Making Sourdough at home is pretty simple because there are very few ingredients needed: Water, Flour, and Air! Let me explain how to make sourdough at home… Easily!
It is often recommended to use a starter, an ingredient (such as fruit pulp, white yogurt, or honey) capable of triggering fermentation. Still, you run the risk of introducing a high quantity of bacteria that could easily make our yeast too sour.
On the contrary, we will see how to use only flour (but of good quality) to start our yeast. In fact, in flour are already available, all the substances (such as sugars, proteins, and mineral salts) must initiate a “healthy” fermentation.
Yes, the real starting point is to create a small community of yeasts and bacteria, which will become larger and larger day by day!
The time needed to bring the Sourdough to proper maturity is about 15 days. Still, it will depend on many factors:
- The flour used
- The temperature in your kitchen
- Even the microorganisms present in the air of your home
So don’t worry, if your sourdough starter doesn’t entirely respect the schedule, we’re going to give it… Maybe it will be lazier or more vigorous than your friends’ one!
HERE ‘S HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH AT HOME
The essential step is to literally capture the yeast and bacteria in the air and “invite” them to interact with a world made for them, precisely the dough from which we will start. It contains everything these microorganisms need: food and water!
- 150 grams of Wholemeal or Semi-Wholemeal Flour
- 75 gr. of Plain Water (better if bottled)
- 1 gram of Salt
Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, place the dough in a clean jar, cover with gauze or paper towels held in place by a rubber band and let it ferment for 24/36 hours at 25°C.
In this first phase, you will not observe any dough growth. Still, inside it will be formed the first population of yeasts and bacteria use to start the future fermentation.
This is what the first sourdough starter looks like
From Day 2 to Day 4
After 24/36 hours, you will already notice the first signs of fermentation: the volume will not have increased much (at most about 1/2 times the initial volume), but there will be many bubbles on the surface of the dough, and you will already notice a characteristic smell of yeast (a bit spicy yet)
Once ready, remove the surface crust and take the middle part of the yeast. Weigh out the amount you want to refresh (I recommend carrying at least 200gr of yeast daily) and then knead it with:
- Flour: Equal weight of yeast
- Water: 43% of the flour’s weight
for example, if you want to refresh 200gr of starter, you will have to knead it with:
- 200gr of flour
- 86gr of cold water
I recommend you continue to use Wholemeal flour in this second refreshment. Use good quality Bread Flour (ensure the protein content is around 14%) for all subsequent refreshments.
Knead everything, put the dough in a container (maybe a measuring jug to better follow the yeast development), cover it with paper, and let it rest for at least 48 hours at 25°C. At the end of this period, you will already notice a slight growth of the dough (about 1.5 times its initial volume).
From now on, you will notice that after each refresh, the sourdough starter will grow more and more after 24 hours, doubling (and more) on the 4th day.
If your starter is not so “strong,” don’t panic… It may just need a little more time!
Days 5, 6, 7
As you did on the previous days, repeat the refreshment and keep the dough in the pot at about 25°C (77°F) until it triples in volume within 20-24 hours.
At this point, you are already halfway there: the flora of yeast and bacteria is almost formed. It will need to stabilize over the next few days until it finds its balance!
On Days 8, 9, 10…15
Repeat the feeding process every day (in the same proportions as described above) as soon as you see the yeast triple its initial volume. After each refresh, always keep it at around 25°C (77°F).
You will notice that your yeast will triple its initial volume in less time during these days until it takes only 6/8 hours.
At this point, the Sourdough starter is finally ready, and you can store it in water and use it to prepare your recipes!