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Sourdough Starter

SOURDOUGH STARTER by Simply No Knead Bread Making

Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened (risen) bread. Making bread the traditional sour dough way invites a collection of wild yeasts and natural bacteria to leaven and flavour your bread. There are many ways to generate a successful starter.

Here is a method for creating a Sourdough Starter.

Sourdough Starter Kit: 1 x 1.5 L Clip Glass Jar;

500gm 100% Rye Flour
We use Simply No Knead 100% Rye flour for the initial starter (this can be changed once the starter is stronger to our Untreated Bread Flour or combination of both). Water – filtered, boiled or water from your tap left out in the open will work.

  • Day 1 – Clean the jar and rinse out with boiling water. No need to dry the inside of it. Put 50g flour and 50g of warm water in the jar and mix well. Cover and leave overnight.
    Day 2 – There won’t be much change in your starter today. Just feed the starter with the same 50g flour and 50g warm water, mix, cover and leave overnight.
  • Day 3 – You might start to see bubbles on top. It may also start to have the smell of citrus. Feed it 50g flour and 50g warm water, mix, cover and leave overnight.
  • Day 4 – The starter should have a few definite bubbles visible below the surface, and may have a slightly fruity odour. Feed with 70 g Untreated bread flour 30g rye flour and 100g warm water, mix, cover and leave overnight.
  • Day 5 – Refreshing your starter. You probably have too much starter now. Unfortunately it is not ready for you to make bread. Remove 90% of the mixture. Pour it onto the compost, and the starter still stuck to the side provides the seed for the next sequence of feeding. Feed with 70 g Untreated bread flour 30g rye flour and 100g warm water, mix, cover and leave overnight.
  • Day 6 – The starter will have increased in volume and has layer of foam and bubbles. Discard most of the starter. Feed with 70 g Untreated bread flour 30g rye flour and 100g warm water, mix, cover and leave overnight.
  • Day 7 – Here it is basically up to you. You need to keep the 50/50 flour to water mix going for the life of the starter. It will strengthen to perfection over the next month. The next time you have too much starter, it will likely be OK to make a loaf from. We would suggest that you try this time (this one won’t really be great, but just get a feel for it). Your starter is active when after 6-12 hours it has increased(doubled) in volume, has a thick layer of froth on the top, and a rich network of bubbles below the surface.

Some general principles on sourdough starters:

  • Make sure that your containers are clean before you start. Rinse with hot water.
  • Use a glass jar – you can see what you are doing.
  • Use filtered, boiled or at least water that has been left standing overnight – tap water or bottled water may contain traces of elements like chlorine that will hinder the starter’s performance.
  • Use quality bread flour not bread mixes to feed your starter. You can combine flours – Untreated White Bread Flour with Rye Flour; Wholemeal, Spelt , Organic flours.
  • The aim of refreshing your starter is to add extra food for the organisms that you are culturing. You will need to use or throw some starter out to make room for this-otherwise you will rapidly accumulate litres of it.
  • Your starter is like a pet. It will respond best to a bit of regular attention and food. However, they are quite resilient and can survive a fair bit of neglect(when you go away on holidays!)
  • You can keep it out on a bench top if you are baking regularly especially in cooler climates. During hot weather you can place it in your fridge to help control its activity. Do take it out and feed it the day before you plan to use it.
  • Your culture will happily live in the fridge (not freezer) for many months as long as you look after it.(Feed it flour and water at least once a week). Refresh when you wish to start using it again. It may take a couple of refreshes before baking with it.
  • Reactivate a refrigerated culture by feeding it with flour and warm water. Stir well, place in a warm spot for between 6-12 hours or until the foam reappears.
  • If your starter smells unpleasant-like rotten eggs or vomit, it may have become contaminated with less friendly bacteria. This can happen if left out too long in say warm weather. Don’t give up-it is often possible to resuscitate your starter.
  • Wash a clean jar, and add a teaspoon or so of the starter from your smelly batch. Add 100g water to 100g flour, stir and leave for 12 hours, and then place in the fridge.
  • You do not have to measure the water and flour exactly when you are making a starter. Mix a bit of water with enough flour to make a sticky paste.
  • There are lots of different ways to create a starter – it’s not that hard-all of which can work.
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