Making sourdough bread starter is really easy. All you need are two LARGE bowls, a wooden spoon, measuring cup, cheesecloth (or flour sack type kitchen towel), a bag of rye flour (milling your own rye would be even better!), and some water. It takes 7 days before your starter will be ready for baking bread.
On day one, mix 2 cups of rye flour (you could use whole wheat flour, but rye gives the most consistent results) with 2 cups of cold filtered water. Be sure not to use metallic bowls or utensils.
Cover bowl with cheesecloth or a towel, securing with a rubber band if necessary, and leave in a warm place (the top of your refrigerator or beside a sunny window both work well if your kitchen is cool) for 24 hours.
Everyday, for the next 6 days, feed your starter (at approximately the same time of day) 1 cup of rye flour and enough water to make the mixture soupy again. Usually, 1 – 1 1/2 cups of water will do.
Stir with a wooden (or plastic) spoon and transfer mixture to a clean bowl.
This is what my starter looked like before feeding it on day six. See all those bubbles? That’s what you want. It’s fermenting and that’s what will make your bread rise and taste yummy. It should have a slightly sour, wine-like aroma.
On day seven, feed it as usual, and the starter is ready for making bread. Save 1 quart of starter for your next batch of starter. If you’re not going to use the next batch of starter right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
To start a new batch, place the starter in a bowl and add 1 cup of rye flour plus water each day, changing bowls, until 3 quarts are obtained.
This recipe was adapted from my Nourishing Traditions cookbook. I can’t tell you enough about how wonderful this book is!!! It is my go-to cookbook. Very different from your usual cookbooks. Sally Fallon explains the ‘why’ to her recipes and offers a new (which is actually the way of old traditions) way to eat healthy. She encourages making everything from scratch. Yes, everything! Even things like crackers, ketchup, mustard, and of coarse, sourdough bread. This way, you know exactly what you’re eating. No harmful preservatives or icky additives.
I’ll share my Nourishing Traditions recipe for sourdough bread with you tomorrow!