Have you ever loved the idea of making your own healthy sourdough bread but thought it was too complicated? It’s not, and after you learn how to make your own sourdough starter, you will be making your own healthy delicious sourdough in no time.
For years one of my favorite sandwiches has been a sourdough philly cheese steak. Also for years I had no idea what the sourdough aspect even was, all I knew is that it was darn good. Once learning about fermented or cultured foods, I began to understand food a bit better, and how people of long ago ate. After learning how simple sourdough bread was to make I regretted not starting years before!
Chances are you have some sort of sourdough food item you like as well. How would you like to learn to master that favorite food item?
Why is sourdough better for you
Sourdough, like most cultured foods, is far healthier than the conventional counterpart. Many people have food intolerances that did not exist in days long past. Have you ever wondered why so many people have a gluten intolerance if humans have been eating wheat for eons? Well, the reasons are many, farming practices have changed, chemical drenched crops and baking short cuts have all led to the rise of food intolerances.
Sourdough bread was the norm for such a long time. The process of having a starter which is loaded down with lactobacillus, that is then added to flour and water to create the bread dough. This dough is left to set and rise for a minimum of 7 hours. In that process the bacteria in the starter not only acts as a leavening agent but also transforms the wheat into a much more gut friendly food. The result is an easily digestible food that does not cause the problems that many people face, such as IBS.
Start the starter with… wild yeast
I make a new fresh sourdough starter every year. Just a personal preference. I also know many avid sourdough bakers have been using the same starter for years! Either way works. I like to start my starter outside (if at all possible) as the variety of microbial life is a healthier variety than you find indoors. Baking with wild yeast. It’s simple and like kombucha with a continuous brew, you just keep your starter fed and alive.
What you need to start your sourdough starter
- Quart jar (or any similar glass jar)
- flour (I use organic whole wheat)
- cheesecloth (tea towel, coffee filter, etc.)
- rubber band or string or canning ring
- filtered water
I often like to grind my own wheat into flour, I feel like it’s much healthier. You don’t have to do that it’s not necessary, but you may try it, you may be surprised. Starting your starter is so simple, water and flour. Seriously simple.
Day one you want to mix 1/4 cup of filtered water to 1/3 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Pour it into a glass jar cover it with a piece of cheesecloth and/or a sprouting screen. I only use a piece of cloth (I have never felt like I needed more).
This where you want to move the jar outside. Spring and fall time of the year work best due to mild temperatures. Place your jar in a shady spot out in a garden, flower bed, or similar. I usually put my jar under a big leaf a squash plant or rhubarb, both work wonderfully.
Every day for 5-7 days bring it back in, transfer it to a mixing bowl add 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 of water. Making sure to mix it well then transfer it back to a clean jar cover it with a cheesecloth once again, and return it outside.
You will begin to see bubbles in your starter, that is good that means it coming to life! After a week you can transfer the starter to your fridge, and continue to feed it daily. The more active it becomes the more bubbles you will see. It is now ready to make a delicious loaf of bread.
Alternatively, many people also discard half to two-thirds of the starter in this initial feeding phase. You can also do this just discard part before you feed it again. Doing this is supposed to help speed up the process.
Sourdough Starter Recipe
Sourdough Starter Recipe
- 4-5 C. flour whole wheat or bread flour
- 1 3/4 C. water
- On day one mix 1/4 cup of filtered water to 1/3 cup of flour
- Mix thoroughly. Pour it into a glass jar cover it with a piece of cheesecloth and/or a sprouting screen.
- If the weather is a nice mild temperature move the jar outside into shade among greenery, where nothing can get to it. This will help it to collect wild microbes and make your starter come to life faster. Otherwise, if the weather is not permitting set the jar out on a kitchen counter and let it sit for 24 hours.
- The next day discard half of your starter. Mix another 1/3 cup of flour to 1/4 cup of water together with the remaining sourdough starter and pour it into a clean jar. Cover with a cloth and or screen.
- Set the jar back out into nature or on a kitchen counter. Just remember you don’t want your starter getting hot or cold here (think room temperature).
- Repeat this process for 7 days, or until you see lots of little air bubbles throughout the starter.
- Once you have done this for 7 days or you see lots of air bubbles your starter is ready to use!
- Feed regularly, cover it with a regular lid, and store in the fridge.
Congratulations, now that you know how to make your own sourdough starter, you’re well on your way! With your own sourdough starter on hand you can start making your own homemade artisan breads, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, waffles and so much more.
The health benefits of sourdough are so much more than traditions breads, with the added bonus of easy digestion. Welcome to the world of bread making the way it once was. Sourdough is such a fun and easy way to make all sorts of bread and baked good items ♡♡♡
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.