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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter
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    DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

    Go to page 1, 2, 3 ... 10, 11, 12  Next Page >>
    Donna M.
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:07 am
    Forum Host
    WILD YEAST SOURDOUGH STARTER


    Make your own Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter at home with a few simple ingredients and experience the amazing flavor that is far superior to commercial yeast. The yeast is already on the grains you use in the starter. You just need to create the right conditions to wake them up!

    To make your starter, you will need:
    icon_arrow.gif 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (orange juice will also work)
    icon_arrow.gif 1/2 cup whole grain wheat flour or whole grain rye flour
    icon_arrow.gif 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    icon_arrow.gif 2 cups water (bottled or purified)
    icon_arrow.gif 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar (optional)



    The pineapple juice may sound like a strange ingredient, but it is what makes this recipe work so well. The juice creates an acidic environment that prevents bad bacteria from taking over and causing spoilage during the fermentation period.

    When I made my starter, I used a mixture of whole wheat and rye flour. I bought whole wheat and rye berries at the health food store and ground my own flour in a coffee grinder from them because I wanted the yeast on the flour to be really fresh, but this probably isn't really necessary. The pre-ground flour at the health food store is probably quite fresh, also, and you can buy very small quantities in bulk. Flour from the grocery store can also be used but sometimes it isn't as fresh. Since the yeast spores are on the grain, it is important that it be as fresh as possible.

    DAY ONE: Mix 2 Tablespoons whole grain flour and 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice. The mixture should be a thick slurry. If it is too thick, add a bit more juice. Different flours absorb different amounts of liquid so it is normal to have it vary. Stir well, cover and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature. Ideal room temperature would be between 80 and 85 degrees, but don't worry if it is not.




    DAY TWO: Add 2 Tablespoons whole grain flour and 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice. Stir well, cover and let sit another 24 hours at room temperature. You may, or may not start to see small bubbles at this point. The photos below can be clicked to see a larger version for a better view of what it looks like.

    DAY THREE: Add 2 Tablespoons whole grain flour and 2 Tablespoons pineapple juice. Stir well and let sit 24 hours at room temperature. My starter looked like the picture below at the end of Day 3, but yours may develop slower or faster, depending on varying factors.





    DAY FOUR: Stir mixture and measure out 1/4 cup--discard the rest. To the 1/4 cup, stir in 1/4 cup unbleached AP flour and 1/4 cup water. Let sit 24 hours at room temperature.

    REPEAT Day Four until mixture expands to double its size and smells yeasty. Mixture may start to bubble after a couple of days and then go flat and look totally dead for a couple more days. If this happens, at about Day 6 add the 1/4 teaspoon vinegar with your daily feeding. This will lower the PH and wake up the yeast, which will then start to grow.


    These pictures show the growth of the starter when it has been fed and proofed in preparation to make a dough. When you feed your starter it will expand more if you keep it at a thicker consistency, but it will properly leaven your bread no matter what consistency you keep it at.

    Once the yeast starts growing, starter should be fed equal parts of flour and water in a quantity sufficient to make enough starter for your recipe. Store the starter in the refrigerator when you are not using it. It needs to be fed equal parts flour and water once a week to keep it alive.

    Either use or discard at least half of the starter when feeding--THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT to maintian a healthy starter! I most generally save only a couple of tablespoons of old starter and then feed it 1/2 cup each of flour and water. Let it sit out on the counter for about an hour before returning it to the refrigerator. If you forget to feed it for a few weeks, it probably will be fine but may take several feedings to get it back up to par.

    Sourdough can be very confusing at first, but once you begin to understand the process it is really very simple. Once you get your starter up and running I hope you will join me here in the forum on September 22, when I will be doing a live class on baking sourdough bread. In the meantime, I will be available to answer questions in this thread.
    Susie D
    Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:05 am
    Forum Host
    In order to have starter ready for the projects on the 22nd when do I need to make it? Now? A week ahead? I am really looking forward to homemade sourdough. Thank you so much!
    Donna M.
    Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:34 am
    Forum Host
    The sooner the better, Susie! At a bare minimum at least a week ahead. Once you get the yeast to wake up it will take a few more feedings to make it stronger. The flavor of sourdough improves as it ages and you will notice that your bread has more depth of flavor as time goes by.

    I mixed up a new starter to take pics for this demo and at 72 hours (end of 3rd day) it was showing 5 or 6 tiny bubbles on the surface. I fed it and went to bed. I woke up to a multitude of bubbles. I left for work and by the time I came home for dinner it had tripled in volume and fallen. Before I went to bed I gave it another feeding (end of 4th day). I woke up to sourdough starter all over the kitchen counter!! Moral of the story: Use a container with lots of headroom.

