Sourdough Starter Recipe

February 20th, 2012  | Category: Bread

Sourdough Starter Recipe

Now that the sourdough starter recipe is finalized, I can conquer all the sourdough bread recipes I’ve been dreaming about for years.

The first on the list is Tartine Bakery’s Basic Country Bread.

Before I share that adventure (and what an adventure it was), I wanted to summarize the sourdough starter recipe in a single post and answer a very important question every beginner will eventually ask: How do I maintain a sourdough starter?

Sourdough Starter Recipe 1

HOW TO MAINTAIN A SOURDOUGH STARTER

Above is how my sourdough starter looked like on day 10. Once you obtain a starter that is behaving predictably – meaning it doubles in volume in 8-12 hours after each feeding – the next step is to maintain that vitality.

Keeping the starter at room temperature

If you intend to bake frequently, you’ll be better off keeping your sourdough starter at room temperature. In that case, you’ll have to feed the starter every 12 hours. A ratio of 1 part starter to 5 parts flour and 5 parts water (by weight) is a good starting point. The sourdough starter will need more food (flour & water) when it’s warmer. Just keep an eye on its behavior between feedings – if it starts to fall earlier than before, adjust the amount of flour and water accordingly.

Keeping the starter in the refrigerator

I’ve come across too many different feeding schedules and haven’t had the time to test them all, so I’ll summarize what I’m doing at the moment. If I ever discover a better way (and by all means, please do share if you know a better way in the comments section), I’ll make sure to update this section. I’m keeping my sourdough starter in the refrigerator and feeding it every 3-4 days. I bake once or twice a week, so I place two tablespoons of sourdough starter in a separate container, feed it with 125 grams of flour and 125 grams of water and keep at room temperature for 12 hours before I use it as my leaven. I discard all but a tablespoon of the rest of the starter and feed it with 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water, cover the lid and keep it in the refrigerator. This schedule has been working great for the past couple of weeks.

Keeping the leaven in the freezer

Dan Lepard says “… if you can freeze a dough leaven as soon as the fermentation has peaked it will bounce back to a useable ‘life’ quicker than reviving a liquid one stored in the fridge.” Take a look his forum post here. His full method is on the Times website here (you have to subscribe to see the article). I haven’t tried this method yet, but the next time I try a recipe, I’ll reserve a small piece and place it in the freezer to see what will happen.

And here’s how my sourdough starter developed since day one, with a recipe below, detailing the feeding schedule.

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 1

How to Make a Sourdough Starter

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 2

Sourdough Starter - Day 2

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 3

Sourdough Starter Crust - Day 3

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 4

Sourdough Starter - Day 4

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 5

Sourdough Starter - Day 5

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 6

Sourdough Starter - Day 6

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 7

Sourdough Starter - Day 7

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 8

Sourdough Starter - Day 8

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 9

Sourdough Starter

SOURDOUGH STARTER RECIPE

Yield: 1 cup

Recipe adapted from “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson

DAY 1

Ingredients

  • 140 grams (1 cup) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 140 grams (approximately 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Mix flour and water in an impeccably clean glass bowl with a wooden spoon until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in the warmest spot in your kitchen.

DAY 2

Method

  • Keep the sourdough starter at room temperature without feeding it.

DAY 3

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 4

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 100 grams (approximately 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 5

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 100 grams (approximately 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 6

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (approximately 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 7

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (approximately 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 8

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (approximately 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

DAY 9

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 100 grams (approximately 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.

MAINTENANCE

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 100 grams (approximately 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) lukewarm water

Method

  • If your sourdough starter looks like this on day 9 and rises & falls predictably, it is ready for use. You may keep it in the refrigerator and feed it every 3-4 days, or at room temperature, feeding it every 12 hours according to the plan above. If your sourdough starter isn’t as ripe on day 9, give it a couple more days to ripen – feeding it every 24 hours at room temperature according to the plan on day 9.
  • Discard all but a tablespoon of your sourdough starter. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain. Wipe the rim clean, cover and place either at room temperature (feeding it every 12 hours) or in the refrigerator (feeding it every 3-4 days).
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Comments

  1. 1 - susan on February 21st, 2012

    Thank goodness you are back. We had visions of it taking over at night while you slept!

  2. 2 - Judy on February 21st, 2012

    Cenk I have a question that perhaps you can answer. I want to make a few of David Lebowitz’s cakes from his new book but some of them call for mild flavored molasses. I live in Istanbul, so molasses isn’t available. Do you think that pekmez, dut or otherwise would be a good substitute? Or should I order molasses from the USA?

  3. 3 - Cenk on February 21st, 2012

    Judy – No need to order from the USA. Üzüm and dut pekmezi are both good substitutes.

  4. 4 - Maureen on February 22nd, 2012

    I love this post! I had a major fail when I had a little oops in feeding. I’m going to try again. I like the fridge idea because I only need to bake bread a couple of times a week just for the two of us.

  5. 5 - Judy on February 22nd, 2012

    Thank you Cenk for the advice on the molasses substitute. I was sure that you would know the answer. Do you have a restaurant in Istanbul or are any of your wonderful desserts served or sold somewhere in town?

  6. 6 - Cenk on February 22nd, 2012

    Judy – You’re welcome. Sorry, my desserts are only available online :)

  7. 7 - KeLLy Ann on February 22nd, 2012

    I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your excitement and joy on this culinary adventure!

  8. 8 - Su on February 23rd, 2012

    Above all – thank you so much for this coverage. I’ve meant to make the same sourdough since ever but your posts really motivated me to start with it. Are you sure, that the starter has to be fed every four days for maintenaince? That would be quite tiresome for me.
    Bridget from the way the cookie crumbles suggest every two weeks.
    http://www.crumblycookie.net/2011/05/29/tartine-country-bread/

    Best regards from Berlin, Su

  9. 9 - Cenk on February 23rd, 2012

    Su – I’ve heard of once a week, but not two.

  10. 10 - Maria Teresa Jorge on February 24th, 2012

    Dear Cenk,
    Congratulations on your fantastic blog and thank you for this starter advenure.
    I was wondering if you know how I can make a gluten-free natural starter.
    Many thanks for your help.
    All good thoughts from Portugal

  11. 11 - Cenk on February 24th, 2012

    Maria Teresa Jorge – I don’t know how to make it gluten-free, sorry.

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