Have you ever wanted to make Sourdough bread, only to realize that you need a starter? The starter is what gives your bread that classic sourdough taste. Mmm!
It's easy, but does requires a little patience. It's worth the wait!
In a large bowl, dissolve 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) active dry yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.
Then stir in:
2 cups warm water
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
Whisk until smooth and cover with a cloth, napkin, or coffee filter. Let sit at room temperature for 7-10 days. I told you it required patience. ; ) I usually go for the whole 10 days. Be sure to stir your mixture 2-3 times a day. Oh, did I forget to mention you have to babysit your starter?
After the 10 days, transfer your starter to a jar and cover with cheesecloth, napkin, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band around the jar. Do not cover tightly with a metal lid.
To use your starter
Bring desired amount to room temperature. Use in favorite recipe.
Replenish your starter each time you use it by adding:
3/4 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
Stir well. Let stand at room temp for just one day, and then store in refrigerator until next use. It's a good idea to "feed" your starter once a week by adding equal parts flour and water. If you're not using the starter often enough, you may need to discard some of it each time you feed it just so you don't end up with an enormous amount of starter.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not. And the yummy taste of homemade sourdough is well worth it. If you really want to be adventurous, and improve the health benefits of your sourdough (by pulling yeast from the air), find out more here.
*Troubleshooting: If after 5-7 days your starter is no longer bubbly, or it has a layer of water on top (hooch), don't worry...you haven't killed your starter yet. Simply feed it by transferring about a cup and a half of your starter to a clean bowl, and add to it a cup and a half of flour, and 2/3 to 3/4 cup of water. Mix and let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. You'll have a revived starter!