3 Ingredients to Homemade Sourdough Starter: Flour, Water, Patience

If you have known me for more than a day, you know the grimace on my face when I heard the forecast of our first winter freeze.  I am sad.  I am crying.  And I am racing toward Mr. Winter Blanket.  You will find me there until next June. It is just how it has to be.  Really. 

There are two more winter time tricks that get me through the season.  
  • A fireplace. With a fire, of course. And not those weenie gas log things.  I am not at all a fan of the click-on fire place!  A fire need logs... real logs.  I know there will be those who scoff at that statement, but for me, it is how it has to be.    
  • Home baked bread.  Notice I said "home baked"?  That's because I meant home baked. Not home warmed up from a celophane wrapper. I mean, stirred up, poured up, and baked up to a rich crusty browness.  Slice it thick and smother with real butter beforing toasting it on an iron skillet.  Mmmm....Mmmm! I think my heart just skipped a beat. 

We can pick back up on fire building techniques another day, but since I'll take a slice of bread most any way I can get it, let's talk sourdough starter! 

Once my starter is born for the winter sourdough is a staple around here.   It is more than just tasty.   It makes the kitchen smell delicious!  But establishing sourdough can be tricky sometimes for one reason or another.  Once live cultures are born and smelling all yeasty, we can use it for breakfast loaves, pizza dough, waffles, and the list goes on.  

There are a lot of ways to make a starter. Most call for a sugar source, but I am going to make this one with just flour and water.  And patience. You know, like our great grannies all did.  No sugar, lots of patience.  Hey, speaking of patience, I have a disclaimer I must share. 
 "Not all sourdough starter is equal. Not all sourdough starter starts. Sometimes, sourdough starter starts and then stops. And then other times, sourdough starter starts and won't even slow down, much less stop! But that's a good thing, right? 
So, I attempted my flour and water starter a couple days ago so to get a day or two head start on this blogpost.  I will post day by day so you can see how it grows. If all goes well, I should be in the sourdough business in about 4-7 days. Feel free to start your own right along with me and comment your progress.  OH, YAY! This should be fun!
Gather together:
  • Measuring cup that measures in ounces 
  • Food scale
  • Quart jar or other glass container
  • All purpose flour *King Arthur All Purpose Unbleached Organic is the best for this. If you do not have this, it is worth the trip to the market to get it. You will see why on Day 5 of my project. :(
  • Room temperature, non chlorinated water. You can buy spring water, or let the tap water sit out 24 hours so chlorine can release out of it.  I use my Rock Island Springs water that I collect when I go for hikes. 
Measure half and half equal parts.  Pour 4 ounces of water into quart jar. Then measure 4 ounces of all purpose flour and pour on top of the water. Stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. DO NOT use a metal spoon or metal bowl.  After stirring the flour and water together like crazy, sit the jar or container in a dark, draft free area without a lid. Drafts hinder the yeast growth for some reason. Hey, don't blame me. I don't really have a lot of the whys to this stuff. I just know how it's done. So, here is my picture of Day One. Everything plopped and stirred together. Now on to storing it in a dark draft free place.  
So, get on it Y'all.  Concoct your sourdough starter and let me know how it turns out! Everything is more fun with a friend!

Stay tuned for Day Two tomorrow! I will post links below to updates as they happen.  

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