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Make your own sourdough starter and you’ll have a friend for life. Once born, a sourdough starter can live for over 100 years, so prepare for a lifetime of baking tangy, long lasting delicious sourdough loaves. All you need to get started is flour, water and patience. In a little over a week you’ll have a living, breathing friend that bakes the best bread ever.
What is a sourdough starter?
A sourdough starter is a mix of flour, water and a host of yeasts and bacteria (lactobacilli) unleash the process of lactic fermentation and act as a rising agent.
How to start the starter?
Three ingredients are needed to make a sourdough starter paste: water, flour and the mix of yeasts and bacteria. We use 100 millilitres of water for every 200 grams of flour. Water is best if bottled, with very little chlorine, but otherwise we can leave it out in a bowl overnight for the chlorine to evaporate. Organic flour is preferred, either 100% or partially wholewheat. This is because the third ingredient, the yeasts, is actually found in the flour itself, so the more natural it is, the more flavourful yeasts it will contain.
How long does it take?
The starter needs to rest for at least 48 hours at temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees centigrade. Within a week you should be able to start baking with it.
Sourdough starter recipe
How to make the bread more sour
Sourdough mother dough produces gas bubbles and lactic acids which give sourdough its characteristic slightly sour taste and texture.
In order to increase tangy sourness, you need to increase the acid produced in the baking process.
How to make sourdough bread
Here’s a great introduction to making sourdough bead.
How to feed sourdough
To keep your sourdough starter healthy you’ll need to feed it regularly with fresh flour and water.
If you’re bake regularly, you might keep the starter on the countertop and feed it twice a day so it’s ready to use whenever you need it.
If you bake less regularly, keep your starter in the refrigerator, where you’ll need to feed it just once a week.
What to do with leftover bread?
Italian chef Massimo Bottura teaches us how to stop wasting leftover bread by turning it into delicious recipes.
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