Sourdough Culture How-To

If you are anything like me, bread baking can be a little intimidating and making your own sourdough may seem like a daunting task. For all of you hesitant bread makers, I come bearing great news- it is not as hard as you think! I'm going to give you a step-by-step for making your own sourdough culture and you will be on your way to enjoying warm, homemade loaves in no time!

First, let's talk about what makes a sourdough. A sourdough starter is a natural starter made using wild yeast. Yeast are attracted to the flour/water mixture and they feed on the starches in the flour as they break down into sugars. As you are developing your culture, the wild yeast learn to live with and balance the friendly bacteria (lactic and acetic acid) that are also developing. The yeast and bacteria provide your finished bread with leavening and flavor. 

Starting your culture is a little labor intensive, but you will be reaping the benefits for years to come. It takes about 10 days for your culture to develop and then you can store it in your refrigerator and use it as needed…as long as you feed it every once in a while, it will pretty much last forever!

 

Starting your sourdough: 

Day 1: 136 grams of rye flour, 170 grams of warm water (100 degrees), and 1 teaspoon of honey. Cover loosely with plastic or a loose lid and let sit on your counter at room temperature. 

12 Hours Later (Day 2): Mix half of your culture (throw the rest away, I know it seems wasteful but it will keep your culture from becoming too acidic) with 34 grams of rye flour, 34 grams of unbleached white flour, and 85 grams of water (at 90 degrees). Cover and place on the counter at room temperature. 

Day 3, 4, and 5: Feed your culture twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Mix together half of your culture (pour the rest out), 85 grams of unbleached white flour, 85 grams of water, and place on the counter at room temperature. 

Day 6-10: Feed your culture once a day (every 24 hours). Mix together 100 grams of your culture, 100 grams of unbleached white flour, and 100 grams of water. 

After day 10, your culture is ready to be used! Congratulations! You did it! You can continue to feed it daily or you can close your jar and put your culture in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it again. When you are ready to use it, take your culture out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before feeding it. Feed your culture at least once a day until you decide to put it back in the refrigerator. 

 

Sourdough Culture: 

Day 1

136 grams of rye flour

170 grams of 100 degree water

1 tsp of honey

*Cover loosely and set on counter at room temperature*

 

12 hours later (Day 2)

Half of culture

34 grams of rye flour

34 grams of unbleached white flour

85 grams of warm water

*Cover loosely and set on counter at room temperature*

 

Day 3, 4, and 5: 

(Feed every 12 hours, twice a day)

Half of culture

85 grams of unbleached white flour

85 grams of water

*Cover loosely and set on counter at room temperature*

 

Day 6-10: 

(Once a day feedings, every 24 hours)

100 grams of culture

100 grams of unbleached white flour

100 grams of water

*Cover loosely and set on counter at room temperature*

 

After day 10, you can use your sourdough! If you don't want to use it right away, simply seal the jar and place it in your refrigerator. When you are ready to bake with it, take it out of your fridge a few days before you want to bake. Let it come to room temperature, then feed it once or twice daily following the 100 g water/flour/culture method.