How To Make a Sourdough Starter?

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Learn how to create the perfect sourdough starter with this simple guide! Discover tips, tricks, and a sustainable recipe for delicious sourdough bread.

Creating a sourdough starter may be tricky, but you need to try 😉
I figured out two types of sourdough beginners. 
*Spoiler: I experienced both of them.

Some who mix flour and water follow the instructions and enjoy the expected results 🧐. 
And those who spend months figuring out the process: choosing the right temperature/flour/jar/bowl/hands, dealing with water and its pH and finally adjusting their lives to the SD starter’s schedule. 

In the beginning, I tried to create rye and wheat starters. 
With the rye SD, I was in the first team. But with wheat SD, I definitely belong to the second one. 

I spent almost three months trying to make a SD starter. I tested different methods, probably all of them. 
At last, I reached the goal, my Holy Grail, a desired white bread. 

My recipe is a simple guide for starter + time + experience + patience + analyse + intuition.
This formula enables me to create a SD starter with weak flour, no scales and other equipment. 

Here’s what you can bake with this starter:

Sourdough Starter From Scratch With My Tips:

I use natashas_baking guide to create a starter with my tips added. I like this recipe for its simplicity and sustainable result. 

Day 1

Mix: 

  • 50g of filtered water  
  • 50g of whole wheat flour. 
  • Leave it in a warm place, t 25-28°C, for 24h.

Tips:

  1. Use a straight form jar. It’ll help you to monitor the rise-and-fall process of your starter. 
  2. Clean the sides of a jar to see the activity of the flour-water mix. I use a small bowl for mixing the starter.
  3. I prefer to use 50-100g of flour at the beginning. It gives more concentration of bacteria and yeast in the starting phase.
Sourdough starter, Day 1
13h after mixing flour and water
Sourdough starter, Day 1
17h after mixing flour and water
Sourdough starter, Day 1
24h after mixing flour and water, before the first refreshment

Day 2

Mix:

  • 50g of filtered water  
  • 50g of whole wheat flour
  • 50g of ripe starter
  • Leave it in a warm place, t 25-28°C, for 24h.

Tips:

  1. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl. Then wash a jar and dry it with a paper towel to avoid extra water on the surface of your starter. 
  2. Don’t use a washing sponge to clean the jar. The mixture is sticky and smells bad because of pathogenic bacteria. Your sponge quickly becomes smelly too.
  3. For washing a jar, pour warm water and shake it until the sides become clean.  
Sourdough starter, Day 2
24h after the first refreshment
Note: Pay attention to this tricky moment. 
This is the moment of stagnation. The transformation of the microbiom of the starter from pathogenic to lactobacillus.
It may happen from Day 2 to Day 4.
Take your patience and keep the previous conditions (temperature, water, flour).

Day 3

Repeat all the steps of Day 2
50g of filtered water
50g of whole wheat flour
50g of the previous water&flour mix
Left it in a warm place, t 25-28C, for 24h.

sourdough starter
The texture of the starter after the second refreshment.
Sourdough starter, Day 3
10h after the second refreshment
Sourdough starter, Day 3
16h after the second refreshment
sourdough starter
Sourdough starter, Day 3
16h after the second refreshment

Day 4

Repeat all the steps of Day 2, 3
30g of filtered water
30g of whole wheat flour
30g of the previous water&flour mix
Left it in a warm place, t 25-28C, for 24h.

sourdough starter
Sourdough starter, Day 4
8h after the third refreshment
Note: This starter looks pretty good. It rises 3x during 12h and has a lot of bubbles. But it is too young and unstable. 
Ang again, be patient. Follow the instructions and keep the conditions stable.

Day 5

Mix:

30g of filtered water
30g of whole wheat flour
30g of the previous water&flour mix
Leave it in a warm place, t 25-28C, for 12h or 24h.

Tips:

  1. This is a tricky moment.
    Pay attention to the rising level of your starter. If your starter rises and falls 2x or 3x times during 12h and the rest of the time it stays fallen, you can go to a 12h feeding routine. 
  2. If your starter rises a little bit and remains on the same level the rest of the time, repeat Day 2-4 routine. It depends on the level of acidity and the amount of lactic acid bacteria in your starter. I failed a lot in this exact moment in the beginning. But if you nailed this moment, you’d succeed with your SD starter.

Day 6 and Day 7

Mix:

30g of filtered water
30g of flour (15g of whole wheat and 15g of all purpose or bread flour)
30g of the previous water&flour mix
Leave it in a warm place, t 25-28C, for 12h

These are the pictures of ripe and strong starters, which are ready to jump into bread baking routine:

Day 8 And The Following

Feed your starter every 12h (twice a day) with the proportions:

30g of filtered water
30g of flour (15g of whole wheat and 15g of all purpose or bread flour)
15g of the starter

Visit natasha’s_baking page to follow her “Sourdough starter in 7 days” marathon and learn more about the starter’s maintenance.

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