It has been about a year since I started my sourdough starter. I am nowhere near an expert, but I thought sharing my thoughts on what I have learned in the last year would be a way to jot down my ideas and share thoughts with anyone interested. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, after you have read what I had to say. I am always looking for pointers or further my knowledge on my bread making.
When I started reading about 'how to get started', It did take me a few tries to get it right. I initially started with an All Purpose flour as my base but I had a tough time activating the natural yeasts. After failing a couple of times, I did more research. In reading up on what other bakers have done, I tried with Whole Wheat flour. And this is where I noticed the starter really starting to activate! I was extremely excited. (See below, I have a quick recipe for how I started)
Once I got the results I wanted with the starter, about a month or so, I went and started experimenting with recipes. When I start experimenting, I research MANY recipes and see what other bakers are doing. From there, I take what I learned and put it all into practice. I kinda work the ratios based on popular opinion and work through my failures. It is tedious but in the end, I have a good solid recipe. I am ALWAYS changing and updating them, especially with my sourdough.
In the last year with this starter, I do have a few pointers for anyone interested in what I have to say Lol....
First off, I was feeding my starter every day for about eight months. There were times I forgot and went two days. But then in April of this year, we went away for a few days and I completely forgot to put my starter in the fridge. (Placing the starter in the fridge lets you halt the fermenting process). So when I came back from vacation, I had a jar of muck that did not look good. I went ahead and started right back where I ended and fed it every day. It did take a week or two before the starter was back to itself. But, once it got back to its beautiful bubbly-self, I decided that feeding it every day is crazy. I went ahead and did some MORE research on refrigerating the starter, and realized that I could just feed it every week. The amount of flour and money I save is pretty significant, especially with the rising cost of flour. And if there is a week I want to bake up a fresh batch, I go ahead and take it out. I do feed it for two days before using the batch, even though I have read you can start using the discard right out of the fridge.
Secondly, I have found using bread flour when baking up my bread works the best. I haven't really read up about it, but I figured it was because of its high protein content. I don't use bread flour as much as I should, but in order to bake up the best sourdough, it is definitely the best choice.
Lastely, I had a really hard time baking a good loaf when the humidity was really high. I was working in my house that had air conditioning, but the humidity really affected the dough and rising processes. So when you want a good quality sourdough, I suggest waiting for a less humid day.
When it comes to my starter, I can say I was pretty hesitant in the beginning. But after some research and experimenting myself, I realized how easy it really was. The most difficult part of the process is really finding the best recipe for that perfect Loaf.
I am always looking for pointers and ideas, so if you read this and have anything you'd like to pass along, please don't hesitate to contact me!
115g whole wheat flour
115g of water
Clean mason jar
1. Start with the whole wheat flour and room temperature water.
2. Wait about 24 hours, take out a clean jar and measure out another 115g of the water and flour.
3. After the third day, there should be some bubbling and activating of the natural yeasts.
4. From here on out, feed every twelve hours.
Note: based on what I wrote in my blog, you can feed every day, every two days, or even every week. Depending on how often you want to make a loaf of bread.