If you’ve ever had a hard time finding baker’s yeast packets at your local grocery store, you may not realize you have another option. Sourdough starter!
I’ve talked to a lot of people who have said, “Oh, we don’t like sourdough bread.” But a sourdough starter does not automatically mean sour bread. So many factors go into the end flavor, but the sourdough starter itself is nothing more than homegrown yeast. Many home bakers also call sourdough starter “natural yeast”. This is the way our grandparents created a leavening agent for their breads before we had convenient packets of baker’s yeast. And it’s SO easy, inexpensive, and handy.
I’d love to help you get started with natural yeast. I’m definitely not an expert – there are so many out there! And there are as many ways to create a starter as there are bakers. The way I have developed works for me, but be sure to check out as many resources as you can. You may find another method that works better for you or for different purposes.
That said, once your sourdough starter is happy, you literally almost cannot kill it. I’ve left mine for days, weeks even, without any attention. After a few days of TLC, we’re back to bubbly again. You can expect your starter to be up and ready to go in about 10 – 14 days. Maybe a couple less, maybe a couple more. It’s definitely not an exact science. And, actually, the more you let go of the rules and experiment, the more you’ll learn and you’re sure to come up with something that is uniquely yours.
So let’s start with the basics. Like, super basics. What do you need to make a sourdough starter? Gather the following supplies and meet me back here tomorrow.
- 2 pints jars with lids
- 1 quart jar with lid
- All purpose flour
- Water (purified is best, but you can also just let tap water rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes)
- Measuring spoons (1 TBSP, to be specific)
- Something to stir with
Don’t worry about getting the perfect jars, etc. Just use what you have on hand. If you don’t have specific lids for your jars, make do with a piece of plastic wrap until you can get lids. Organic all-purpose flour is awesome, but don’t feel like you can’t start with what you have. Keep it simple. I find the simpler something is, the more likely I am to keep doing it.
See you tomorrow!