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.