- I looked up some recipes but the easiest to follow was TheKitchn How to make your own sourdough starter but it's missing the step of ditching out half of your starter each day, otherwise it's going to be way too much yeasty glop in the container after feeding it for at least 7+ days in a row. I don't know if she missed that step or doesn't do it. But the basic concept is there.
- And the King Arthur Flour website has good sourdough starter instructions.
- And the reader comments for the Wild Yeast flour + water = starter blog post are great because everybody else's issues/problems/worries help you figure out if you're on the right track.
And of course now that I'm onto this sourdough starter kick, I'm reading all sorts of other websites for tips, tricks, and troubleshooting since I have no idea what I'm doing.
From what I've read it would be good to get some rye flour since the yeast like that food the best, but I don't have any and don't have time to go to a store that would have it. Sonny D and I are going to Trader Joe's this weekend, so if we can find it there I'll buy some. But I do have a food scale, that's the most important thing with baking bread. Ratios really matter.
A lot of people use big jars for their starters, but I didn't have one tall enough. And I didn't want to use a plastic container, so I used a big 1.75 qt Pyrex glass bowl, the same type Jeff did when he made his sourdough starter a couple years ago. I guess eventually it should triple in size, so you've got to give it a lot of room to grow.
|Water in the beaker and flour on the scale.|
|Day 1 top view. The bubbles are only from my vigorous stirring.|
|Day 1 side view. Not a lot in this container.|
|Top view of day 3.|
|Side view of day 3.|
Day 4Not much activity today but I expected that. I think the really-active leuconostoc bacteria are dying off since not much is going on. If the mixture smells like alcohol or acetone I'm supposed to feed more (increase the amounts but keep the equal weights) because that means the yeast don't have enough to eat and they're feeding on their dead siblings. Sounds so very primal. My starter culture didn't smell.
After scooping off some spoonfuls into the compost bin, I proceeded with adding equal parts flour and water. My hand wasn't too steady and I accidentally poured in 5 ounces of water instead of 4, so I accordingly bumped up the amount of flour to match. Hopefully the yeast are hungry today!It also seemed too thick (really stiff to stir) so I added an extra splash of water. I know, I know, that's not keeping equal weights! I'll try better tonight.
At the previous feeding I put a piece of tape to mark the top of the mixture so I can gauge how much it had risen. As you can see, there wasn't a whole lot going on. When it's a full-running starter, it's eventually supposed to double or triple in size a bit after feeding. And when it gets to the maximum size but right before it falls (when the yeast run out of food), that's when you're supposed to use it in recipes.
|Day 4. Not much rising activity, maybe 1/4 inch over the tape.|
|Day 4 top view, a few bubbles.|
Some Interesting Bits
- It's not really the wild yeast sourdough starter that will make bread sour, but rather the flour you use and how you manipulate the dough with time and temperature. A long rise is one way for your dough to develop a sour flavor.
- Whole wheat sourdough starters are more sour than those maintained with white flour. That's nice to know, I want a sour bread.
- Some people think the yeast is coming in from the air, but actually it's already in the flour. Neat! So each time to add more flour, you're adding more yeasty beasties and at the same time giving them food to eat.