I have to laugh at myself for thinking that keeping a sourdough starter on hand would be too complex and time-consuming. It’s neither!
And the photo here illustrates the high rise this type of “starter” can provide for baked goods. Since I’ve had no experience with sourdough in the past, I still used commercial yeast in this loaf, too. In a few days, I’ll try using just the sourdough starter. I think it will work fine!
Here’s the super simple sourdough starter recipe:
½ cup flour (any variety)
1/3 cup water (use filtered water or allow your water to sit on the counter overnight, so the chlorine evaporates)
Don’t skimp on the water, or your mixture will be too dry and not ferment properly.
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the flour and water. Do NOT use a metal spoon. Silicone or wood is preferred.
Once mixed, place the flour/water in a glass container. A quart jar works very well. Wide mouth is ideal, but regular mason jar works, too.
Cover the jar with either a paper towel or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band or the jar ring. I use a screen that fit inside my jar lid. You just have to keep the jar open so the fermentation can progress.
Let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
Day 2: You may or may not see bubbles in your starter. Either way, mix another 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water and add it to the starter, leaving it at room temperature.
Day 3: By now you should see some bubbles. Each day from now on there should be more and more bubbles and the starter should expand in volume. Today, remove ½ cup of the starter (this should be about ½ of what’s in the jar). Store the starter you removed in a covered container in the refrigerator. Replace it with another well-mixed batch of ½ cup flour, 1/3 cup water. This is called “feeding” the starter. Continue to store at room temperature.
On days 4-5-6-7, you can “feed” the starter 2x/day, removing one-half cup and using the same ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water to replace it. On day 7, the starter will be ready to use to bake bread.
Use the amount of starter called for in your bread recipe (my recipe is at this link: https://bakeyourbestever.com/2876-2/), feed your original starter, then store it in the refrigerator, unless you plan to use it again within the next 24 hours. At this point, you only need to feed your starter once per week if you’re not using it.
Each time you feed the starter and remove the 1/2 cup, that’s called discard. You can use the discard in recipes such as pancakes, biscuits, bagels, muffins, etc. (watch for these recipes as I test them.) Here’s a delicious pancake recipe for two. If you need to make more pancakes than this, you can easily double the recipe. These were not only delicious but filling and made an awesome low-cost breakfast!
1 c. flour
¾ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
2 T sugar
2/3 c buttermilk (I use a powdered version)
½ c sourdough (let it come to room temperature or sit out overnight)
1 egg, beaten
2 T butter, melted
Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix the buttermilk, sourdough, egg, and butter. Combine the two mixtures. Take about ¼ cup batter per pancake as these really raise high and become thick. Cook until bubbly on top; flip and finish cooking. Top with syrup, honey, etc.
Over the coming weeks, I will share additional sourdough recipes and insights I gain through this venture.