How to Make Sourdough Starter

Photo Credit: Graceful Little Honey Bee

If you are wondering how to bake sourdough bread, you will likely start your bread recipe with a pre-made starter purchased from a specialty baking store or made by yourself. Sourdough bread recipes are sourer in taste than other bread recipes normally prepared with commercial yeast, which is due, in large part, to the use of a fermented starter. The method of creating a sourdough starter from scratch is very easy, but the substance does take a few days to mature to where it is ideal for making your sourdough recipes. What’s more, once you have a sourdough starter fermented, you can keep it for a lifetime through some very simple maintenance. At its simplest, most traditional form, a sourdough starter is simply made up of flour and water. You usually mix the two ingredients together and leave the bowl open to its natural surroundings so that it can collect the yeast in the air. This sourdough starter recipe from the blog, ‘Graceful Little Honeybee’, is somewhat simpler than that because it uses commercial yeast rather than relying on yeast in a particular area.

Missy’s sourdough starter recipe is a wonderfully easy version of traditional starters because it just requires mixing a few ingredients and time to sit for a few days to ferment to that signature sour taste. You can maintain the starter by feeding it with flour and water each week. The yeast in a sourdough starter recipe needs to be fed to slow down its activity or else the starter may become too smelly and not taste very good once used. You may not use the entire batch of starter, either, so once you use part of it, Missy even has instructions for how you can replenish your starter.

Today, California and Alaska are known as two places that produced exceptional sourdough loaves throughout history straight until modern times. The fact is that sourdough making occurred much earlier than that during the origins of agriculture in Mesopotamia, known as the Fertile Crescent. A sourdough starter became the primary method of baking bread throughout history, because of necessity. No one had access to commercial yeast the way people do today because commercial yeast didn’t exist. Some of the earliest known sourdough recipes in North America came to San Francisco by way of French bakers during the California Gold Rush. Sourdough became a reliable food source during the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska as well, because the miners could carry the starter in pouches and the freezing weather won’t kill a sourdough starter.

If you have always dreamed of making sourdough bread, Missy’s sourdough starter is one you should use. Beyond the starter, you won’t have to rely on many other ingredients for bread. You will probably only need some additional flour and water, and salt for flavor. A sourdough starter is a good basis for making whatever bread recipe you like, whether it is baguette recipes or the traditional sourdough boule. Thank you to Missy, the author of ‘Graceful Little Honeybee’ recipe blog, for sharing her sourdough starter recipe with us.

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