For beginners, here are some starter tips for sourdough

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By BarneyBaker

If you’re like me, you have never made or cared for a sourdough starter. It was not something I wanted to do. Although I was fortunate to have worked in a bakery, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. When I was able to find some time, I decided that it was time for me to learn more about starters. I had been longing for homemade sourdough starter bread. You can buy sourdough with confidence from

Temperature is important

It’s winter and my house is cold. It’s not the ideal environment for a starter. They prefer temperatures above 68 degrees. Warm water is a good option if you don’t have a warm home. Also, be creative with ways to keep the animal warmer. Wrap it in a blanket or towel, and then put it in the oven.

It might take longer than you expected

It seemed like it took forever for my starter. To even appear somewhat active, it took close to two weeks to get twice daily feeds. Multiple times, I nearly gave up saying it was not worth it, and then questioning why it wasn’t working. It didn’t increase or double as it claimed. At that point, I decided to put it in the fridge and see what happened. It wasn’t until it was switched to being fed once per week and kept in the refrigerator that it started to show signs of health. It got better over time. Even if it doesn’t look like your starter worked, it most likely did. Give it time.

Plastic containers should be used whenever possible

Concrete is made from flour and water leftovers. It is difficult to clean so I began using plastic storage containers. The container was then allowed to dry, which causes it crumble and falls off.

Do not overthink it

Use the ingredients that you have. Do not buy specialty flour or bottled water. Use the non-reactive containers that you have. You might think you have killed your starter. But, even though it may seem desolated, starters are resilient.

Mold is a real problem

One morning, I opened the container to find some fuzzy bits around the perimeter. You may panic, but the mold wasn’t a frightening color or in my starter, so I moved my starter to a new container. It is a sign that it is time to replace the storage. It is fine to use as long as the starter itself has not become moldy.

Establish a feeding schedule

After your starter has been established, it is best to keep it in the fridge. However, you should remember to feed it at least once per week. It doesn’t have to be for exactly one week. But, it’s important that you remember about it. It usually takes 4-5 hours to get it awakened after I have given it food. You can find other uses for your discarded starter. You can find many online recipes to make your discard starter work.

How to make a starter sourdough recipe

Levain, or a mother, is a starter of sourdough that’s a living, natural culture of wild yeasts. These yeasts are mostly obtained from the air when you make a starter. The yeast will then multiply and proliferate if you provide a favorable environment.

Sourdough starters also contain bacteria that produce lactic and Acetic acids. These acids give sourdoughs their distinctive tart flavor. If the dough is allowed to proof slowly at cool temperatures, such as in the fridge overnight, these acids will also be present. This is known as retarding the dough.

Day 1: In a container that is not reactive, combine 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup cool, nonchlorinated water. Mix the flour with the water until well combined. Make sure that there are no flour clumps. Then cover the container and let the mixture sit at room temperature (about 70°F) for 24 hours.

Day 2: Throw away half of the starter (about 1/2 cup) and add 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup warm water, if your home is warm. If your house’s temperature is below 60 degrees, you can use lukewarm water. It’s possible to not see any activity for the first 24 hours. That’s okay!

Mix thoroughly, cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hrs.

Day 3: You will probably see some bubbling activity and some growth by this day! Now it’s time to feed your starter. This should be done twice daily, and as evenly as possible.

Each serving should weigh 4 ounces, or a generous 1/2 cup. Place it in a bowl and mix well. Any leftover starter should be thrown out.

To the starter, add 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for 12 hours. Repeat.

Day 4: Take 4 ounces (4 generous cups) and place in a bowl. Stir well. Any leftover starter should be thrown out. Continue with the steps starting on day 3.

Day 5: Repetition the steps of day 4.

The starter should have at most doubled in volume by the end of day 5. The starter should be bubbly and have a strong, tangy smell. Notice: If the starter is not rising well and doesn’t show lots of bubbles after 12 hours, you can continue feeding it every 12 hours until the starter grows again.