Make your bread rise with time and critters. The whole process is easy; it just takes a couple weeks and some babysitting.
These notes produce 400g of starter. You can make any amount you like - just keep the flour and water proportions the same.
- Measure, by weight, equal parts flour and water and combine.
- For this example, combine 100g and 100g water to produce 200g of starter. This should be half the amount of starter you want to in total. Tomorrow, we’ll double it by feeding it.
- Avoid bleached flour. Using wheat flour is good because it contains more yeast and bacteria to begin with. I use half unbleached bread flour and half unbleached whole wheat flour.
- Cover loosely to let air in, but keep insects out, and let rest 24 hours in a warm (70ish degrees F) place.
- I cut a square of cheesecloth on top of a mason jar and use the ring to secure it. Works great for air exchange while keeping the fruit flies out.
After 24 hours, stir the starter and incorporate 100g flour and 100g more of water. This is a “feeding.” Cover and let ferment another 24 hours.
After 24 hours, discard half (200g) the starter and replace with another 100g each of flour and water. Combine well and recover.
- Do not miss feedings.
- The first couple days may not be very active and may not smell the best. Toward the end of a bubbles will pop up more quickly and the aroma will change to something yeasty and pleasant.
Continue feeding another two or three days by discarding half and feeding the remainder.
Start feeding twice a day for a few days to really get the starter vigorous.
When it’s ready, there will be a lot of activity (bubbles) within just a few hours of feeding. The starter will double within a matter of three to four hours after feeding. The starter will smell sour, but yeasty - not unpleasant.
- Another test of readiness is to drop a small amount of starter gently in water. It should float.
Once ready, the starter should either be used immediately or placed in the fridge. Otherwise, you’ll need to continue feeding.
Once placed in the fridge, remove at least once per month to feed for a few hours before placing back in the fridge. The process is the same - discard the excess of what you want to keep and feed with equal parts flour and water.
Before using refrigerated starter, wake it up by feeding it and allowing it several hours to feed and get active (bubbly).
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