Want a healthy bread? A “true” sourdough bread is a great healthy bread to consume. You can read my article about all the health benefits in sourdough bread in my article A Healthy Bread That is Good For You. To make your own sourdough bread, you will need a sourdough starter. It is not hard to make a sourdough starter, it just takes a little time. In this post, I will show you how to successfully start your own sourdough starter. Once we master the sourdough starter, I will then show you how to make your own sourdough loaf.
Here is what you need to start your sourdough starter. You will need some whole grain spelt flour and some fresh oranges. Fresh pineapple juice can also be used instead of fresh orange juice. To start your sourdough starter, simply add 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice with 2 tablespoon of spelt flour. Place in a small bowl and mix well. Loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. We will continue a 7-14 day feeding schedule to make your sourdough starter. Once you have your starter, you won’t have to go through this whole process again, you will just use and save some of this starter for future uses. This recipe was adapted from The Fresh Loaf website.
DAY 1: Add 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice and 2 tablespoons whole grain spelt flour to a small bowl. Stir vigorously, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 24 hours.
Here is what your starter will look like after 24 hours at room temperature. I will post a picture daily so you can see how it changes and what you are looking for. If you notice, not much has changed after day one.
Day 2: Add 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice and 2 tablespoons whole grain spelt flour to your mixture. Stir vigorously, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 24 hours.
Here is what your starter will look like after 2 days. Not much has changed after day 2 but look for changes coming real soon.
Day 3: Add 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice and 2 tablespoons whole grain spelt flour to your mixture. Stir vigorously, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave on counter for 24 hours.
Here is what your starter will look like after 3 days. Notice all the bubbles starting to appear.
Here is what the starter looked like after 3 days. Little change, as of now. Yours might look different by now and that is fine. Your sourdough starter will grow on its own terms.
Day 4: Stir down your sourdough starter. Measure out 1/4 cup starter and discard the rest. To this starter add 1/4 cup filtered water and 1/4 cup flour. At this point you can add any flour you would like (excluding coconut flour and almond flour). I usually stick with spelt flour because it has a better result. I tried all purpose organic flour and didn’t have the best results. Stir vigorously, cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature.
Repeat day 4. Repeat day 4 for days 4-14, (Stir down sourdough, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest, add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour. Stir vigorously and loosely cover and leave at room temperature) once daily until your sourdough starter starts to expand and smells yeasty. Your sourdough starter might become very bubbly and then go flat. That is ok. If it doesn’t become bubbly again by day 6, add 1/4 tsp of apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding.
Day 6: Here is my sourdough starter on day 6 right before the feeding. You can tell it is time for a feeding because it has deflated. Notice how far it raised up by the lines on the sides of the bowl. When it falls it is ready for a feeding. I needed to feed mine about every 8-12 hours now.
Day 7-14: I finally have my starter. Here is what a healthy starter looks like. Look how high it has risen. It has more than doubled in volume and it has a lot of air bubbles.
I will continue to feed it (the normal feeding: 1/4 cup starter (throw out the rest), 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup flour) and keep it at room temperature for 1 more week (a total of 2 weeks) to make a strong more favorable starter. My sourdough starter is now ready for use. At this point, you can make a fresh loaf of sourdough bread.
After 2 weeks of storing and feeding your starter at room temperature, you will need to now store your sourdough starter in the refrigerator. At this point, you can feed it once a week by using the same method. At the top of the starter will be a liquid called the “hooch” and that is normal. Simply pour the hooch off and discard it and measure out your 1/4 cup starter and add to it 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour. Mix together and store back in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to make a loaf of bread, simply pull the starter out, pour off the hooch and give your starter a feeding (1/4 cup starter (discard the rest), 1/4 cup filtered water, 1/4 cup flour). Leave out at room temperature for 8 hours and give your starter another feeding. This might be enough to activate your starter (remember you are wanting it to almost double in size and you are wanting it to be bubbly, like champagne). If it is not bubbly then you might need to give it one more feeding. You are now ready to use your sourdough starter in your recipe. Remember to save a little for your next recipe and store it in the refrigerator.
I know you all might have questions along the way. Please feel free to leave your comments below in the comment section and I will answer your questions for you.
Liquid hooch picture courtesy of Bradyrevisited.com.