Ever since my Instagram Stories takeover I have had an uptick of people asking me how to make their own Sourdough. In order to make sourdough though, you need a starter. Here’s my guide on making a starter.
What you need:
- Any type of flour (I use all-purpose especially when starting because you go through a lot of it. I, however do not buy bleached anymore, only unbleached but it doesn’t matter a whole bunch while you are getting started)
- Warm water (I use the baby bottle test on my wrist to make sure it’s not too hot)
- A Kitchen Scale (make sure it can measure in grams)
- 3 mason jars, quart sized (I think mason jars are the easiest to use but as long as it’s clear and you can properly ventilate anything is fine)
- A hair-tie or rubber band
- Tea towel, cheesecloth, or even a paper towel will do.
Take one of your mason jars and place it on your kitchen scale. Turn your kitchen scale on and make sure it is set to zero g. Slowly fill the mason jar with flour until you hit 50g. Leave the jar on the kitchen scale and reset it so it shows 0g. Now very carefully pour your warm water into the mason jar until you reach 50g, it’s okay if you go a gram or so over but try not to. This is called 100% hydration.
Take your mason jar off of the scale and stir together the flour and water. I like to use a chopstick for this but a butter knife works fine. It should look like a thick pancake batter when done. Use your hair-tie and slide it around the mason jar so the line is at the top of your mixture. Place a tea towel over the top of your mason jar and using the tightening ring of your mason jar lid screw it tight over the towel so that your jar is sealed, but ventilated. This will allow air to get in but keep bugs and animals out.
Find a nice warm spot in your house for your starter to live as you grow it. For instance, when I’m trying to help my starter get active, I place it in the window of my husband’s office by his computer where I know it stays nice and warm. Leave it there for about 24hrs.
Now that it has been a day we are going to ‘feed’ our starter, this is something that you will do every day until your starter is active, happy, and ready to use. Take another mason jar and pour the majority of your starter into it. You should only have 1-2 Tbsp. left in your OG jar. This new jar is going to be your ‘Discard’ and I would label it as such. You can just put the regular lid on and store it in the fridge adding to it every time you have discard. There are a lot of discard recipes out there and I’ve attached a link to a list of some of my favorites. Put your OG jar back on your kitchen scale and make sure it is zeroed out (0g). Now put in another 25g of both flour and warm water into the jar. You are just repeating the process you did yesterday but adding onto what you already have. Mix well, put tea towel back over, tighten top, and put back in a warm spot.
You will continue this process every day until your starter is ready. Because you are essentially farming a living thing found in the air, the timeline for this varies. I’ve known people where it has only taken 4 days and for me, it took about two weeks of my second attempt. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you see a film of liquid on the top of your starter dump it out BEFORE you discard and feed!
How to know when your starter is ready:
- Lots of bubbles
- Your starter is doubling in size (This is where the line with your hair-tie comes in handy)
- It should smell sweetly sour (if it doesn’t smell sour at all it’s probably not ready, but this isn’t always the best indicator so rely more on the doubling)