Sourdough Starter: Tips For A Fuss-Free Process At Home
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Baking bread is a fine art with intricacies that could affect the quality and aeration of a loaf. Sourdough bread, in particular, finds itself to be faced with many makers who fail right at the stage where the dough must ferment, either because it was kneaded for too long or the bread turns out to be dense. One way or another, what’s crucial to make a good, crusty loaf of sourdough bread, is to have a well-fermented and bubbly starter, which can aid the process of rising and allowing the air to be released as it bakes in the oven.

In most cases, people prefer to buy or source a sourdough starter from somewhere instead of attempting to make it at home; when it reality, all it needs is a keen eye and a bit of waiting around. The microbial culture in the starter is what gives the bread is distinctive sour flavour and can interestingly enough, be used for other things like pancakes or waffles too. The best analogy to understand what a starter is, is to think of it as a life savings, where it becomes a resource that you foster on a daily basis and care for, like you would for one of your own.

Good sourdough bread relies heavily on the usage of an active starter where the culture rises, peaks and falls like clockwork. The volume of the dough it has been added to must triple or quadruple in volume, making the final baked product seem tall, light to hold and with an open crumb. Having a thick viscosity, along with showing signs of activity (like bubbling) is necessary for you to know that you’re doing the right thing. Baking any loaf of sourdough involves adding at least 20% of the starter while kneading the dough, where the acids from this pre-fermented mixture of flour and water act upon the ingredients. The more mature the starter, the runnier the consistency because the build-up of acids break down the gluten. Here is how you can make your own starter at home.

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  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup lukewarm water


  • Combine the whole wheat flour and water in a large enough glass container to hold the fermented starter. Allow the jar to sit in a warm place for 24 hours.
  • Discard half the mixture on the second day and add the all-purpose flour and lukewarm water to combine. Rest again for another 24 hours.
  • Continue to repeat the process of adding the same amount of all-purpose flour and lukewarm water as before, after discarding half the starter each day, for the next 4-5 days, until you get a bubbly, risen and tangy-smelling mixture that is thick in appearance.
  • Use it to bake bread, pancakes, waffles, etc.