Sourdough Starter

It was the love for good bread that led me to start baking (or at least trying) bread at home. I’m just experimenting with recipes and trying to bake breads that taste just as I can remember when I was a kid.

The quality of bread available in shops has gone down from my point of view. Bread used to fresh for a week, smelt amazing and didn’t go so chewy and tasteless in one day. The process of mass-produced bread is different – there are shortcuts and additives to make the process faster, easier…and probably cheaper. But there is no good bread without investing some time (and love :)).

Proper bread is not made with instant yeast, it is nice and I do bake bread with instant yeast sometimes, but it’s not the same as with a sourdough starter. Now there are two options, you can either get a sourdough starter in some local bakeries…or make your own sourdough starter yourself! And that’s where the fun begins! 🙂

Some people may be put off making their own starter – it looks a bit difficult at first and yeah, it can easily go wrong. But why not try? It’s well worth it! And once you have your sourdough starter, you can keep it in the fridge for a week and then just “wake it up” and bake the next day!

I will share with you a recipe for a rye sourdough starter. You can make a starter with wheat bread flour too, but rye starter is the traditional one in the Czech Republic (where I come from).

RECIPE: RYE SOURDOUGH STARTER

It will take 4 days until you can bake your first bread, so plan ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 225g rye bread flour
  • 225ml water

Method:

DAY 1 – Starting your starter

Mix 75g of flour with 75ml of luke warm water. It should form a smooth, soft, sticky dough. Not too runny, but mashy.

Put the mixture into a big bowl or jar and cover with cling foil. Leave in a warm place (don’t place directly onto a heating) and leave it for 24 hours.

DAY 2 – Feeding your starter

Time to take a look! Mix the starter and taste it. It should be slightly tangy. If so, add 75g of flour and 75ml of luke warm water, mix, cover and leave to rest for another 24 hours. If not, just mix it, cover it again and leave for another 24 hours without adding any flour (the next day it will surely be ready for another feeding).

The starter may start “bubbling” – you may start to see a few little bubbles at this stage. As we continue feeding the starter, we will see more bubbles.

DAY 3 – Let’s feed again!

Is the jar big enough? At this stage, the starter should be alive and it’s “growing”! You may consider using a bigger jar before it gets “wild” and get out of the jar…it can double in volume until tomorrow 🙂 Anyway, mix the starter, tasta and add 75g of flour + 75ml of luke warm water. Mix, cover and leave to rest until tomorrow. Tomorrow is the Big Day!

DAY 4 – The Baking Day is here!

The starter should be ready! It’s tangy, full of bubbles…and ALIVE! Leave it until the stage when it starts shrinking again – that’s a sign that your starter is hungry and the right time to start baking bread! Alternatively, if you would rather bake tomorrow, feed it once more and bake tomorrow!

Now it’s time for a Sourdough Bread recipe! Use as much of the starter as your recipe requires and don’t forget to put a few spoonfuls aside, in a glass jar with a lid. Store closed in the fridge for up to a week.

Cheshire Food Blog

When you want to bake your next bread, just take it out of the fridge, feed 3 times in 6-hour intervals and then it’s ready for baking again!

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