Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Learn how to make a Sourdough Starter from scratch with this step-by-step tutorial.
It's easy to cultivate a strong starter that will have you baking healthy sourdough bread in about 9 days.
Many websites and books mention only seven days, but in my experience to bake without fresh yeast and have the bread you always dreamed of it is necessary to wait some days longer, to get your Sourdough Starter stronger.
Ready? Let's get started!
• 2 x Mason Jar with Lids
• Baker's Scale
• bread flour - whole wheat flour
• rye flour
Clean a glass jar and add 25 grams bread flour (whole wheat flour) + 25 grams rye flour and 50 grams water (ca. 30 Celsius). Use a spatula to stir until smooth. Important to get a homogeneous texture. Cover loosely with fabric or a lid and let rest for 24 hours - room temperature! Do NOT place it in the fridge!
If you find your sourdough starter not rising, cold temperatures in your kitchen could be the issue. If your kitchen is too cold, don't worry. I've got a trick for you!
Place your starter on a baking sheet and put it in your oven. If you prefer, turn the light of your oven on, but don't turn on the oven! If you have a thermometer, keep it inside the oven alongside the starter to monitor the temperature. Remember to shut the door to keep in the heat.
Stir the mixture well, cover and let rest for 24 hours.
Today you will need your second jar. Take out 50 grams starter and add to your second clean jar. Discard the rest and wash the jar, the following day you will need it.
To the starter add 25 grams bread flour + 25 grams rye flour and 50 grams water (careful with the temperature, NOT COLD water!). Stir until smooth, with no clumps and place a rubber band to mark the starter level. Cover loosely and let rest 24 hours.
On day 3, it may look like your starter is going nowhere, but keep going!
Day 4 and 5.
Repeat the same like day 3. Take out 50 grams of starter, add to a clean jar... etc.
You will notice some bubbles in your starter. All perfect!
Day 6, 7 and 8.
Repeat like the days before, but twice a day: in the morning and in the evening.
You will see, your starter will require "the feeding" every 10-12 hours.
If you use only bread flour - whole wheat flour (it is also an option, f.e. if you have kids, usually they don't like rye, in this case just add from now whole wheat flour) your sourdough starter should have a "yeasty" smell, like bread. If you follow my recipe and mix with rye flour, the smell will be more fruity.
If the starter starts to smell like nail polish remover, it's a sign that it needs some help. This is a sign that the yeast and bacteria are not balanced correctly. This can be caused by a missed feeding or overly warm temperatures.
The starter is ready to bake after it rised and falled consistently for a few days in a row.
How do you know when it's ready to bake bread?
By day 9, I'm sure you're more than ready to get a loaf of bread in the oven. Trust me, I know exactly how you feel! The best way to find our, test your starter.
On day 9, feed the starter in the morning and let it ferment until it's doubled in size. (4-6 hours). Fill a clear glass jar with room temperature water. Remove a tablespoon of starter and gently drop it into the water. Did the starter float? If your answer is yes then you are ready to bake some sourdough bread!
If the starter drops to the bottom of the glass, this is an indication that it needs a few more days of feedings before it's strong enough to bake with. All you need to do in this case is practice patience and keep going!
If you have any questions to the process above, do not hesitate to contact me or write a comment below. I will be more than happy to guide you through all steps and help you to make your own sourdough starter.
All went well so far? Guess now you are asking yourself, how to continue? How to bake with the sourdough starter? All questions to be answered in my next post.