How to create a sourdough starter
Creating your sourdough starter is a very satisfying project!
To review all the steps in details, check Chef Valentine’s Instagram highlights here. You’ll be able to follow the process with pictures and videos along!
The steps are as follow:
Day 1: in a container (4 cups large, plastic or glass), mix 25 gr of warm water (filtered water preferable) and 25 gr of flour (the better quality your flour, the better chance of success; whole wheat, organic… are preferred). Cover the container with a cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, or plastic wrap with a few little holes. Place in a warm spot (20 to 25 C). An oven with just the light turned on is a great spot if your house is cold. That’s it, wait 24 hours.
Day 2: you might have tiny bubbles yet, or not. That’s ok. Regardless, add to the container, another 25 gr of warm water and 25 gr of flour. Mix, cover, wait another 24 hours.
Day 3: now you should see a little froth of bubbles in your starter. If you don’t yet, no worries, keep going. The smell might be off putting, but that’s a good sign. Add to the container, another 25 gr of warm water and 25 gr of flour. Mix, cover, wait another 24 hours.
Day 4: if you had the funky smell yesterday, now it should smell better, like a nice, sweet lacto fermentation. Good sign! Add to the container, another 25 gr of warm water and 25 gr of flour. Mix, cover, wait another 24 hours.
Day 5: If nothing has happened yet by day 5, forget about it. Throw everything away and start over again, you haven’t catch any yeast…
Otherwise, your starter should be growing in size and bubbling nicely. It’s time to scale it down and feed it a better ratio; discard it all but 25 gr. Feed this 25 gr of starter with 25 gr of warm water and 25 gr of flour. Mix, cover, wait another 24 hours.
Day 6: Your starter should have doubled in size at least, and bubble a lot. That means you got yourself a healthy starter! It’s now time to feed it it’s daily ratio. I like to feed my starter a ratio of 1-2-2. That means, for 20 gr of starter (1 ratio), I mix in 40 gr of warm water (2 ratios) and 40 gr of flour (2 ratios). You can do the same with more or less.
Keep doing this for a few more days before attempting to make a recipe. You want to make sure your new starter is strong and healthy!
If you want your starter to be always ready for a recipe, feed it daily it’s 1-2-2 ratio and leave at room temperature, covered with a lid.
If you want to take a break from feeding daily, place your starter in the fridge, and feed it as above, once a week. Take it out of the fridge a couple days before you want to make a recipe.
Watch our video on how to care for your starter and how to get ready for a recipe:
Below you can see a timelapse of how a healthy starter behaves in the 14 hours or so after feeding:
Have fun creating your starter!
If you want to learn more about sourdough, join one of our classes! See the calendar here.