In another board, there was an inquiry about buying sourdough starter. This past weekend, I decided to pitch mine because it had an odd odor, and started another. Only on it’s third day, it’s already active, but not ready to use. However, it is so simple I thought I would share it and like this thread to the original poster’s thread.
Some advocate using juice, grape or apple skins, etc to get the acidity and the naturally occurring yeasts from these, but I didn’t this time. Once, I cheated by rinsing out the yeast from the bottom of a Belgian beer when I was doing a discard & feed cycle. The starter took on an even better flavor.
The consensus seems to be to do bread & starter recipes by weight. I’m posting in metric, but those using primitive measuring systems :-) can convert using 30g = 1 ounce.
1I like to use a straight-sided glass jar–I think mine was for nacho sauce originally–as it allows me to see what’s happening below the surface and it is easier to scrape down the sides and keep them clean.
2Day 1: Mix the rye flour (you can substitute whole wheat if you prefer) and water in equal proportions by weight and mix thoroughly. Scrap down the sides with a spatula and place the top of the jar loosely on the jar. I left it on a back corner of the counter.
3Day 2: Mix in 60 g of whole wheat flour and 60 g of water, scrape down the sides and place top loosely on the jar. (Some people throw away half the first day, but I didn’t.)
4Day 3: I had activity: Lots of bubbles below the surface. Don’t despair if you don’t see activity, it might just take another day or two of the process before you see results. I threw away about half by volume and mixed in 60 g each of whole wheat flour and water and put it back loosely covered in its resting place.
5Repeat the Day 3 instructions every day for at least a week. After about a week to 10 days, your starter culture should be active enough to use. At this point, instead of throwing away half each day, you might want to put the discard into a jar in the refrigerator to be added to pancakes and other similar things.
6Once the culture it ready, you have the option of repeating the discard and feed step every day or putting it in the refrigerator. To reactivate the starter from the refrigerator, just take it out the day before you want to use it, discard half and recharge it with 60 g each of flour and water.
7As long as the starter smells "good"–yeasty and bready–keep using it. If clear liquid forms on the top, just stir it in; it’s hootch. If your starter ever changes color or smells “off”, discard it.
8When using the starter, remember to only use half & keep half!
Member recipes are not tested by the CHOW food team.