Sourdough starter is a living and ancestral material that allows making bread. It is different from baker’s yeast, it keeps bread much longer and would be more digestible for the body. We tell you everything you need to make your own natural homemade sourdough.
What is a Sourdough Starter?
Generally speaking, sourdough is a substance that can cause fermentation. But the term is mainly used in baking, where it refers to a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented by the natural ferments in the flour and by bacteria in the air (and not by the yeast supplied by the industrial baker).
This mixture is used to seed and raise the dough of sourdough bread, which is characterized by its density, irregular crumb and more or less acidic taste. There are several ways of preparing it depending on the regions of the world, the cereals used, the methods of growing the leaven, etc.
How long can you keep sourdough starter?
After the initial production of a first sourdough, a part of it is usually kept: this is the “chef” sourdough, which can theoretically be kept indefinitely. In fact, it is enough to feed it (known as “refresh”) regularly with flour and water to keep it alive, without having to wait for a new fermentation (the ferments multiply with each meal).
How to make a sourdough starter?
what you’ll need:
In a large jam jar or hinged jar with the seal removed, carefully mix 50 g of organic rye flour and 50 g of spring water with a wooden spatula. Put the lid on without closing it so that the air can circulate. Place the jar in a temperate place in your kitchen and leave it alone. After about three days, it should begin to bubble, swell slightly, and give off a strong odor. Your sourdough is born: you can give it a little name.
Once your sourdough is born, refresh it for the first time: add 50 g of organic T65 wheat flour and 50 g of spring water. Mix vigorously and put the lid back on as you did on the first day. Put your sourdough back in its place and leave it for another 3 days. Its activity increases.
We then enter into an intensive “feeding” process: the leavened baby will have to be fed twice a day, morning and evening, with an interval of about 12 hours between each meal, to give it strength and make it perfectly usable and efficient.
How to know if the sourdough starter is ready to use?
Your sourdough starter is ready if:
- soft and spongy texture
- bubbles on the surface of the sourdough
- sourdough volume is nearly double in size
Don’t forget to place a rubber band around the base of the jar to measure the growth of the starter if you’re having trouble spotting the signs.
How to store your sourdough starter?
In order to preserve the sourdough, once it has reached maturity, it must be fed or refreshed regularly. There are two methods:
At room temperature:
This method is the most practical if you want to prepare bread or recipes with natural sourdough on a regular basis (at least once a week). The leaven is left in its jar in a temperate corner of the kitchen and fed every morning (it only takes a few minutes):
- With a wooden spoon, stir the sourdough starter.
- Remove the biggest part leaving only the equivalent of 2 tablespoons.
- Add 60 g of flour (T65 bio in general, rye once in a while to make a feast) and 60 g of spring water. Mix vigorously for 30 seconds. Scrape off the edges so that all the leaven is at the bottom of the pot.
- Put the lid on without closing it. Watch your sourdough swell throughout the day.
In the refrigerator:
If you rarely bak, keep 2 tablespoons (about 20 g) of sourdough in a jar of jam, at the bottom of the refrigerator so that it can sleep (it does not need to be fed, a bit like a hibernating animal). When you need it, proceed as follows:
- We take it out of the refrigerator and let it wake up quietly for 2 hours at room temperature.
- We add 60 g of spring water, we mix.
- Add 60 g of organic T65 flour and mix again vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- 8 to 12 hours later, he has regained strength (if he has been in the cooler for a long time, he may need one or two more meals according to the same principle). If you want to use it in the kitchen and it looks a little tired, feed it once or twice more using this method, keeping only 2 tablespoons of leaven each time.