I have read many complicated recipes and methods for creating a sourdough starter over the years. In my mind I keep going back to the question I ask myself often. “What would they do a hundred years ago?” Well I’m going to tell you!
Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter
1 cup organic rye flour
1 cup purified water
Mix together and place in an open container. I use a 1 quart canning jar, but anything will do as long as it is plastic, glass or ceramic. Wild Yeasts do not like metals much.
Leave this jar sitting in a nice warm place. I put mine on top of the fridge, but I’ve heard of people keeping them on the water heater, in the oven with the light on, and on top of the DVD player. As long as you are in the 70 degree range you will be fine.
Now every day you are going to take the jar and add:
1/2 cup organic rye flour
1/2 cup purified water
As the jar sits there wild yeasts from the air land in the jar and start to grow in that nice warm environment, eating away at the gluten in the flour. At the end of 5-7 days you will start to see bubbles forming and it will start to smell yeasty. Now you are ready to bake!
By the time it is properly fermented you are going to have a large amount of starter to work with. If you are just starting your sourdough adventure, that is a good thing. You and your starter will be doing a lot of experimenting together so its good to have extra. Also, don’t forget to name your starter. It is a living organism, and loves being part of the family.
I personally bake only on the weekends, usually starting on Friday night. So I leave my starter (his name is Rufus) napping in the fridge all week, on Thursday I take him out of the fridge and feed him some flour and water and instead of a lid I cover him with a coffee filter. He gets very excited when he sits on top of the fridge and gets all bubbly and full of life. By the time I’m ready to make up a batch of dough on Friday night he is ready to go! After I’m finished baking I feed him once more, and put a tight lid on him and put him back in the fridge to sleep.
Your starter should be fed once a week, whether you are baking or not. Here is your simple routine:
1. remove from fridge
2. feed water and flour
3. leave out 4-8 hours
4. cap tightly put in fridge.
It sounds a little daunting and difficult, I know. But trust me, this couldn’t be easier. Now you have a fresh, healthy starter to use in any kind of baking. I use mine in any recipe that calls for yeast, baking, powder, or baking soda. I will post all the sourdough recipes that I use in the future.
Please, if you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.