7 Days To Your Best Sour Dough Starter

Recently Kevin and I have taken up the challenge of making our own bread. Bread isn’t something that we use a lot of in our house so it unfortunately usually goes bad. I know I know, bad llama, I shouldn’t be so wasteful, but we are working to fix it and that’s the important part!

So how do you make your best sourdough starter in only 7 days??? Well, the title may be little miss leading. You will be done with the changing tasks that are associated with a sourdough starter, but these food babies are a living thing and they get better with age. So there is kind of a two-part sourdough starter; part 1, this article where you will learn how to safely navigate the first 7 days of feeding and growing your starter. Part 2, will be the daily maintenance and using of the sourdough starter. Making yummy bread now who can argue with that?? It just makes the house smell so good!

Here I will have to give credits to a few people if you’re like me and after you have tried this you will forever be determined to hone your skills. Bread making can be very complicated and very different depending on who you choose as a teacher. It is an art and everyone has there own style and vision, some people will add in extra unneeded steps to make the process look and feel fancier. While others will skip steps which will result in you attempting to reach for unobtainium or the perfect loaf. Who I learned from while being overwhelmed by mass amounts of information was The Brothers Green and Joshua Weissman, between these two youtube channels and The Pioneer Women blog posts on how to make a sourdough loaf I was able to piece together a basic understanding of the sourdough starter making and baking process so without further ado, let us continue.

Terms:

Feeding – replenishing the available food for your mature starter to consume or adding fresh water and flour to the mix.

Mature Starter – the flour and water mixture that has been allowed to ferment for 12-24 hours.

Lose fitting lid – It is very important that your food baby is allowed to breathe otherwise your container will eventually blow its top and not in the fashionable tipping of the top hat, I mean full on flour baby explosion, which I might add will contain shards of glass and if you’re like us and the kitchen is the heart of your home, someone could really get hurt. I lid that simply sits on top is perfect.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Equipment:
1 large food-grade glass container with a loose fitting lid. The fermentation process releases gases and you want most of those gases to be able to escape, essentially letting your soon to be food baby breath. I also mentioned a larger container because you do not want your starter to touch the lid of your jar or overflow out of the jar. This can cause the wrong types of bacteria to move in and making your sourdough starter…well…the wrong kind of sour.

1 Mixing tool, because every baking recipe in history calls for some kind of stirring..now I want to try to find one that doesn’t. This can be as simple or fancy as you like, we used a fork.

1 thermometer to ensure you don’t kill your yeast by adding water that is too hot.

1 Kitchen scale, if your going to take on bread making save yourself the guessing and inevitable moment when you’ve woken up in the middle of the night after forgetting to feed the food baby (starter) and then needing to do math at quarter past stupid. There 20$, please just get the scale.

Last and for sure not least is choosing your ingredients that will make up this beautiful food baby that you may well pass down through the generations. You will need a high-quality rye flour. We used one we got from a local health food grocer, but I’m sure it would be similar to almost all stone ground rye flours available. Second is your un-bleached or we used never bleached (no difference) flour. You’re going to want more of the unbleached flour because this is what youll use to maintain your sourdough starter long term. Don’t go crazy though a 5lbs bag is more then enough to get started and determine if sourdough making is for you.

Day 1

Step one we are going to immediately bring out that beautiful kitchen scale and record your starter jar weight. This is just to make things simpler if you don’t feel like zeroing things out all the time. O and also make sure your scale is in grams, I hit the wrong button on our scale once and if Kevin didn’t catch it we may have not been successful.

Ingredients:
100 grams stone ground rye flour
150g water at 85 degrees F

Directions:
Mix thoroughly, you don’t want any dry clumps, making sure that flour is well hydrated is important.
Cover with loose fitting lid and leave it until day 2.

Kevin and I liked to feed the starter around the same time every day. As your going through this process you may notice that your sourdough starts to become very sour this just means that it needs to be fed and it is nothing to worry about it but you can add an extra 25g of flour to the mixture if you are worried about it.

Day 2

Grab your starter off your countertop or other room temperature storage area and now that you have a good yeasty starter base it is now the sad part which almost feels kinda wrong, you’re going to remove and discard all of the starter but the last 70 grams. This process is called a feeding and is where you are offering your mature leftover starter more yummy soggy flour to eat. If that isn’t appetizing I don’t know what is.

Ingredients
70g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
115g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 70g of mature starter in the jar by adding 70g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until day 3.

Day 3

Day 3 is a very simple replica of day two so let’s go round two!…on day three….

Ingredients
70g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
115g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 70g of mature starter in the jar by adding 70g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until day 4.

Day 4

I am sure that we are all on board by now where you add the amounts of flour and water, stir and set aside for 24 hrs, pretty easy baby right?? Doesn’t take up to much time, and that does not change for day number 4 where you will be doing basically the same amounts as the last two days, the only change is we will be dialling back on the water by 15g.

