Sourdough Starter Culture

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionPDF versionPDF version

I use my own sourdough starter culture for most of my bread recipes.

In short, sourdough starter is a stable symbiotic culture of natural yeasts and lactobacilli. See the Wikipedia page about sourdough for more details.

I started my culture from scratch in 2001. The second attempt worked and it's been going strong since then. Its flavor turned out to be fairly mild and fruity.

Successful starting of a culture depends a lot on the local conditions and the flour. This recipe may work or not. Even if it works, there is no guarantee for stability or good flavor of the culture. You can also buy commercial sourdough starter cultures. I haven't used any of these.

That's what worked for me:

Ingredients

  • all-purpose wheat flour
  • water

Preparation and Maintenance

  1. In a plastic container (I use a big yogurt container) combine equal parts (by weight) of flour and water, ca. 1/4 lb or 150g of each. Mix well.
  2. Cover, put in a warm place for a day or more until the mixture starts to develop bubbles and a light smell of fruit and yeast.
  3. At that point, add same amount of flour and water. Let stand for another day.
  4. On the next day, discard half of the emergent starter and again add the same amount of flour and water.
  5. Repeat for a few more days until the starter has stabilized and is very bubbly.
  6. At that point you can move the starter to the fridge. Feed it every 3-4 weeks by stirring well, discarding half of the starter (you can use it for baking) and adding the same amount of flour and enough water to keep the consistency. Leave out of the fridge for a few hours before putting it back.

Comments

sourdough starter

Really nice recipes and photos. One question about your sourdoughs, though - do you prep/reinvigorate your starter before using it, or do you just take the necessary amount out of your refrigerated starter and proceed to use it as your recipes specify?

thanks,
Lee

Hi Lee, I use 1 tbsp of the

Hi Lee,

I use 1 tbsp of the starter right out of the fridge, combine it with a 100% hydradation dough (equal parts of flour and water, usually 5oz / 140g of flour and the same amount of water) and let it stand overnight. The result is a very active and bubbly pre-dough / starter which I use for baking. But that's part of all my recipes, I do not specifically prep that 1 tbsp of starter from the fridge. I often use part of what is left over from feeding the culture as described above.

Hope this answers your question

Steffen

I see the way you deal with

I see the way you deal with sourdough and I like it. It'll be nice to try your recipe. My family likes home-made bread. But as I try to vary the recipes, I always look for something new. As a rule I watch different programmes connected with cooking but this time I was lucky to find your recipes. But still I have a question: how do the local conditions influence on successful starting of a culture? How can it be connected? Thank you.

Re: sourdough starter

I use the starter from the fridge only to seed new sourdough. I add 1-2 tbsp of refrigerated starter to a mixture of water and flour.

Steffen

Re: I see the way you deal with

Unfortunately, I don't know the impact of local conditions, since I never had the opportunity to compare. For me it just worked. My guess that it depends much more on what yeast spores are in your flour than on what is in the air. Temperature will probably have a big effect, though.

Steffen

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <del>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.