|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 1 bowl (serves 15)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 13g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Homemade sourdough bread begins with a sourdough starter. Bakers are known to covet a healthy starter and care for it as if it were a treasured family heirloom. If you haven't made a sourdough starter before, this easy recipe is a good place to begin.
A starter is a homemade yeast for bread. With regular yeast bread, you can use a store-bought packet of active dry yeast. Sourdough breads, on the other hand, get their flavor from wild yeast that is naturally found in your kitchen. Capturing a good yeast from the environment alone can sometimes be tricky, so this recipe gets help from a bit of store-bought yeast to kick-start the process.
Once the starter has had a chance to bubble up and grow more yeast, you can use it in sourdough bread recipes. A sourdough starter can be kept alive for months, or even years, with proper care. Remember, yeast is a living organism, and this starter certainly has a life of its own.
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1 (7-gram) package)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
Gather the ingredients.
In a ceramic bowl, add the warm water and yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon until the yeast is dissolved.
Stir in the flour and mix until smooth.
Pour the starter into a plastic container that is at least four times larger than the liquid amount of the starter (such as a 1/2-gallon ice cream container). This will allow room for the starter to expand.
Cover the container with a cloth napkin and hold in place with a rubber band.
Set the starter in a warm spot for five days, stirring once a day.
Refrigerate (or freeze) and use it as needed. At least once a week, feed your starter with equal amounts of water and flour to keep it alive. The recommended amount to feed your starter is 1 cup (110 grams) of flour and 1/2 cup (110 grams) of water. First, remove 1 cup of starter into a new bowl (this is the starter you're going to replenish). You can use the remaining starter for a bread recipe, discard it, or make something super delicious like a sourdough scallion pancake. Then feed the starter in the clean bowl with the 1 cup (110 grams) of flour and 1/2 cup (110 grams) of water.
Keep Your Sourdough Starter Alive
While you can certainly experiment with different starters, the key to any of them is to keep them alive and give them time. Feeding your starter is very easy. There are three basic things that you need to remember: The starter needs to be replenished after using, refrigerating a starter requires less attention, and daily feeding is required when stored at room temp.
When you use your starter to bake a loaf of bread, it needs to be replenished. To feed your culture, simply add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water to the container and allow it to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before returning to the refrigerator.
Many bakers choose to refrigerate their starter because it slows down the culture's growth. It also means that you only need to feed it once a week. However, if you don't have room in the fridge for your culture, you can store it at room temperature. Keep it away from extreme heat and humidity, and make sure you feed it once a day.
- Don't forget to feed your starter. If you don't feed your culture on a regular basis, it can die. Often, this can take a few weeks, but yeast is a fragile organism and you may have far less leeway under certain conditions. Make a habit of feeding it, working this simple chore into your daily or weekly routine.
- It's also important that you regularly use your starter to make bread. Just letting it sit and feeding it does no good for the culture or you. The culture will be healthier if used, and you get to enjoy fresh sourdough bread.
- If you don't have time to bake some sourdough bread, you can put the starter into hibernation and freeze or refrigerate it until you need it.
Additional Sourdough Starters
The starter is the most important element in making great sourdough bread. Many bakers seek out and exchange starters with others throughout the world, and some starters have been kept alive for an extraordinary amount of time.
Sourdough starters take on the characteristics of their environment. The air in your kitchen is completely different than that of your neighbor, so your sourdough bread will have a unique taste. Each microenvironment plays a big role in the wild yeasts that develop and the subtle flavors of the final bread.