We are really lucky to have a bakery minutes from where we live. Elephant Bakehouse produces a variety of different sourdough breads that taste amazing and last about 20 minutes in our house. It always leaves me thinking about how much different sourdough tastes to cultured yeast breads and makes me want to finally try making my own sourdough starter.
A quick Google and some extensive reading later, I discovered the most important factor in a good sourdough is time. Time for the wild yeast to activate in the starter and, when making the bread, time for the dough to prove. Essentially the starter is made from equal parts flour and water and is fed daily for about 5 days until you can see the mixture bubbling on the surface, then it can be kept sealed in the fridge and fed once a week to keep it happy. When it’s fed each week, you can take some mixture to use in your bakes. Having now been using my starter for a few weeks, it’s become somewhat of a nice routine to keep it fed and bake regularly.
- Wholemeal Strong Bread Flour
- White Strong Bread Flour
- Bottled Water (I used tap water, but I’m told that bottled can produce better results)
- Large Sealable Jar or Lunch Box
- Day One: Weigh out 4oz each of the wholemeal flour and water, and then mix well in the jar or lunchbox. Leave for 24 hours in a warm place with the lid slightly ajar
- Day Two: Weigh out the same amount each of plain flour and water and mix in with the starter. Leave for 24 hours in a warm place with the lid slightly ajar
- Day Three: Repeat as day two
- Day Four: Repeat as day three – you may notice bubbling on the surface and a slightly sour smell
- Day Five: Your starter should now be almost foamy on the surface – if it isn’t, repeat as day four for a few more days until you can see the foam
- Day Six and Onwards: Providing your starter is bubbling away, you can start to use it. If you won’t be using it everyday, keep it sealed in the fridge and remove around a quarter once a week (Either use in a recipe or discard) and replace with 4oz each of flour and water, mixing well
When ready it should look something like the below