Following a recent move to my new home, I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to begin a new sourdough starter. Using the BakingMad.com starter recipe, I filled a large 1litre kilner jar with 70g flour and 70ml water, giving it a good whisk together with a mini whisk until all the lumps of flour had been dispersed. I left the sourdough in pride position in my warm kitchen and set my phone as a reminder to feed again the same time next day.
The following day I repeated the process, and perhaps due to the extreme warm weather, the starter was bubbling and increasing in size in no time. I found that due to the sealed lid on my kilner jar I felt the need to open it and let out some of the air pressure when I passed by it in the kitchen, as I had heard tales of monstrous sourdough starters that had built up excess C02 pressure and burst open!
By day 3 of feeding my sourdough it had begun to develop a rather unsavoury smell, which whilst perfectly normal for a starter, does make you want to reach for the air freshener! I took it as a sign that the starter was doing its sweet merry little thing and bubbles continue to produce following each feed.
Day 4/5 I noticed that the sourdough had appeared to separate with a liquid layer on the top. Some sources suggest that you pour away this top liquid and others say to mix back in with the starter. I must say that I tried both methods and both seemed to keep my sourdough starter ticking away nicely.
By day 6 the kilner jar was beginning to fill up near the top – in hindsight I think I probably needed a bigger jar than expected (perhaps a 1.5/2 litre). There was an unfortunate incident on this day when the starter decided to make an escape from the jar and run all over my new kitchen surfaces! That was the day the starter was nicknamed by the family as ‘The Beast’.
Day 7 and I couldn’t wait any longer to bake my first sourdough loaf . Before baking, I would recommend that you have a whole day spare, as unlike a standard loaf, sourdough takes an age to prove – but it is totally worth the wait believe me!
Over 6 hours later the dough was ready to be baked, so I scored the top with a knife and baked in two batches in the oven. Although the loaves were only small on this occasion, they certainly made up for it in flavour and the second loaf was given away to family members as a dinner gift.
I fed the starter again the next day to top it up a little and have stored it in the fridge now, with a view to feeding it once a week. I plan to bake another loaf next weekend before experimenting with other sourdough style recipes.
Whilst the sourdough starter can seem a bit high maintenance to begin with, it’s certainly worth the wait so give it a try!
Click here for our sourdough starter recipe
Click here for our Sourdough bread recipe