Why make Sourdough at home?
Have you ever thought – why make sourdough at home? Have you ever tried to make it? I was one of those people who started baking bread like crazy due to the pandemic, because I actually didn’t go out of my house for three months. I’m not kidding. Not even to one shop!
I am extremely lucky as we have a wonderful house with a garden in front of a natural park, and there were some local producers bringing all veggies and products directly to your home. So as you can understand, I didn’t buy bread, so I decided to make it myself.
If you want to read a bit more about my first bread adventures and thoughts on why you should eat bread contrary to what many say today, follow to the blog post – HERE!
I started with this fantastic recipe Dutch Oven Bread Recipe, that you should try, if you don’t have a sourdough and are not ready to take care of one living organism in a jar, because the recipe uses dry yeast. It is one of the easiest and best bread recipes I have tried for a few years and it is perfect for beginners and pros. No kneading necessary, just make sure to invest in a Dutch oven. Trust me, it will change the baking process and the bread quality tremendously!
I did try to make the sourdough starter a few times in the winter, but unfortunately the cold temperatures even inside the home (yes, it does get cold in Spain in winter), didn’t allow me to kick start a good fermentation.
So how exactly do you make a sourdough starter?
Believe it or not, it is quite simple actually, especially now in summer, so this really is the perfect time to make your sourdough starter! But there are some key factors to keep in mind for it to really get started quickly without much fuss.
This summer mine finally worked like a miracle, and I was already baking my first bread in only three days! The key is the warm temperature that we have right this instant. Or if you are lucky and have a very warm home during winter, you shouldn’t have trouble making it at any time of the year.
Flour is very important
This is a fundamental ingredient, as you can imagine. But not only is it best to get organic flour for this in order to insure more microorganisms, that will be naturally present to start a good fermentation, we need to keep in mind other factors as well.
The stoneground flour should be your first choice for whatever goods you bake! It will contain more microorganisms and more micro-elements (vitamins and minerals) than cylinder ground white flour. This will accelerate the sourdough fermentation process and will be so much healthier for your gut! It will be an excellent source of vitamins and fiber!
Fiber is one of the most important elements in our diet and to keep our gut microbiota happy. Maybe you have heard that scientists have discovered that our gut microbes are really like a second brain to humans as they regulate hormones, our digestion and they can even regulate our mood and brain function, so be sure to take care of your gut!
You can read this amazing book to discover just how much gut microbiome can influence our health and prevent or accelerate some diseases, if not taken care of – The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies
Firstly, the water has to be filtered, without chlorine and strange odours, so don’t use water directly from the tap. If you have a water filter, that is perfect. Otherwise, you can leave some tap water out on the counter and the chlorine will evaporate. From a glass it should evaporate completely within 24 hours.
Temperature of the water is also quite important, it has to be warm enough for the yeasts and bacteria to start working, not too hot to eliminate them, and not too cold that will stall any fermentation.
The water temperature when you try to start or when you feed your sourdough will normally be at about 27 to 28 degrees Celsius.
In order to measure the temperature of the water, you got, it! You need a kitchen thermometer. You can easily get one on online stores, like Amazon, and it costs about 10 to 15€.
This will actually be useful for many things, not only for bread baking. So since it is cheap and useful, I think it’s definitely a great investment.
Knowing the right quantities here is fundamental. If you can’t measure how much water or flour you are using, it will be complicated to keep track or to be consistent. A small digital scale can also cost about 10 to 15€, so don’t hesitate to get it. It will also be fundamental in the bread baking process and can be used for so many preparations!
- Glass jar
- Cloth or paper towel
- Wholegrain flour
- Filtered water at 28 degrees C
- DAY 1. Mix 150g of wholegrain flour with 150g water. Mix vigorously so the whole flour is well moistened and air has been incorporated. Cover it with a clot and leave in a warm place in your home. Don't leave it next to direct heat or next to other fermented foods, because some microorganisms could migrate from one food to the other and change the fermentation.
- DAY 2.After 24 hours, discard half of the mixture of the jar and incorporate 75g of water and 75g of flour. You can use the discarded part for pancakes, or add it to some pita bread dough.
- DAY 3. Repeat what you did on day 2. You should repeat this step every 24 hours until you start seeing some fermenting in the jar - you will see some bubbles and it will start growing in volume.
- The starter will be ready, when you see it has grown twice as big. There is a secret that I learned from The Sourdough School (you should absolutely read the book!) that if you take a small quantity of the mixture and put it in water, a ready starter should be floating on top.