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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?

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

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 2

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 3

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 4

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 5

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 6

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 7

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 8

SOURDOUGH STARTER – DAY 9

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).