Sourdough Starter

As you all know, I’m raising a sourdough starter, or – as someone said on Facebook – a Tomogotchi for middle aged women. Her name is Lilith, aka Lil’ Yeasty.

If you are interested in making your own, there are many many sites that will advise you. But, if you are here and I am here, well, here you go.

What you’ll need:

Rye or whole wheat flour
All purpose flour
Non-chlorinated water
2-3 large-mouthed glass containers (.75 liter or larger – I like the ones by Weck)
Something to stir with that is not metal
A kitchen scale
A rubber band or dry erase marker

What you’ll do:

Day 1, Morning – Mix 100g of rye flour (or wheat flour – I’m going to use rye in these instructions as that is my favorite, but you can use either one) and 125g of room-temp or slightly warmer water in your jar. Just stir until the flour is combined. Let it rest somewhere warm. On top of the fridge works if you have that. I don’t. My habit is to run the microwave empty for 3 minutes, then put the jar inside on top of a potholder. Then I do that again a couple of times during the day. *You may actually find it bubbles over this day. I know! Weird, right? If you want you can put a pie plate under to catch that!

Day 2, Morning – Take a clean jar. Add 75g of the fermenting starter mix you made on day 1 to the jar (this will be much easier if your scale with tare, because you can then put an empty jar on, tare to 0 and then add your mix). Add 50g of rye flour, 50g of all-purpose flour, and 115g of water and mix. Discard the leftover from day 1 and wash that jar.

Day 3, Morning – Take your clean jar, tare, and add 75g of the starter mix, 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover from day 2 and wash that jar.

Day 4, Morning – Take your clean jar, tare, and add 75g of the starter mix, 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover from day 3 and wash that jar.

Day 4, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 50g of rye, 50g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Discard the leftover or you can start saving it in the fridge at this point for nice things like griddle cakes!

Day 5, Morning (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge!

Day 5, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge. You can swap out to a clean jar whenever you feel like it.

Day 6, Morning (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge or make some crackers!

Day 6, Evening (about 12 hours later) – Take your jar of starter and take some out until you have 75g of the starter mix in the jar. Add 25g of rye, 75g of all-purpose, and 115g of water and mix. Mark the level with your rubber band or marker. Add the discard to your jar in the fridge.

At this point, you might be seeing your starter double in volume in between feedings. Yay! It’s probably strong enough to move on to some recipes that don’t require a lot of rise, but do need some. If not, don’t worry, just keep going. You may want to pare your rye back a bit.

You may also want to reduce the water a bit. This is a 100% starter, because the weight of the water is = to the flour. I typically do 10-15g of rye, 85-90g of all-purpose, and 100g of water. Since many recipes call for a 100% starter or 100% levain, it just makes it easier.

Once your starter is going well, rising and falling predictably, you can refrigerate it when you aren’t actively using it. Feed it once a week and let it sit out for a couple of hours. When you are about ready to bake, take it out and feed it for two days and it should be good to go.

Happy fermenting!







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