Sourdough starter seems to be a bit like getting a puppy. It is very exciting and a lot of work at first, but over time matures and gets a bit easier although it does still require upkeep.

During our Vermont Beer and Baking tour, I got a sourdough starter from the King Arthur Flour store in Norwich, Vermont. I opted to get the starter that came bundled with the canister. I could have just used something I already had, but thought it would be a nice way to identify what it was (didn’t want it accidentally thrown away like old leftovers) and that it would be the right size. You can also get this from the King Arthur Flour website here.

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Buying the starter was the easy part. From there I was given a long list of directions for how to “feed” my starter. The instructions included a warning that it may smell and that it could have had a rough trip. Since I bought my starter from the store (where it was kept refrigerated) and transported it home in a cooler, it was in good shape when I got it home.

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The first step was the add 1/4 cup of lukewarm water to the starter container and then stir it in order to get the loosen the starter from the container (it starts off really sticky). From there you put this mixture into a bowl, add 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water and 2 cups of flour, and then mix. This should be left loosely covered at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. During this time it will get bubbly.

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Now you need to stir the starter and then discard half. Yes I said discard. This was also a hard concept for me to understand. I just put all this effort into a starter but am just throwing away half of it? That seemed like crazy talk to me, so rather than throwing away half I just put it into a different container and treated it like another starter. After discarding (or splitting) you should mix in 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. This needs to sit for another 2 to 4 hours or until it starts bubbling again.

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At this point you should divide your starter in half again. By this point I realized I was going to have four starters going which my boyfriend kindly let me know what going to be a crazy ridiculous amount of bread. So I gave up on the second starter I made (from the last time we split it). I did however keep two starters since we were getting close to Easter and I figured I would want a few batches of bread to give to my family over the holiday weekend. The starter should again by fed with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour. Keep it covered at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. After this stage it can be used (finally), or refrigerated loosely covered.

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I decided to refrigerate one batch and will use the others to make bread now. That way I get several batches of bread now and have a great batch of starter in my fridge. IMG_1060

It seems that my starter has been started and I am ready to go into the bread baking business. Stay tuned for my first attempt at bread baking.

Categories: Baking

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