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My Adventures with Sourdough


In June 2013, I started my adventures in sourdough. After nearly six years of baking some sort of sourdough bread each week, I can still say that we dearly love it. Here's how my adventure began: 

There is much to learn on the Internet about this old-time tradition of baking, and I did a lot of studying before I began my first batch. When it came time to make my starter, however, I went with a recipe I found on King Arthur Flours, with a couple of changes in the directions. You can also opt to buy your starter from them, but I decided to make mine from scratch.

The starter recipe is very simple:
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour

Pour the water into a 4 quart glass or ceramic container or bowl. Add honey and yeast. Stir in flour gradually. Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth and place it in a warm spot. It is said that a dishcloth vs plastic wrap allows the starter to capture any wild yeast that is in the air, giving it a better flavor. The mixture will begin to bubble and brew almost immediately.

Allow it to set on your counter for 2-3 days, stirring once a day. When the bubbles have subsided and a yeasty sour aroma has developed, it is time to "feed" your starter.

To feed: Remove 1 cup of starter, also called "unfed starter". You may use this to make sourdough pancakes, biscuits, or pretzels. Or you may discard the cup of starter or "share" it with a friend, but it is essential that you get rid of one cup. If you don't you'll end up with enough sourdough starter to feed an army! Add to the remaining starter 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to combine and cover. Feed your starter every 12 hours for the first week to get the best "sour" taste from your mixture.

After the first week, you may then refrigerate the starter in a glass or ceramic container. I chose to purchase a crock from King Arthur Flour to store mine, found HERE. Stir once a week and feed whenever you use the starter. I also named my starter "Bertha". She is a living thing, after all.