When I first heard about sourdough, I was intrigued. Is there really wild yeast just floating around waiting to be captured and cooked with? Yes! Sourdough is really a science experiment on your counter all the time and I really consider my wild yeast colony my little pets. It brings me great joy to see the bubbles forming letting me know they're moving around and active in there! I know....that's not normal. But hey- there's a lot about me that goes against the grain ;)
Sourdough starter is formed through a fermentation process that's super simple and only involves two ingredients. It does take a little while to get a colony of yeast started, but once you've got it established, the maintenance is pretty low key.
One of the reasons I personally enjoy feeding sourdough to my family is the health benefits for your gut. In a lot of not scientific words, the long and slow fermentation process helps to break down some of the harder things for humans to digest in bread, thus making it more tolerable for our stomachs, easing bloating and discomfort. Studies have also shown that sourdough takes longer to digest, which can help to regulate blood sugars and help you to feel fuller longer.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's get that sourdough starter started!
**The best way to get a mature sourdough starter is to get one from a friend who already has one going. But, if you're the pioneer starting out on the sourdough journey in your friend group, then the recipe is pretty easy to make.
All you need is:
To get your sourdough starter started, mix one part flour and 1/2 to the same the amount of water until it's a pancake batter consistency. Starting off with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water may be a good way to begin. Then, cover it with a towel and set it on the counter to start the fermentation process. That's it! Day one down!
On Day 2, discard half of the mixture and start the process all over again by adding one cup of flour and one cup of water. Again, cover with a towel and leave on the counter. Continue doing this process for 5 days.
By Day 3 or Day 4 you should begin to see bubbles forming. That is from the living creatures (your new pets and friends, the yeast!) that are living in the flour and water mixture. Good work!
On Day 5, your starter should be ready to use. Note, however, it does take some time for the sourdough starter to really start to have that distinguished sourdough flavor. The older the starter, the better it is (to me anyway!).
If you plan to use your starter often (like daily), you can leave it out on the counter and continue to "feed" it by giving it the flour and water mixture. You shouldn't have to discard any so long as you're using it. If you're like me and only use it on a weekly basis, then you can store it in the refrigerator. The cold helps to slow down the fermentation process, thus giving you more time between uses. Just make sure it's fed before it goes into the fridge. You may notice when it comes time to use it that there's a clear liquid that has formed on the top of the starter. This just means that the starter is hungry and needs to be fed. Simply pour that liquid off, feed the starter, then use as you would otherwise.
I'd love to hear your own sourdough starter recipes and if you use sourdough in your kitchens. I really personally love the taste, though not everyone in my family does. My *ahem* somewhat finnicky husband is not really a huge fan. Though, he does like my muffins and the sourdough cinnamon rolls I make, so he's also not totally against it either. What do you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,