Sourdough starter

water and flour for sourdough starter

Bread is flour and water.

I’m always impressed how it is simple and genious at the same time. So I invite you to share this delight with me. But first some words about ingredient quality and equipment.

Flour

Sourdough starter can be both wheat and rye.
I use a whole grain flour in most cases and this gives a good result.
My choice is whole grain flour Luomu Grahamjauho by Pirkka. Such type of flour is rich in useful elements and very tasty.

Water

I live in Finland and we have high quality tap water.
But in my opinion this water is too soft for baking bread. So I use mineral carbonated water for both sourdough starter and baking needs.

Equipment

I strongly recommend to use two types of scale: culinary and jewelry.
Why two? First reason is that scale guarantees accuracy in measurement. Second reason also lies in the plane of accuracy: an ordinary error of culinary scales is just 1 g. It means that it’s impossible to weigh 1 g with the help of scale correctly.

My recipes need to weigh low sourdough weight. For everyday feeding I take just 1 g of it. Why just 1 g? I have been baking sourdough bread since 2018 and during this time have tried several approaches in working with sourdough starter.

One time there was a three-liter jar of sourdough starter in my refrigerator. I fed it every few days and sometimes didn’t know what to do with it. Additionally the starter by itself was not as good as I would have liked. The reason of this fact you will see below.

A little bit later, there was a smaller jar in my kitchen cabinet. I fed this starter once a day and its quality also left much to be desired. By this time I’ve found out that strong and delicious sourdough starter needs ~1-1.5% of old culture for every feeding. Thereunto the part of starter is just 3-4% of the whole bread weight. In practice it means ~10 g of fresh strong sourdough starter for an ordinary loaf.

That’s why now my starter lives in a small yogurt jar: it consists of 80 g fresh and strong starter. I bake with it about 2-3 times a week, so it works best for me. And by the way as I experiment a lot with sourdough starter and in order not to get confused, I give them names.

Sourdough starter

how to improve your pastry: Meet this is Alfred

Equipment

2 small jars (yogurt jar is well)
jewelry scale, error 0.01 g or less (use it to weigh 1 g of sourdough starter)
culinary scale, error 1 g or less (use it to weigh water and flour)

Ingredients for one sourhdough starter feeding

40 g water
40 g whole grain flour

Instruction

  1. Mix well water and flour in a first jar. Leave it in a warm place (kitchen cabinet is good) for 12 hours. At the end of this period the mixture, let’s call it sourdough starter now, will smell like a winery. Have you ever visited a winery?
  2. Take 1 (yes! one gram) g from the first jar (use jewelry scale strongly)



    and put it in a second jar.

    Discard the leftover sourdough starter boldly and wash the first jar. Add 40 g water and 40 g of whole grain flour
    to the second jar. Mix starter well, close and leave it in a warm place for 12 hours.
  3. Repeat second point two times. So it means that your soughdough starter is 3 days old now. Check that your starter has many small bubbles and smell like light wine or fruites.

    sourdough starter and fresh jar
  4. Since that moment feed your sourdough starter every 24 hours by 40 g water and 40 g flour.

    If there is too hot in your kitchen feed the sourdough starter every 18 or even 12 hours.
    Be guided by the state of the starter: it should be viscous. After 6-8 days your starter is ready for your first loaf.
  5. Store the sourdough starter in your kitchen cabinet and feed it daily if you plan to bake frequently. Otherwise, keep the starter in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. For example it works well during a vacancy.

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