This SOURDOUGH series is in 3 parts : the 1st is for making the sourdough starter, the 2nd is for making the actual sourdough bread with the sourdough starter and the 3rd is for how to use the daily leftovers that you accumulate and usually discard but that you should save, while preparing the sourdough starter, to make some savory cakes twice (or once per week during the 2-week process) … THESE 3 RECIPES ARE FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WROTE TO ME AND/OR ASKED ME DIRECTLY, especially for my dear ex-neighbors Olena & Ivan (from Kiev and then from Paris and who now live in London) and for my very old friends Manu & Nadia (from Lyon and Montreal respectively and then from Pezenas, in the southwest of France, and who now live in Montreal) … well, here they are !
It’s not easy making your own home-made sourdough starter. Trust me, I know. It may seem like a crazy idea, creating your own flour and water mixture that will become rich in wild yeast and flavors, as each day goes by, while refreshing it, by discarding half and feeding it with as much as was subtracted. It’s much more complicated than just using cubes of compressed cake yeast or dried powdered forms of yeast to make a bread rise. This is a personal choice and I often use regular yeast because it’s easy and because my body and stomach have no issue with it. But sometimes, you and I want something different, so I’m giving you something different. And YES, my way takes longer (but only at the beginning for the prep work) but it is foolproof in its effectiveness and simplified in its approach.
It can be messy. You can get mixed up and confused with all the numbers, weights and volumes. You can forget the weight of stuff, like the jars you’ll use or the amount that must be discarded to refresh it and feed it to revive it. You may feel guilty about throwing stuff away every day (but I have a solution for that too in part 3 of this series). You may get discouraged because it may not be a 7-day process like you thought it could be (unless you double-discard and double-feed it every day). Perhaps your mixture is not active nor rich enough, because we live in more polluted and toxic environments and natural things may take longer to create.
Do not despair. My method takes longer but works. An older & aged sourdough will have more yeast and flavors than a younger one, which is why some people have sourdough starters that have been passed down, multiplied and developed for over half a century. It will get better with time, but a younger 2-week sourdough is great too, at least for that first loaf of bread that you will make with it.
If you do it as I do, preparing everything beforehand for the next 14 days, then most of the prep work is done on DAY 0. After 14 days, you’ll have a perfect sourdough starter to make your first sourdough bread and then you’ll conserve some of that extra sourdough starter that you haven’t used for the next time, refreshing it and feeding it weekly because it can sleep in the refrigerator but it is still alive and needs to eat once in a while to be healthy and revived ! This way, you’ll preserve it, refresh it, feed it, multiply it, use part of it and perhaps conserve it forever !
My mixture is a naturally strong one. I use organic flours like wholewheat and rye and some buckwheat (which isn’t really a wheat and has no gluten). Even the water that I use is spring water that I infused with wheat berries (or whole grains of wheat) that have soaked in it, making it richer and more nutritious.
I take my time and give it the time it needs and feed it and refresh it gently and daily for 12 days and then on day 13, I feed it twice, once in the morning and once in the evening it on the day before using it. And finally, on day 14, on the morning that it is needed, I conserve part of it in the refrigerator and double-feed and prepare the sourdough-starter that will become part of the bread to be baked.
If you understand numbers, these are the equations for the next 14 days : on day 1 you begin with 50 grams of flour mixture + 50 grams of water = 100 grams of the total mixture, on day 2, you double it and then from day 3 until day 12, you discard half (or conserve separately) and keep feeding it everyday with the same mixture or 100% of its initial weight and on day 13 you feed it twice (at a 12-hour interval) and on day 14, you conserve some and you double-feed what you’ll be using with twice or 200% of its weight until it’s ready and actually triples in volume …
Here’s your SOURDOUGH STARTER CALENDAR (that you can print up & cut-out) :
F=flour mixture (50 grams = 6 tbsp + 1 tsp)
W=water mixture (50 grams = 3 tbsp + 1 tsp)
M=flour & water mixture (50 grams = 3 tbsp / 100 grams = 6 tbsp)
DM=discarded flour & water mixture (100 grams = 6 tbsp)
day 1 50g F + 50g W = 100g M
day 2 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 3 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 4 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 5 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 6 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 7 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 8 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 9 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 10 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 11 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 12 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 13 AM 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 13 PM 200g M – 100g DM = 100g M + 50g F + 50g W = 200g M
day 14 200g M – 150g M** = 50g M + 50g F + 50g W = 150g STARTER*
*ready to use when tripled in volume in 3-6 hours
**the 150g prepared mixture that is removed (I conserve less like 100g-125g) is the remaining amount to be conserved in the refrigerator for next week and that you should refresh weekly and/or refresh and re-feed the night before and the next morning, before using.
Give it a try ! … :)
p.s.: but if you prefer a faster solution without a real sourdough starter but with almost the same taste, see my alternative 24-HOUR SOURDOUGH BREAD (WITHOUT A STARTER) recipe here.