Just do it already!
You knew it had to happen. Every homesteader has a sourdough starter (well… maybe). And yes, I was super late to the game. This is for anyone else out there who has been too scared to do it! Honestly, starting is the hardest part. It’s water and flour. If it fails, you’re not really out a lot of money, time, or effort.
I want to mention that I am no sourdough expert. I am simply here to encourage you to start. If you are looking for the experts, check out Farmhouse on Boone or Little Spoon Farm for next level recipes.
Sourdough Starter Ingredients
Whole Wheat, or Not!
I bought whole wheat flour just for this, only to find out I didn’t really need to! It just helps ferment a little faster. If you only have all purpose flour on hand, use that! I REPEAT, USE WHAT YOU HAVE ON HAND! Just get her started!
As I have moved further into my homesteading journey, I now grind my own grain to make flour, but I STILL use my store-bought all purpose flour for the starter. It is easier and cheaper.
Sourdough Starter Recipe
First Failed Attempt
Don’t worry! I truly thought I had to throw this away, but I could have totally saved it! You only want to throw your starter away if it has some SERIOUS mold.
During my first ever attempt, I failed to feed the starter everyday, and I thought she died. She was kina of funky looking and smelling. Yes, I am calling the sourdough starter a “her.” This is a common practice among those sourdough types and a lot even name theirs! Hmm… I am thinking Gretchen, or Karen. She does need a lot of attention. Let me know you name ideas in the comments.
I Gave Her Another Shot
I learned a few tips here from The Clever Carrot. I learned that the liquid on top is the Hooch, and when that appears it means your starter needs to be fed. Mine seemed to have a lot of hooch by Day 4, so I decided to use a little less water. If yours is too watery, use more flour. If yours is too thick, use more water. It will depend on your environment.
The container you make it in will get super gross, so I decided to move mine into one of my favorite Weck Jars.
I did learn one lesson the hard way. Do not store your sourdough starter with a tight lid. Mine exploded. If you want to ramp up the bubbles quick, you can put a tight lid on for a few hours, but just keep an eye on it.
Now I opt for a large half-gallon mason jar with just fabric covering the top to let it breath. When I am refreshing my jar, I sometimes store it in a large glass bowl with the top on loosely.
Why Use a Sourdough Starter?
Besides learned to make things from scratch, one of the main reasons to use a sourdough starter is because it is easier to digest than using yeast from a packet. The starter is able to use yeast from the environment to break down the grains in a way that other yeast can’t. It does the work for you, since your body isn’t very good at this. Because it can break down the grains more, we can digest even more nutrients from them! It sounds complicated, but trust me… it’s just better!
Seriously, just jump on the sourdough bandwagon and get this thing started already! It takes 2 minutes and you’ll feel so productive you won’t have to do anything else for the rest of the day.
Looking for Recipes for your Sourdough Starter?
Check out these posts for sourdough inspiration!
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- Glass Jar or Bowl (Don't use metal as it can mess with the fermentation)
- 1 Bag Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- Warm filtered water
Day 1: Mix 1/2 cup whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup water in glass bowl with a wood spoon
Day 2: Leave it alone!
Day 3: Remove and Discard half of the starter. Add 1/2 cup All Purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. Mix with wood spoon.
Day 4-7: Repeat process from Day 3 (aka feed the starter). Repeat until it looks like thick pancake batter with bubbles.
Once your starter is born, feed everyday if left out on the counter, or feed once a week if you put it in the fridge. Before you use it, bring it back to room temperature and feed it first.