Naturally leavened doughs are made without the addition of commercial yeast (i.e. the kind you buy at the grocery store). Instead, they are given their lift from the growth of naturally-occurring yeasts in the air and around us. Some of the best bakeries and pizzerias in the country are using natural leaveners or sourdough starters to create their doughs.
Making and maintaining a sourdough starter is like taking care of a tolerant houseplant. It doesn’t require much other than occasional upkeep: every few weeks, you discard part of the mixture and “feed” the rest with fresh flour and water.
To get our culture (starter) going, you are going to need a few things: time (about 10 days), a glass mason jar with a lid, whole wheat flour, and water. We like to start with whole wheat flour because it has more nutrients than a typical white or bread flour. Once you get the starter going, you can substitute bread flour.
50 g whole wheat / rye flour / bread flour
60 g water (room temp)
Bread Flour (to feed)
Water (to feed)
Day 1: Mix water and flour in a glass jar. Let sit at room temp with the lid off for 4-6 hours. Cover and let sit for 16-18 hours.
Day 2: add 50 g each of Bread flour and water. Cover with a towel and let sit for 24 hours.
Day 3: Discard 100 g of starter and add 50 g each of flour and water. Let sit for 24 hours again
Day 4-8 Repeat step 3.
After 8-10 days, your starter will be active. You can now use your sourdough starter in your favorite recipes or keep dormant in your fridge if you don't plan on using it regularly.
If you plan to keep your starter active and bake regularly - daily feedings can be considerably smaller than what is used when you initially get your starter going.
For Daily feedings, we recommend using 10g of starter (discard or set aside the rest), 20g of water and 25g of flour for daily feedings, then scale that amount up appropriately based on the recipe you plan to use it in.