Catholic Recipe: Sourdough Starter
This recipe will tell you how to make sourdough starter from scratch. It will create the symbiotic relationship between the wild yeast and lactobacilli necessary for the flavor and benefits of sourdough.
Mix in a container with a loose fitting lid or film and set aside in a warm (70-80F ) (20 - 25C) place.
2. After 24 hours throw half of the mix away and feed with the above.
3. Repeat until the mixture shows some bubbles, probably on the third or fourth day.
4. When the mix starts to show some bubbles feed, for best results, with white flour or the flour you intend to bake with if. Don't buy any white just for this.
5. Once the mixture shows a lot of activity after feeding and smells a little like alcohol it's ready to use.
If you don't want to use straight away, put the starter in the fridge one hour after feeding. It's better to leave for an hour after feeding, as this will prevent other moulds and the like from colonising the starter and will allow the starter to grow slowly without exhausting the food supply until you use it.
If you don't use the starter for more than 3 days or so you'll need to 'build it up' by repeated feedings of 1 part starter, 1 part water and 1 part flour. Try to maintain a 50:50 starter, by weight or volume, as this will make it easy to calculate how much flour and water to add to make your bread.
If you want to vary the hydration (water content) of the starter this is fine but remember if you're using a recipe you'll need to adjust the quantities accordingly unless you're going to 'eye ball' the final stage.
Higher hydrations will favour the lactobacilli increasing the sourness. ( that sour-cream smell, flavour), lower hydration of the culture will allow it to go longer without feeding.