with Einkorn and it is now exclusively an Einkorn starter.
You can read more about why I love Einkorn Flour HERE.
Using sourdough starter for your yeast and Einkorn flour for your dough is a way to eat bread, rolls, muffins and so much more while putting a healthy alternative into your body. The fermentation of the natural sourdough yeast is so good for your gut and Einkorn flour is easily digestible and very good for you.
I’ve heard sourdough referred to as both an art and a science. I believe that to be absolutely true. Also know that no two starters are going to act and be the same. Mine, for instance, doesn’t double in size after I feed it like some do but it gets nice and bubbly and it has a great sourdough smell. It also makes a great loaf of bread so that’s all that really matters to me.
Making Your Starter
This is actually very simple once I just did it the old-fashioned way that our moms and Grandmom’s before them did it.
I had read all kinds of posts about hydration and ratios; my head was spinning. I needed something very basic so this is how I made my sourdough starter from scratch.
I strongly suggest you buy a food scale as bread just works better when you measure things in grams. Mine was pretty inexpensive and it works like a charm. The link is above and below.
For all of my bread baking, I use Einkorn Flour and Purified Water that is room temperature. Starters won’t work if you have chlorinated water. We live with well water and I just don’t use the water out of my tap for anything we eat.
Add 60 grams (1/2 cup) of all-purpose flour and 60 grams (1/4 cup) of warm water to a quart wide mouth mason jar. Mix with a wooden spoon or fork until the flour is dissolved then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place.
I kept mine on a cutting board on the top of my stove. Our house is 72 degrees in the summer and the winter so I figured that was the warmest spot. I didn’t use anything special to keep it warmer and my starter turned out fine.
Add 60 more grams (1/2 cup) of all-purpose flour and 60 more grams (1/4 cup) of warm water to your mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or fork until the flour is dissolved then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place.
You could be seeing bubbles on the top of your starter but if you don’t, no worries!
Today you will discard about 1/2 of what is in your jar and start with 60 grams of starter. I actually measured mine out and started with a clean jar. To that 60 grams of starter, you will add 60 grams (1/2 cup) of all-purpose flour and 60 grams (1/4 cup) of warm water. Mix with a wooden spoon or fork until the flour is dissolved then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place.
Day 4, Day 5 & Day 6
On these three days, you are going to REPEAT everything you did on Day 3!
I honest to goodness had to make a little paper calendar that I kept in my kitchen and kept track of what to do each day. I have a horrible memory and it just made it easier for me.
Now you might be starting to see bubbles. You might also be starting to see a brownish/gray liquid on the top of your starter. This is “hooch” or the alcohol that your starter is producing as it is fermenting. Some people drain it off, I just mix it right into my starter each day.
For some, this is the magic day when their starter has doubled in size and is nice and bubbly, and has a lovely sourdough smell. If it doesn’t, don’t despair you may have to continue the discard and feed for a few more days. I know that some starters can take up to 2 weeks. It has to do with the flour you use, the temperature of your home, and quite frankly just the way the starter behaves for you.
Once it gets to that magic bubbly, aromatic state, you’re ready to start using it.
Taking Care of Your Starter
Once your starter is active, you can leave it out on your counter but you will need to feed it every day when it drops (becomes inactive). I personally just put it in my refrigerator and then you only have to feed it once a week. I feed mine 30 grams of water and 30 grams of flour at each feeding. I have left my starter in the refrigerator for several weeks and have forgotten to feed it. It must be a pretty good starter because I just take it out, warm it to room temperature and feed it. I let it sit out until it becomes bubbly and active again. (about 3-4 hours) Then I will use some and put the rest back in the refrigerator or just put it back in the refrigerator for another week if I’m not going to use it.
What to do with the Discard?
You can use your sourdough discard for lots of yummy things. Here are some great recipes for using your discard to feed their families and friends.
10 Discard Recipes from Taste of Home
Sourdough Discard Recipes from King Arthur Baking Company
10+ Sourdough Discard Recipes from Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone
Bread Making Tools
Here are the things that I use to not only get my sourdough starter going but also to bake my bread. I didn’t have everything at first but I’ve learned that it sure makes the job easier to have the right equipment.
- Food Scale
- Einkorn All-Purpose Flour
- Purified Water
- Quart Wide-Mouth Ball Jar (2 or 3)
- Large Glass Bowl
- Danish Dough Whisk
- Dough Scrapper
- Dough Proofing Basket
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Parchment Paper
I can’t wait to share with you how I finally perfected my sourdough bread recipe next week. Get your starters going and bake along with me!
Perfect timing, Lynn! I can’t wait to get started. I think I’ll give this a try with the fresh milled flour that I have and see how it works. I may be ordering those berries, too, soon. I’m pinning this so that I don’t lose it and will be back next week when you share your bread recipe. Thanks, as always, for your inspiration, friend!
Now that we chatted about this, I want a mill so badly. But I think it will have to be a Christmas present 🙂