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How To Obtain a Sourdough Starter
Making traditional sourdough bread and other baked goods is so easy! No special equipment is required, and only basic ingredients are necessary to get started: flour, water, and a sourdough starter. Obtaining a sourdough starter is not difficult, and there are options to fit everyone’s needs.
Obtain an Established Sourdough Starter
Option #1: Purchase a Sourdough Starter
Purchase an established sourdough starter from us! We carry several varieties of sourdough starter originating in different areas of the world, from Alaska to New Zealand. Each starter requires a specific type of flour for feeding, from white flour to rye to gluten-free brown rice flour. Take a look at our sourdough starter comparison chart to choose a starter that makes sense for you.
Option #2: Obtain a Sourdough Starter from Friends or Family
Ask around. You may be surprised at how many friends or family members keep a sourdough starter, or at least know someone who does. Find a sourdough baker who is happy with his/her well-established starter and can give you some tips on how best to care for it.
The Benefits of Obtaining an Established Starter
Whether you purchase a starter or get one from a friend, there are definite advantages to using an established sourdough starter:
It is more reliable.
It is more stable, active, and resilient.
It can guarantee a more pleasantly flavored bread.
Create a Wild Sourdough Starter
Option #3: Capture Wild Yeast and Bacteria
If you'd rather create your own sourdough starter from wild yeast and bacteria, this method is a little less reliable, but may also produce suprisingly delicious results. Creating a wild starter requires some basic ingredients, equipment, and conditions.
Ingredients and Equipment:
Water as free from contaminants as possible
A warm temperature, 70°-85°F
A non-reactive vessel in which you make and store the starter (glass or plastic)
A non-reactive stirring device
A breathable lid such as a clean towel or coffee filter
A space to ferment with no other cultured foods nearby
Instructions for Making a Sourdough Starter:
Combine ¾ cup flour and ½ cup warm water in a glass or plastic container. Make sure the container can hold about 2 quarts, to avoid overflow.
Stir vigorously to incorporate air; cover with a breathable lid.
Leave in a warm place, 70-85°F, for 12-24 hours. Feeding every 12 hours will increase the rate at which your sourdough starter is multiplying its organisms; feeding every 24 hours will take a bit longer, but may be more sustainable depending on your time commitment.
At the 12 or 24 hour mark you may begin to see some bubbles, indicating that organisms are present. Repeat the feeding with ½ cup warm water and ¾ cup flour.
Stir vigorously, cover, and wait another 12-24 hours.
Repeat feedings every 12-24 hours by removing half of the starter before every feeding and discarding it. Feed with ½ cup warm water and ¾ cup flour.
After about 5-7 days the sourdough starter should have enough yeasts and bacteria to be used for baking.
Have more questions about sourdough? Contact us, we're happy to help!
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