You cannot bake sourdough bread without starter. The starter can be earned in several ways. The most common way is receive it from a friend or make it yourself. I recommend you to make your own sourdough starter, because you can control this process from start to finish and it not require too much effort. Finally something creates itself with your little help. This requires three ingredients: flour, water and time.

At the Beginning was Sourdough Starter…

Day 1

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water
  • 1 litre jar – glass is best, simply so you can see what’s going on inside

Place flour and water in a jar and mix into a smooth batter. The consistency should be rather dense. Make sure you don’t seal the jar though. As the wild yeasts feed, they give off gas as part of the process, and so you need to allow these gases to escape. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in warm place for 24 hours (24C-27C). Rye flour typically has an abundance of natural yeasts present and you’ll get a vigorous starter much more quickly.

Day 2

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water

Starter clearly has increased its volume and has already the first bubbles and you will need to feed it. Add flour and water to the mixture and mix well. Cover with a clean cloth and put the jar back in its warm spot and sit back for another 24 hours.

Day 3

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water

On the third day starter is already working stable. Repeat for the next few days and hopefully the starter will grow stronger. Add flour and water to the mixture and mix well. Cover with a clean cloth and put the jar back in warm place and sit back for another 24 hours.

Day 4

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water

Every day starter works more and more, and its smell and colour is changing. Mix the flour and water together with starter. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in warm place for 24 hours.

Day 5

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water

On the fifth day the bubbles should be visible more, but mostly you see colour change. Starter changed colour from grey to light brown. Mix the flour and water together with starter. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in warm place for 24 hours.

Day 6

  • 50g wholemeal rye flour
  • 50g lukewarm boiled or mineral water

On the sixth day we have a fairly stable starter. After about few hours there are large air bubbles. Its scent is pleasantly sour. You can compare it to the smell of balsamic vinegar. Add flour and water to the mixture and mix well. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in warm place for 24 hours.

Day 7

On the seventh day, you can now easily bake first sourdough bread. This will be not a store-bought bread, but this will be proper bread. Starter is already working well. Once you’ve got your starter, you should keep it in the fridge where it will lay pretty much dormant for quite some time. Once every week take it out and give it a feed, just to keep it ticking over. 12 hrs before bake you have to take it out from the fridge and feed it – prepare sufficient amount of starter, in proportion 1:1 water and flour. Remember – do not consume everything! Part of starter (1-2 tablespoons) throw the jar, turn off and keep it in the fridge. It will be starter for the next sourdough bread.

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