Making your own bread starter can be quite the experience. It is relatively easy, though it does take many days to create. However, the result can be used for many years if you maintain it. Here are some things to know in order to make your own sourdough bread starter.
Gather Your Ingredients
The first step to do is to gather your ingredients. Most starters simply require white flour, whole wheat flour or a mixture of both, water. The starter “grows” due to a combination of the natural bacteria in the flour called saccharomyces cerevisiae, otherwise known as yeast. (Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the oldest foods in the world and has been used in recipes for thousands of years.) The yeast responds with the water to grow, but it takes several days. Make sure you also have measuring spoons and cups to measure out the right amount of water and flour every day as well as a spot in your kitchen where you can leave your starter for a few days undisturbed as you create an active starter.
Follow a Recipe
There are many different recipes you could follow for making a sourdough bread starter, but the important thing is to stick to the recipe. Some recipes call for a mix of flours, some call for one single type of flour, some call for warm water, some call for cold water, etc. Decide which recipe you want to follow and then follow that recipe over the course of the week(s) to create your starter.
Maintaining Your Starter
After the first initial week of growing your bread starter, you may feel very accomplished about a job well done. However, your work is not yet done. If you want to continue to make sourdough bread (or pancakes or muffins or anything else sourdough) you will need to maintain your starter at least once a week by taking the starter out of the fridge, letting it warm up to room temperature, pouring out some of the starter and adding in a new amount of water and flour. This only needs to be done about once a week, but if you continue to maintain your starter, you could end up with a sourdough starter that you reuse for many years.
There are few things more satisfying than pulling a loaf of steaming hot homemade sourdough bread. Making your own sourdough bread starter may take some time and patience on your part, but the results are well worth the effort.
Once you have your own homemade loaf of sourdough bread, try eating a slice with one of our delicious butters!