How to make a Sourdough Starter

There was never a better time to get started on your sourdough adventures. As we are forced into taking it slow by a tiny micro-organism, we can cultivate our own community of beneficial micro-organism to bake delicious breads and ponder upon what might have been in a world more mindful of how we ate and lived.

Most of you have probably been following my sourdough journey for the last couple of years. But this is the second round. I made my first sourdough starter in 2010. But I was way ahead of the trend and it was a lonely journey that ended as might be expected. After a year of maintaining it, it was laid to rest in a final batch of pancakes. That’s what happens when you forget to name your starter and think of it as a pet. Do give this thought and come up with an appropriate name for this new pet that you are going to get soon.

Sourdough is dough that has been allowed to ferment or go sour. Wild yeast are floating all around us. They are on everything, fruits, grains, and vegetables, on every surface except highly processed foods. Given suitable conditions they start growing and dividing, a process we know as fermentation. To make your own starter from scratch all you need to do is harness this process in a medium of your choice – a mix of flour and water.

A good starter is the foundation of good bread. Other than to bake bread it can replace commercial yeast in any recipe. My starter Frothy is almost 4 years old. Over this time she has developed into a lively dependable starter that gives me consistently great bread.

Here is my method updated to include all that I have learned through maintaining it for over three years. You do not need a kitchen scale to get your starter going but invest in one if you want to replace yeast in your other bakes with sourdough.

Making your own sourdough starter from scratch

You will need the following:

500-750ml capacity wide mouth glass jar with lid
whole wheat flour (atta)
filtered water
a tsp of gud (jaggery), preferably organic (optional)
a cup, to measure flour
a spoon to mix Continue reading “How to make a Sourdough Starter”

Sourdough Scallion Pancakes

making-bread

Last summer I started my sourdough experiments all over again. Six years ago I had grown and maintained my first starter for quite some time but it fell out of favour one day and was finished off with nary a trace. In the intervening time interest in sourdough seems to have moved into the mainstream. When Pamela Timms shared images of the beginnings of her sourdough starter on Instagram, I got sucked right in again. It was the month of June and Delhi was at its hottest best. My starter bloomed overnight and fell never to rise again. Not given to quick surrenders I starting over, this time keeping the starter out in my cool bedroom at night and in the fridge during the day. In a few days I had Frothy smiling at me. She is very different from her spring-born sister from 6 years ago, as bubbly but less tart. I have had nothing but success with her. My sourdough bread game is still not topnotch but the journey to get there has been full of tasty steps.

Continue reading “Sourdough Scallion Pancakes”