Updated: Apr 14
So obviously we are getting loads of attention due to our AMAZING Pizza Sourdough Bases in our DIY Pizza Kits. We were keen to create a blog detailing how to start a sourdough and maintain her. We have included pictures of the early stages in our development when we bought Jane Dough (Our Sourdough Starter) to life!!
Unlike some chefs I know not all of us are lucky enough to have a sourdough started passed down to us from a generation of bakers. Luckily making your own sourdough starter is as simple as mixing together flour and water. There is no magical chants, secret ingredients or crazy rituals involved. It just takes Patience (Which I don't have a lot of).
That's right ITS THAT EASY
What is a Sourdough Starter?
A Sourdough starter is a process of extracting wild yeast from your environment (the air and the flour) and culturing it to provide a leavening process in baking. The most efficient way of creating a starter is by mixing flour and water and let it sit for a few days.
After a few days you will start seeing bubbles on the surface indicating that the starter is slowly coming to life.
Once the starter has come to life you need to give her (The Mother) a name!
To keep the starter 'Happy' we feed her everyday. This is a very clean process which involves discarding half of the starter and replacing it with an equal quantity of flour and water. This process is repeated daily for 7-10 more days until it reaches a foamy, frothy & billowy stage. This means the starter is ready to use. A great way to test your starter is by taking a spoon of it and putting it in a bowl of water. If your starter is floating then get your apron out of that dusty cupboard. Its time to get baking!
Does the quality of flour I use for my Sourdough Starter make a difference?
Sourdough starters can be made with all-purpose flour, strong white bread flour, rye flour & virtually any other kind of flour (NO this doesn't include things like chickpea flour & rice flour).Organic and generally more expensive flours are better as they are more nutrient rich and provide a better medium.
If its going to be your first time making Sourdough I strongly advise you to use Strong white bread flour as it is the most reliable. Long story short it behaves the most predictably.
Once I make my Sourdough starter what can I use it in?
Our own starter (Jane Dough) is FULL of flavour. She is strong, Yeasty & so so versatile. She was made in Shepard's bush and she comes with that 'Rugged Charm'.
With that being said your starter will taste a little bit different to mine and in turn a little bit different to Polly in Canada & Keith in the Land Down Under!
I use my starter for EVERYTHING. Pancakes? A spoonful of starter. Muffins? Spoonful of starter. Waffles? Yep that's right. A SPOONFUL OF STARTER!
The sky's the limit really. If you notice your starter isn't really coming to life all that well you can still keep her and use her to flavour your doughs and batters. You will notice the difference it will really bring a different, unique depth of flavour. And trust us it will make you fall in love with baking as you really build a strong connection with your starter and you will begin to trust her more!
She will surely become your secret weapon in the war against boring food. Now you will be able to hold your head up high and call yourself a real foodie (Unlike some influencers we have met on Instagram, Goodlord!).
I've bitten. How do I make my very own Sourdough starter?
First and foremost you need to get a hold of a beautiful glass preserves jar. You need to give your newborn starter the utmost respect she deserves. This will be her new throne.
- 100g of Strong White Bread Flour (Or flour of your choice)
-100g of Tepid water
Steralise your jar by bringing water to the boil in a large pot. Remove the rubber thingy around the neck of the glass jar. Place your preserve jar into the boiling water for a minute. Remove and let it dry naturally. This process will steralise your jar. It will kill and de-nature anything which may negatively influence your starter. You can use a clean kitchen towel to dry the inside well. You can now put the rubber thingy back on. The throne is ready.
Make sure you wash your hands well. This will all be a very clean process. Begin by mixing the flour with the tepid water with a clean spoon inside your squeaky clean jar. Keep mixing until there are no more visible lumps. Leave this semi-uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours.
Top Tip: Leave it in a place in the kitchen which is not close to the stove or the window where contaminates would be at a higher risk of infiltrating!
Mix 50g of the same flour (Always use the same flour) with 50ml of tepid water into yesterdays mixture and leave again at room temperature semi-uncovered for another 24 hours.
You will start seeing some fruits of your labour at this stage. little tiny bubbles of life on the surface of your starter. This should make your day! Go ahead and repeat step 3 you beautiful giver of life.
Your starter should be a lot more active now and hopefully ready for baking. If not just keep feeding her until it gets nice and frothy. Remember when you are feeding her to discard half of they starter at the same time. A good indication is giving it a good sniff. If it smells like yogurt than you're on the right path.
Congratulations you now have your very own Sourdough Starter. Naming her is NOT optional. If you haven't named her yet then giver her a name!
A cool trick to avoid having to feed her everyday is to keep your starter in the fridge. She will go to sleep until you need her. As soon as you think you may need her delicious services remove her from the fridge 12 hours before baking and discard half and feed her again with step 3. When she gets to room temperature she will be alive and kicking. Ready to go!
Try making some pizza dough?
We published an IGTV on how to make your own pizza dough @buildaslice