*This post contains affiliate links. Don’t worry, I only link to items I actually use.

As a mom, I find it very important to pay attention to the nutritional quality of what my family eats. About two years ago, I discovered the wonders of sourdough bread and the old school way of making it. Before I started making my own sourdough, I would have various symptoms of gluten intolerance. As I began researching this, I found so much information on how bread, bread-making, and even the way we grow the wheat for the bread has changed through the centuries. (I could write so much on this subject but will spare you the lengthy report. That’s a post for another day.)

What Makes Sourdough Different?

Unlike regular, store-bought bread, sourdough is made with a wild yeast sourdough starter instead of a yeast packet. The problem with the yeast packets, although convenient, is it is an isolated strain of yeast. This proofs our bread quickly, but lacks the complexity and health benefits of wild yeast. It converts natural grain sugars and starches into carbon dioxide, making the dough rise via air pockets. Wild yeast, though, are like mini communities of yeast that use healthy lactobacilli bacteria to convert proteins in the dough (such as gluten) into lactic acid, giving the sourdough its distinctive flavor and saving our guts from that hard-to-digest gluten. This wild yeast is everywhere – in the air we breathe and on fresh foods we buy. It comes to ferment your food for free! By using a wild yeast sourdough starter, the bread dough is basically predigested for us through long fermentation.

Thus, I found that I didn’t really have gluten intolerance but poorly fermented bread intolerance.

Sourdough Starter Recipe

This recipe is based on the old ways of baking, back when food preparation took more than 15 minutes. It is incredibly easy to make and maintain with a little bit of love. This can be done with store-bought all-purpose flour (organic if possible); however, I like to grind my wheat seeds (Einkorn) into flour right before adding it to my starter in order to give the yeast a living flour to ferment. Here is what I use.

Freshly ground (milled) flour is much more nutritious than store-bought because it retains most of its vitamins and enzymes, and all parts of the seed. Store-bought flour tends to make a lighter loaf, but it has sat on the shelf for who knows how long, has less vitamins (unless they added synthetic vitamins back), and may not have the whole wheat seed. I grind my flour very easily in my Vitamix, but you can also use a mill designed for grinding flour, if you choose. I have tried a coffee grinder, but it yielded a more coarse flour.

The Process

A traditional sourdough starter takes seven days to initially create. Once it is made, you can refrigerate it or continue to feed it  new flour an water as it is used up. I make mine in a large gallon glass container. Each day you mix in a little more flour and water, cover with a cloth, and then leave it on the counter. Yes, you heard that right—you just leave it out, and let the wild yeast in the air colonize!

 

Day 1:

  • 1 cup freshly ground flour
  • 2 cups filtered water (chlorine and fluoride free)

In your glass container, thoroughly mix the flour and water, cover with a cloth, and place on a countertop away from extreme heat or cold.

  • sourdough starter beginning
    Day 1: 1 cup of flour mixed with 2 cups of water in a large glass container.
  • sourdough starter day 1
    Day 1: The flour and water mixture is ready to be colonized.
  • sourdough starter covered
    Cover you starter with a cloth to let air containing the wild yeast in while keeping bugs out.

 

Day 2-7:

  • 1 cup freshly ground flour
  • 1 cup filtered water (chlorine and fluoride free)

Add the fresh flour and water to your glass container, mix thoroughly, cover with a cloth and leave.

As the wild yeast colonize and feed on the flour, your starter will go through a few stages. By Day 2, you will begin to see a few bubbles forming in the mixture. Usually around Day 3 comes the frothy stage. A sour smell will begin to come from the froth, which I call “the old beer smell.” Don’t be afraid if you see some separation between the flour and water as well. As you add more and more flour, you will notice increasingly active bubbling happen in your starter. This is a great sign that your starter is healthy and thriving. By day 4 or 5 you should smell a distinctive sour smell—hence the name “sourdough”.

  • sourdough starter day 2
    Day 2: Sourdough starter is being colonized. A few bubbles may begin to appear after mixing in new flour and water.
  • sourdough starter day 3 -before addition
    Day 3: Before adding the new flour and water, you will see the mixture has become frothy. This is a good sign. The mixture may also have an "old beer" aroma.
  • sourdough starter day 3-before addition side
    Day 3: Before adding new flour, you may see some separation between the starter and water. This is nothing to worry about.
  • sourdough starter day 3-slightly stirred
    Day 3: After adding the new flour and water, you will notice a lot of activity in the form of bubbles.
  • sourdough starter day 4
    Day 4: More bubbling activity after the new flour and water is mixed.
  • sourdough starter day 5
    Day 5: Starter is full of bubbling activity after mixing in fresh flour and water.
  • sourdough starter day 6- separation
    Day 6: You will notice more separation before mixing.
  • sourdough starter day 6 - before stir
    Day 6: This is after I added the fresh flour but haven't mixed it in yet. Notice that bubbles are already forming. This is a very active starter!
  • sourdough starter day 6
    Day 6: After mixing, the starter is still teeming with activity.
  • sourdough starter day 7
    Day 7: Notice the large bubbles. This starter is super active and ready to be used in your recipes. It also has a very distinctive "sourdough" smell.

 

After seven days, you should have a very active starter, ready to use in your recipes. As you use your starter, replace what is used with fresh flour and water.

 

sourdough bread

Freshly made sourdough bread. Yummy!

 

 

Here is a free printable to keep handy.

Just click the picture or link below to download.

Sourdough Starter Recipe Card

Sourdough Starter Recipe Card

 

Stay tuned for more recipes and uses of this starter.

 

sourdough starter
The Natural Birth Story of Milo Henry – The Father’s Perspective
Delicious and Easy Sourdough Pancakes Recipe