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Make Your Own Sourdough Starter: A Beginner’s Guide

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Today, we’ll teach you how to make a beginner sourdough starter at home. What’s needed? Flour, water and patience. Sourdough starter is essentially a live culture of flour and water. This bubbly, tart starter is what makes sourdough bread rise. If you’re making your starter today, chances are you’ll only get to use it for a loaf of bread about seven days later. Yes, that’s right. This starter needs time to cultivate and to grow!

A tip for most of our readers who live in cities – our water will likely have been treated with chlorine which can inhibit the growth of natural yeasts. Use cooled boiled water for your bread, for best results.

We also recommend using a clear glass container to store the starter – this way you can clearly see its progress.

*Image credit: Roost Books

INGREDIENTS

250g Strong white bread flour

250g Dark rye flour

Warm water (38 degrees Celsius)

METHOD

  • Mix together 100ml warm water with 50g of each of the flours. Cover the container with a wet tea towel and leave in a warm corner of your kitchen for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, the starter should be beginning to grow some small bubbles and will smell slightly beery. If nothing has happened yet, cover the container and leave for another 24 hours.
  • Discard half of the starter, and mix in another 100ml warm water, 50g each of white bread flour and dark rye. Cover with a wet tea towel again and replace in the warm corner for another 24 hours.
  • Repeat the discarding and again add 100ml warm water and 50g of each of the flours, cover with the tea towel and leave to ferment for another 24 hours. The starter should be more and more bubbly each day and the smell will become more sour and tangy.
  • Repeat the process for two more days. By this time your starter should be good and ready to make you some bread!
  • You can keep your starter indefinitely; if you keep it out, it will need feeding with flour and water every day, or you can keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week.
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