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Sourdough Starter Recipe...simplified

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Cooking Class: Make sourdough starter with no discard.
Sourdough Starter Recipe...simplified

Welcome to the world of sourdough. To me, working with sourdough is like playing cassino (a card game my grandpa taught me to play when I was a kid). It takes no time to learn, and a lifetime to master. I feel like a rookie in the sourdough world because I didn’t really start understanding sourdough until 2010. 

Here is a clip of me visiting the Boudin Bakery in San Francisco, California 2010. At that time, I was hosting a TV show called The Racing Chef.

Getting started with making sourdough products such as sourdough bread, sourdough-cinnamon bread, pancakes, biscuits, etc… starts with making an ingredient called sourdough starter (mother). It’s what gives sourdough products their wonderful aroma, texture and taste. To make sourdough starter you will need minimal time invested each day over a series of consecutive days.

For generations people have made their sourdough starter by feeding it daily with flour and water, discarding a portion (up to half) of the mixture from the day before. I did this as well, until it hit me one day that this is a big waste. Some people come up with recipes for this discard, but I say; “Why have the discard in the first place?”. So, I’ve come up with a process to make sourdough starter and not discard any product. Some people start their sourdough starter recipe with 113 grams (about 1 cup) of flour and 1 cup of water. I start mine with 5 grams of King Arthur Bread Flour and 5 grams of water. (at room temperature).

Some recipes will show you how to make a starter in 5-7 days. I wrote a recipe that takes 9 days. Why 9? This is what works for me. I love the activity and smell of the starter and the flavors it produces. Also, sometimes the conditions for making sourdough starter can vary, so I think this should cover most issues, i.e. a cold house, forgetting to feed it one day, etc… So, yes it takes a while to get started making your first bread because you have so much time invested in making starter. If you treat your starter right, you will only have to do this once in your life.

If your sourdough starter does not at least double (even triple) overnight by day 7, there could be a problem with one of the two ingredients. If I were guessing, the problem would not be with the flour. I've had an issue with bad water in the past. After trying to make starter for 2 week, I cahnged the water and it worked perfect.

Note: Hopefully you will not do as I did and accidentally use all of your starter to make bread and have to start overfrom scratch. I only did this once! It would have been a bummer, except this mistake helped me create a recipe for my favorite loaf of sourdough bread.

Once your starter is ready, you can enter the world of creating some of the best flavors known to man. There is nothing like biting into a slice of sourdough toast with just butter and a light sprinkle of salt or with Sesame-Baru nut Butter .

The recipe I share will have you end up on day 9 with 540 grams of active sourdough starter. You will remove 90 grams (just a little over 3 ounces) for the future. You can make two loaves of tasty sourdough bread with the remaining 450 grams of sourdough starter. Check back- hopefully I will have a recipe for the two loaves posted before you get your starter made.

Click Here for all your sourdough baking supplies.

Preparation: Please watch the video for step-by-step instructions.

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