Before yeast was commercially available, people made sourdough bread by capturing wild yeasts from the air in a process called fermentation. Fermentation is gaining a lot of attention lately because of all the health benefits including making food more easily digestible, the presence of good bacteria (think yogurt), etc.
FUN FACT: Alaskan Prospectors used to carry sourdough starter with them because they didn’t know when they would be able to buy supplies.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at fermentation and I decided that sourdough starter would be a good place to start. This recipe uses store-bought yeast, but you can find recipes using only flour and water if you are feeling adventurous.
How to Make Sourdough Starter:
Mix flour and yeast, then gradually beat in water until smooth. (It will expand so you may want to place a plate underneath just in case it bubbles over.)
Cover and store in warm, dry place for 4 days or until it smells sour.
Store in plastic airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
TO KEEP STARTER: Once per week beat in 1 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp warm water until smooth. Let stand overnight or until bubbly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
TO REPLENISH STARTER: For each 1 1/3 cups of starter used, add 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1 1/3 cup warm water back in beating until smooth. Cover and let stand overnight or until bubbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I’ve since made a few loaves of sourdough bread using this recipe which were AMAZING. They didn’t taste as sour as I thought they would though.
Making sourdough starter is really easy and would make a great science experiment for kids. Also, you can share your starter with a friend if you want, just remember to “feed” it every time you use it. I wonder how long I can keep mine alive…
Have you ever made sourdough starter or any other fermented food? If not, do you think you would ever try making your own sourdough starter? I’d love to know!
How to Make Sourdough Starter
- Mason Jar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose four
- 2 1/4 tsp or one package regular or quick active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water should be very warm, but not hot to the touch
- 2 qt or larger non-metallic container I used a glass jar
- cheesecloth or other breathable material to cover
- Mix flour and yeast, then gradually beat in water until smooth. (It will expand so you may want to place a plate underneath just in case it bubbles over.)
- Cover and store in warm, dry place for 4 days or until it smells sour.
- Store in plastic airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.