    As you all begin your starters, please post here and tell me. I love to know who's doing one and how it is progressing. Good luck with your starters!
    lauralie41
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:34 am
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    Can I use 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour instead of including the rye or whole grain wheat?
    Donna M.
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:44 am
    Forum Host
    You could, however it highly cuts the likelihood of the starter growing yeast. The yeast spores are on the outer layers of the grains (the bran) and in the grinding and sifting process of making AP flour a lot of it is lost. You can buy small quantities of whole grain flour in bulk at almost any health food store. Most larger grocery stores also sell small bags of whole grain flour that generally cost under $2.

    If you have an aversion to WW flour, trust me--you will never know it is in there. I almost always add 1/2 cup of WW flour to all my white flour bread doughs and you can't see or taste it. It really does improve the overall bread.

    I'd hate to see you try to make a starter without the wholegrain flour and have it fail and therefore become discouraged with the whole sourdough adventure.
    Chef Kate
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:25 pm
    Forum Host
    Donna, I've started! One T of Rye, one of whole wheat flour. I needed to add a bit more pineapple juice as it was quite thick.

    A question about containers: I get that it should have lots of room. icon_lol.gif But what sort? Is a glass jar best? Like a Ball or Mason jar? Is plastic okay? Does it make a difference?
    lauralie41
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:45 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Donna M. wrote:
    You could, however it highly cuts the likelihood of the starter growing yeast. The yeast spores are on the outer layers of the grains (the bran) and in the grinding and sifting process of making AP flour a lot of it is lost. You can buy small quantities of whole grain flour in bulk at almost any health food store. Most larger grocery stores also sell small bags of whole grain flour that generally cost under $2.

    If you have an aversion to WW flour, trust me--you will never know it is in there. I almost always add 1/2 cup of WW flour to all my white flour bread doughs and you can't see or taste it. It really does improve the overall bread.

    I'd hate to see you try to make a starter without the wholegrain flour and have it fail and therefore become discouraged with the whole sourdough adventure.


    Thank you Donna, will get the whole wheat flour. WalMart has a lot of different flours and we have a couple nice health food stores so will do this right the first time. icon_smile.gif
    Chef Kate
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:07 pm
    Forum Host
    Another question: when you say "cover" the starter, is that screw the lid on the jar or loosely cover it?
    Donna M.
    Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:06 pm
    Forum Host
    Loosely cover it. The starter will produce gasses that could explode the container if sealed tightly. A plastic container with a snap-on lid is fine because the lid will pop off. A screw-on lid should just be sat on top or just barely screwed on so it is loose. Plastic wrap could also be used. Most of the time I use a recycled empty sour cream or margarine tub. After it gets growing you might need a bigger container such as a Cool Whip bowl or large margarine bowl.

    Plastic or glass containers are fine. Avoid metal and metal lids as they will react with the acids in the sourdough. You can stir with a stainless steel spoon, however. That doesn't hurt anything.
    Rita~
    Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:42 am
    Forum Host
    Oh I just saw this! I can`t wait to make it! The pineapple juice canned or fresh? I think I can toss this together before my next client comes. Be back. I`m going for canned cause that is what I have.
    Donna M.
    Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:33 am
    Forum Host
    Canned juice is just fine, Rita! I have used canned, frozen, and even just the juice I drained off a can of unsweetened pineapple that was canned in juice. Orange juice is also a good substitute if you don't have pineapple.
    Rita~
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:16 pm
    Forum Host
    Donna, I am on day 4 and my mixture looks like the third jar under repeat. It seems to be moving along rather quickly. Should I refrigerate it?When can I start to use it.
    I also didn`t discard the rest I just made an extra jar to pass along to someone!
    Rita~
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:26 pm
    Forum Host
    I just printed up Sourdough Rosemary Bread and saw 2 cups proofed sourdough starter. What is it and how do I get it? I have an idea but need to know for sure.
    Rita~
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:31 pm
    Forum Host
    FYI I did make two starters one using rye and one whole wheat just to see the differences. But what I noticed is that the first one got moldy! Not because of what I used but I think because I shook it in the jar giving the mold a heavenly place to grow along the sides of the jar. The mold-less one I poured in and it rested on the bottom with none touching the sides.
    Just a thought!
    Rita~
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:32 pm
    Forum Host
    OK so Donna any suggestions on what to do with the starter?
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