sour dough starter how to

Sourdough Starter

There's something magical about the aroma of freshly baked sourdough bread, filling the air with its enticing fragrance. Behind this culinary marvel lies a humble yet crucial ingredient – the sourdough starter. If you've ever been intrigued by the idea of crafting your own sourdough bread from scratch, here we go! 

What is a Sourdough Starter?

The sourdough starter is truly the secret ingredient that gives sourdough bread its distinctive taste and character. It's a simple combination of flour and water that captures wild yeast and beneficial bacteria, creating a living organism known as a 'starter culture.' This culture becomes the heart and soul of your sourdough baking journey, influencing the flavor, rise, and texture of the bread. Crafting your own sourdough bread from scratch starts with nurturing and maintaining a healthy sourdough starter.

sourdough starter

Why Bother with a Sourdough Starter?

While the convenience of commercial yeast is undeniable, a sourdough starter adds a layer of complexity and depth to your bread that is unparalleled. The natural fermentation process not only imparts that signature tangy flavor but also offers a myriad of health benefits. Sourdough bread made from a well-maintained starter is easier to digest, boasts increased nutrient availability, and has a lower glycemic index compared to its commercial counterparts.

Now that we've piqued your interest, the journey begins with the creation of your very own sourdough starter. In the upcoming sections, we'll guide you through the step-by-step process.  Follow along with our sourdough journey as we use our new starter in upcoming sourdough recipes! 

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Comments 13

Tracey on

I am excited to learn about this starter. I am going to try for the first time this weekend. Wish me luck!

Yolanda on

I am so excited to see you making sourdough. I’ve always wanted to make it but didn’t know how. Now I can try. Your info is very helpful. Thank you

Joyce on

I started my starter with the hard red spring berries. Would I need to sift the flour?will the bran in the flour make it harder for the bread to get a good lift? If I need to sift how many sifts to get it to the light flour will I need to do?
I’m hoping to get a good sourdough recipe to use the wheat berries that I have bought from Palouse, I have the soft spring berries and the white you mention. Palouse chart stated the Red because of the protein content was best for sourdough. I appreciate your recipes and any suggestions.

Cindy Green on

Will you be posting recipes along the way? I like the clear instructions for getting the starter going.

william racine on

How to you use the starter to make bread

Donna on

Is your. Hard white wheat organic ? Wondering if it has been sprayed with anything

Stephen R Miller on

Wow, your basic framework is correct but so much will just cause frustration.
1) water: if you’re on municipal water it might be treated with chemicals for safety – that will impact your starter. Well water, distilled water, or leave water on counter for the ??? To evaporate out.
2) you’re mixing volume and weight together – always use weight:weight. Sourdough ain’t like tossing some commercial yeast into a bowl of flour – sourdough is easy but best done with consistency (AND, when you’ve caught the sourdough bug learning and using baker’s math is easier with weight and metric)
3) 60 grams water is ¼ cup, not ½ cup. A ½ cup whole grain flour is closer to 60g.
4) don’t pour off the “hootch.” Stir it back in – it won’t hurt a thing and it’s flavor. If something happens and your starter gets fuzzy, smelling bad (heady is good tho), or discolored – that’s when you start over.

Enjoy your sourdough journey. When you catch the bug you’ll be looking at what you can bake beyond just bread: sourdough discard pancakes, crackers, focaccia, ciabatta, cookies. Playing around with hydration percentages opens up a whole other world of (bread) baking – I like a 70-75% hydration dough for basic bread

Betty on

This is so awesome!

evvy on

great idea! I’ve been wanting to learn how to make sourdough starter… looking forward to learning with you.

Cori on

Hi. I think it’s great you’re doing a sourdough beginner series. I’ve made sourdough for a couple of years now, but I am most interested in how I would use your specific varieties of flour, or even how I could mill my own batches of flour using your grains and my vitamix, into my process. Just another idea for your series. Good stuff! Thanks! -Cori

Cori on

Hi. I think it’s great you’re doing a sourdough beginner series. I’ve made sourdough for a couple of years now, but I am most interested in how I would use your specific varieties of flour, or even how I could mill my own batches of flour using your grains and my vitamix, into my process. Just another idea for your series. Good stuff! Thanks! -Cori

David Hess on

Every starter recipe I have seen or used is 100% hydration. It appears you are talking 200%, which I would think is too loose. Are your quantities correct?

Chris b on

This is great… I’m in!

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