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Traditional Sourdough Starter

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Why I Love This Recipe

There are many recipes to be found that claim to be sourdough. I am a sourdough purist and stand proud in keeping traditional sourdough alive and kicking. I have helped many across the nation start a traditional sourdough culture with the basic of tools. With the right frame of mind "sourdough is NOT fast food", and a sense of adventure, you can to.

So, are we ready to get a traditional sourdough culture started?

These are the specific things I used:

Ingredients You'll Need

1 quart glass canning jar
Tupperware ½ cup measuring cup
Pyrex glass 1 cup measuring cup
King Arthur unbleached flour
Room temperature water
Plastic spoon
Plastic wrap
Room temperature 70 degrees
(note: I fluff the flour in the bag and spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level off. I weighed it and it is 2.25 ounces per half cup. Do not pack flour in cup!)


Day 1,

In the early evening:

Put 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water in canning jar, stir vigorously. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.

(Note that we started with 1/2 cup of flour which weighed 2.25 ounces, but we added almost double the amount of water as flour which was 4 ounces. We did this to have a very liquid environment to start to capture beasties. As you go along, you will be adding less water. A thicker starter will double in volume and have more bubbles.)

Before midnight:

Add 1/3 cup of water, stir vigorously, add 1/2 cup flour and stir again. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.


Early morning:

Add 1/4 cup of water, stir vigorously. Add 1/2 cup flour, stir again. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.

Early evening:

Add 1/4 cup water, stir vigorously. Add 1/2 cup flour, stir again. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.

At this point, you did not throw any of the starter out yet, only added to.

Day 3

Early morning:

Stir starter down (notice the consistency, it should be like thick pancake batter and this is what I aim for each time I add flour and water. If it gets too thin, add more flour next feeding. If it gets too thick, add less water next feeding)

Add 1/2 cup water; stir vigorously. Throw out half, and then add 1/2 cup of flour, stir again. (I did it this way so it would be easier to whip air into the starter for the benefit of the yeast (yeast needs oxygen), and to make it easier to pour the half down the drain… followed by cold water to clean the drain.) Cover lightly with plastic wrap

Early Evening:

Stir starter down, add 1/2 cup water, stir , thro out half, add 1/2 cup of flour. If it is too thick this time, add 2 T. water and stir vigorously. Depending upon the flour you use, etc., you will need to decide how much water to use to maintain the consistency you want in order to develop the characteristics you're aiming for in your sourdough. Cover lightly with plastic wrap

Day 4:

Add 1/2 cup water and stir. Throw out half, then add 1/2 cup of flour and stir vigorously. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.

Continue in this manner for several days. Watch the consistency of your starter and add more or less water/flour to keep it as you want.

Before the next feeding time, If you ever notice some liquid forming on top of the starter, this is evidence that the starter is using up the food quickly (exhaustion of nutrients, waste products accumulating). Stir the liquid back into the starter and add 2 T. flour and stir. Resume normal feeding at next feeding time.

I suggest building your starter for at least a week before attempting to use it for something small. It takes time to build flavor and leavening ability.

I will be editing and adding pics and instructions to my blog soon, so you can see exactly how this specific traditional recipe developed, and include some interesting tidbits about sourdough.

An Introduction to Sourdough.

Questions, Comments & Reviews

What am I missing here? How is it that most sourdough relies on a long cultivated yeast strain. Your starter recepie could pick up any wild yeast spores and be ..well.. anything.

I am in love with sourdough and hope to try this out...thank you for posting.

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