I’ve been playing around with sourdough since I started my Breads & Rolls class in January. My mom wasn’t a bread baker so I didn’t start to understand how bread baking works until we studied it in school.
I’m hooked. In love. Amazed. Intrigued.
After a month of watching my starter grow and baking some incredible loaves of bread, I thought you’d like to see it too. There are so many different ways to make a starter and feed it, or keep it going. This is just what I’m doing right now – and it’s by no means the only way. It’s just one of many.
If you’ve never made a sourdough starter before, here are a few things you should know:
- Don’t worry if your gluten-free starter goes completely flat when you stir it – it’ll rise back up. There’s no gluten to hold the gas in.
- Baking with sourdough starters is less predictable than baking with manufactured yeast because you don’t know exactly how much yeast is in the starter.
- The wetter the starter, the more enzyme activity there is. It’s more active due to the larger amount of water.
- You can leave it on the counter and feed it once or twice a day if you bake often.
- If you don’t bake often, it can be refrigerated and feed a few times a week.
- Sourdough starters can also be frozen for up to a year. (But really, what fun is that?)
Think of your starter like a pet – it has to be fed regularly to keep the yeast alive and active.
This starter uses equal parts water and flour by weight. Don’t hate me. You’re going to need a scale.
Why? It’s more exact and, quite frankly, it’s easier. Your bread will be more consistent and the results will be much better. I promise.
A starter should be fed at least 3 – 5 times before the first use. The older it is the better the flavor. Don’t expect a great sourdough flavor after two weeks. Like all good things, it needs to be nurtured over time. Still, even if your starter is young it will add lightness and flavor, both of which most gluten-free bread desperately needs.
Here’s what I did to get started. Have fun. Bread recipes soon to come.
- 110 grams of Amy’s Basic Flour Blend;
- 110 grams of water;
- a pinch of instant dry yeast.
- Combine all ingredients in a large container. (You want it to be big so that your starter has room to grow.) Cover and set at room temperature for 24 hours and feed again – only without the yeast.
- When you feed the starter, stir it well before adding the flour and water mixture making sure to scrape the bottom well. After the first two feedings, you can cut the amount of flour and water by 50%. Repeat for a total of 3 to 5 feedings before refrigerating. Continue to feed daily if left at room temperature or every few days if refrigerated.
- If your starter has been refrigerated, pull it out at least 24 hours before you want to use it. Feed your starter and let it sit at room temperature until use for best results.
- Always replace the amount you use in your baking. For example, if you use 200 grams of your sourdough starter, replace it with 100 grams of water and 100 grams of flour.