How to make a Sourdough Starter
According to studies, sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, which means that the fiber in the bread helps feed the “good” bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria are important for maintaining a stable, healthy digestive system. Sourdough is also lower in gluten than other forms of bread. Click below to get started with how to make a sourdough starter
In the morning, place a clean, empty jar on the scale and tare. To that jar, add 100 grams whole grain rye flour and 125 grams water and mix until all dry bits are incorporated.
- If it’s cool in your kitchen, warm the water to 80°F (26°C) before mixing. Lightly cover the jar and set it in a warm place–75°F to 85°F is ideal–and out of direct sunlight for 24 hours. If you live in an older house like me, your oven is a perfect place.
- Place a second, empty jar on the scale and tare so that it reads 0 grams. Scoop in 75 grams of the mixture that has been resting for 24 hours. Next, add 50 grams rye flour, 50 grams all-purpose flour, and 115 grams of water. Again, if it’s cold, warm the water to 80°F(26°C).
- Mix well until all dry bits are incorporated, cover, and place in the same warm spot for 24 hours. Discard the rest of the mixture in the first jar and clean it in preparation for the next day.
- Repeat this process for days 2, 3, and 4
You may or may not already see some fermentation activity. This potential initial surge of activity is typical and should subside around Day 3. Don’t be discouraged if the surge disappears by the third or fourth day. Stick to the schedule, and it will come back!
Day 5 is the first day of the process that has two refreshments in a single day: one in the morning, and one approximately 12 hours later. Place a clean jar on the scale and tare. Scoop in 75 grams of the mixture from the jar that fermented overnight, add 50 grams rye flour, 50 grams all-purpose flour, and 115 grams water. Mix thoroughly, cover, and let rest for 12 hours.
For Days 6 and 7, continue to discard down the contents of the jar and then refresh with the same ratio of ingredients as you did on Day 5, twice a day. You will see fermentation activity increase more and more. Keep using the same jar for these refreshments.
Day 8 and onward
In the morning on Day 8, discard what’s in the jar down to 20 grams of the mixture. To this, add 30 grams rye flour, 70 grams all-purpose flour, and 100 grams water. Mix thoroughly, cover, and let rest for 12 hours during the day. In the evening (after about 12 hours), discard the jar contents down to 20g, add the same ratio of ingredients as earlier in the day, and let rest 12 hours (overnight).
At this point, you should see the height of your starter rise and fall in the jar predictably each day. This periodic behavior is a good indicator that it is strong enough for you to use for your first loaf of bread. If your starter is still struggling to show activity, continue the refreshment schedule with the same ratio of ingredients for another day–or even several more days–until things pick up. The process of stabilization can sometimes take longer, depending on the flour used and the environment (especially if it’s cool in your kitchen). Be patient and stick to the schedule!