Ingredients
70g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
100g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 70g of mature starter in the jar by adding 70g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until day 5.

Day 5

We are now more than halfway to finishing up your starter and I hope you are starting to have feelings for this little jar of yeast you have now created. Have you caught those feels?? Good because this little food baby will not give you a huge roller coaster of emotions while you’re trying to figure out what it wants, flour and water for this baby.

Ingredients
70g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
100g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 70g of mature starter in the jar by adding 70g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until day 6.

Day 6

Day 6 is an emotional day just as we were about to name the baby and everything we are going to cut the amount of mature starter down to 50 grams and repeat the feeding process.

Ingredients
50g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
100g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 50g of mature starter in the jar by adding 50g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until day 7.

Day 7

This is our last day with this beautiful starter baby until it is no longer a baby, this sludge baby has blossomed into a beautiful adolescent where it will continue to require you to feed it every day. You have now made a new child that has permanently moved into your kitchen, Yay!! But before we tip the graduation cap we are going to slice that mature starter in half and only leave 25g for this special occasion.

Ingredients
25g mature starter
50g stone ground rye flour
50g unbleached flour
100g water at 85 degrees F

Directions
Leave 25g of mature starter in the jar by adding 25g to original jar weight. Add flour and water and mix well. Replace lose fitting lid and leave until the next day.

Congratulations you are now officially the parent of a homemade by you sourdough starter! Going forward the recipe for day 7 will become this starters maintenance diet and you will have a great starter anytime you’d like a piece of homemade homegrown baked bread. Unless you don’t make your own flour, If you do make your own flour this is something I would really like to try and I would love to pick your brain so don’t be afraid to leave a comment!

You may have noticed a few things during this process. For example the rising and falling signs on the sides of your jar, totally normal, this is the yeast consuming the nutrients in the fresh water and flour and also the reason we picked a larger jar then we needed. Something else you may have noticed as I mentioned before is that the dough may smell a little more sour then you think it should if this is something your concerned about simply add 25g more flour during your next feeding and it should solve and concerns.

What do I do if I can’t feed my food baby every day??? If you are going away for a weekend trip you can simply place the sourdough starter in the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process and allow you to skip a feeding. If your planning on leaving for a longer period simply ask the friend you trust to look after your livestock to look after your kitchen baby and hope they don’t ask any strange questions on your way out.

I hope that you are all set with your sourdough starters to continue on with part two of this series on how to bake you’re first ever loaf of sourdough bread. Very exciting stuff!!!

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Alyssa Olson says:

    Do you have a tried & true bread recipe?

    I have TWO healthy starters. I have made pancakes and biscuits and tortillas and waffles, pie crusts and so much. But I cannot. For the life of me. Create a decent bread.

    I want to start with a traditional bread but I would also like to replace my family’s grocery store bread with soft sourdough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so far have made a few loaves and they are getting better and better the more I practice, when I finally get a consistent outcome that I am proud of I will for sure be writing about it! I love the idea of tortillas and pie crust with it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Everything I have made is so good!! I just can’t get the bread down. I made an OK loaf with active dry yeast. But I would prefer not to.

        I just need to keep trying. I will look forward to your recipe.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I was actually excited to see a northern homestead blog when you followed my blog. I LOVE baking bread. I noticed your sourdough doesn’t call for feeding any sugar. This is rather strange to me. Mine always call for a teaspoon of brown sugar for the first few feedings (once it’s mature, every few feedings you add sugar). Most of my bread recipes are Amish thanks to a lovely woman at a farmer’s market who saw me every single weekend until we left Kentucky. She was gracious enough to share a few recipes with me. I am going to try your feeding recipe with one of my starters and see how it turns out. I have three currently going on my countertop and the ingredients look to be exactly the same aside from feeding. I have not figured out exactly where you are yet, but I do home you aren’t currently buried under snow. Have a lovely day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Let me know what you think of it without the sugar! We are in Ontario Canada, lots of ice and snow around here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will do, set up a new starter today without sugar. 🙂 Ontario is definitely MUCH colder than Oklahoma, but from what I hear, it is gorgeous and a majority of people there are EXTREMELY friendly. (Come to think of it, very Canadian I have encountered has been pretty amazing.)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is great! I just started my first starter this week….I’m crossing my fingers! 😂. And yes please do write a good recipe you have!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It was AMAZING. The loaves were eaten so fast, I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture. My hubby even loved it, he isn’t a big fan of sourdough because of how it smells and he slathered each slice with butter and preserves and stuffed himself silly. 😂 Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I will definitely be making it again

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear that!! 😀 happy baking! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy Baking to you too 😁

        Liked by 2 people

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