A sourdough starter is a simple way of making bread without using shop bought yeast, instead you rely on naturally occurring yeasts.
This is great for making Rye bread and Sourdough. It gives an amazing flavour to the bread.
You can use any flour to make your starter, I have found Rye flour to be the most reliable. I made several failed starters that have gone bad, and even one that went moldy after I left it alone for several days, forgotten, whilst I took my wife to hospital to give birth to our daughter.
One way to get a starter is to acquire a bit from somebody you know that already has some and just maintain the feeding cycle.
Its easy to make your own starter, using naturally occurring yeast from the air in your Kitchen.
You will need a large container, I use a container designed for holding a bag of flour, but have also used large kilner jars.
You will also need flour and warm water. I don’t tend to measure what I add but you are looking for a thick batter, so around 50/50 works well. Give it a good whisk, cover loosely and set it aside – Don’t forget it is going to be fermenting so don’t clip your lid on!
After a couple of days you should see signs of fermentation, tiny bubbles, like the image at the top of the page. If you smell it, it should be taking on a sharp, almost vinegary smell. Add some more flour and water, whisk and set it aside again.
Remember that your starter is now a living thing, so, like you, it needs feeding and watering regularly, I do it every couple of days. You can remove some of your starter, as you wish, which makes a great opportunity to bake some bread with it!
Wait a week to 10 days for the starter to establish properly before trying to bake with it.
If you are unable to feed your starter for a period of time, stick it in the fridge. It should keep without being fed for about a week.