Sourdough Starter

I had always wanted to bake with sourdough. I remember a magazine I had a long time ago that had a picture of grapes on top of a flour/water mixture to make a starter. I cannot remember what that magazine was otherwise I will search for and buy it, if only for that page and the recipe!

When my son was in 4th grade learning about the Oregon Trail, we started reading articles about it at home. My interest in sourdough was revived around that time when I read about a century old starter in Oregon, Carl Griffith’s 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter, and wanted it immediately. I mean, they say that this is a hundred seventy years old and that is fascinating to me. It survived for so long! I can only imagine baking with the same sourdough they used at that time. I’m sort of a nerd, yes, I am aware of that fact. You can read all about the Carl Griffith’s 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter here: http://carlsfriends.net

I wondered if I could try and use this as I had been making bread with yeast forever. I am aware that different places would have different strains of local flora, yeasts and bacteria, therefore I wasn’t sure I’ll get the exact thing even if I revived this starter.

I asked a Facebook group “Perfect Sourdough” if anyone was familiar with this. Some were but they mostly encouraged me to just make it as “it would be ready by the time you get the Carl’s starter anyway.”

So I sent for the Carl’s sourdough starter, and at the same time, armed with almost everything I read from that group and online, started my own Rancho Santa Margarita 2017 sourdough! 😊

It took me 5 days total to get a bubbly starter. I placed my container on top of the refrigerator for extra warmth as it was December 14 when I began this little experiment. I used an easy to follow recipe that only ever uses 1 cup flour to 1/2 water to feed the starter.

Preparing your own Sourdough Starter:

Day 1: In a jar, crock or plastic bucket (1 quart is a good size) place 1 cup whole wheat flour(or rye) and 1/2 cup water. Mix well, and cover loosely. Place on top of your refrigerator for 24 hours.

Day 2: Discard top half (about 1/2 cup) of the starter and add 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour and 1/2 cup water to the remaining half in the container. Stir well, cover loosely and leave overnight on top of the refrigerator. *My starter had a crusty, dried out top and that was what I discarded.

Day 3: By now, there will likely be bubbles in the mixture. If so, feed every 12 hours(2x a day), removing half of the sourdough and feeding using 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour and 1/2 cup water each time. If it doesn’t have bubbles, feed just once today.

Day 4-5: Repeat feedings twice a day. On days 4-5 the starter should’ve doubled and bubbled all over. If not, continue feeding twice a day until it reaches this point (days 6-7). My starter was ready on day 5. Lots of bubbles and it doubled in less than 8 hours.

Once it’s ready, remove half of the sourdough and feed it once more. Leave for about 6 – 8 hours and take how much you’ll need for your recipe.

TIPS:

*If your recipe calls for more than 1 cup of starter, give it a couple of feedings without discarding, until you’ve made enough for your recipe plus 1/2 cup to keep and feed again.

*OR collect the discards in a jar in the refrigerator until you get 1 cup, about 2 feedings.

*If you’ve got nothing but 1 tablespoon left, that’s okay too! This happened to me more than once. Just feed it as usual and watch it spring back to life. This also goes for if you forgot about it for a few weeks. Just scoop out the top portion and get at least a tablespoon to place in a clean jar. Feed with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour then leave at room temperature until bubbly.

Maintaining a Sourdough Starter:

Transfer the remaining half of starter to a container. Feed this starter with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water, cover loosely, and let it rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours.

Store this starter in the refrigerator after and feed it regularly: 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water once a week, after removing half for “discard”. Remember to leave it at room temperature for a few hours after feeding, then store in the refrigerator until needed.

TIP: place a rubber band on the container to mark the starting volume, that way you’ll know when it doubles.

What To Do With Discards:

You do not need to throw way the discard sourdough once your sourdough is ready. There are plenty of recipes online for crackers, waffles, pancakes, pizza, pretzels, etc. that will make use of these dough instead of wasting them.

King Arthur Flour is a great place to find recipes for sourdough and for discards. Link here: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/collections/sourdough-discard-recipes

Sourdough English Muffins:

https://athomewiththeresa.com/2019/07/06/sourdough-english-muffins/

Sourdough Waffles:

https://athomewiththeresa.com/2019/10/08/sourdough-waffles/

Sourdough Baguettes:

https://athomewiththeresa.com/2019/07/05/sourdough-baguettes/

*My Carl’s Sourdough did arrive about 2 weeks after I started my own starter. It is now my dehydrated back up in case something goes wrong with the one I am using. I just don’t think I can take care of 2 different sourdoughs as I don’t bake everyday.*

Sourdough breads
Waffles

Sourdough Starter

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy to follow tutorial to grow your own sourdough starter at home!

Directions

Day 1: In a jar, crock or plastic bucket (1 quart is a good size) place 1 cup whole wheat flour(or rye) and 1/2 cup water. Mix well, and cover loosely. Place on top of your refrigerator for 24 hours.

Day 2: Discard top half (about 1/2 cup) of the starter and add 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour and 1/2 cup water to the remaining half in the container. Stir well, cover loosely and leave overnight on top of the refrigerator.

Day 3: By now, there will likely be bubbles in the mixture. If so, feed every 12 hours(2x a day), removing half of the sourdough and feeding using 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour and 1/2 cup water each time. If it doesn’t have bubbles, feed just once today.

Day 4-5: Repeat feedings twice a day. On days 4-5 the starter should’ve doubled and bubbled all over. If not, continue feeding twice a day until it reaches this point (days 6-7). My starter was ready on day 5. Lots of bubbles and it doubled in less than 8 hours.

Once it’s ready, remove half of the sourdough and feed it once more. Leave for about 6 – 8 hours and take how much you’ll need for your recipe.

TIPS:

*If your recipe calls for more than 1 cup of starter, give it a couple of feedings without discarding, until you’ve made enough for your recipe plus 1/2 cup to keep and feed again.

*OR collect the discards in a jar in the refrigerator until you get 1 cup, about 2 feedings.

*If you’ve got nothing but 1 tablespoon left, thats okay too! This happened to me more than once. Just feed it as usual and watch it spring back to life. This also goes for if you forgot about it for a few weeks. Just scoop out the top portion and get at least a tablespoon to place in a clean jar. Feed with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour then leave at room temperature until bubbly.

Maintaining a Sourdough Starter:

Transfer the remaining half of starter to a container. Feed this starter with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water, cover loosely, and let it rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours.

Store this starter in the refrigerator after and feed it regularly: 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water once a week, after removing half for “discard”. Remember to leave it at room temperature for a few hours after feeding, then store in the refrigerator until needed.

#ad “As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases”

For the container I use to keep my sourdough, check out this Cambro 1 quart with lid:

Advertisements