Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of flour by yeast found in nature. The first thing you need to make sourdough bread is an established sourdough starter (the chef). To make a sourdough starter all you need is flour, water and time. Natural yeast is already found in flour and will become active under the right conditions. You can make your own starter or find someone that will give you some established starter. For the beginner sourdough bread baker I would highly recommend finding established starter. Check out your farmers’ market, bakery, health food store or ask a friend to share with you.
Making Sourdough Bread: Day 1
It takes a total of three days to make sourdough bread. On the first two days you will be building up your sourdough starter; this will only take a few minutes of your time each day. One the third day, which is the more intensive day, you will bake your bread.
an accurate scale*
one clear plastic tub or jar with lid (3 to 4 litres or quarts)
one clear plastic or glass jar (1 litre or quart)
*a digital scale works very well but it can be pricey. I’ve added approximate cup measurements below but these can have varying results from person to person. Scale measurements are the most accurate.
200g (~ 1.5 cups) sourdough starter
high gluten flour (Canadian all purpose flour)
water* (at body temperature)
*If you are using chlorinated water leave some water out the night before to let the chlorine dissipate Chlorine inhibits the growth of yeast.
Take our your sourdough starter from the fridge in the morning.
In the evening scrape the 200g (~1.5 cups) of sourdough starter into a large plastic tub.
Add 100g of flour (~7/8 cup) and 100g of warm water (~2/3 cup) and stir until the mixture becomes smooth. It should look like pancake batter. Now there should be 400g of sourdough starter (~3 cups).
Remove half of the starter (200g or ~1.5 cups) and place it into 1 quart glass jar or plastic tub. This will be the new sourdough starter (the chef) for your next batch of bread. Refrigerate the chef until you want to bake again this will keep the starter from spoiling.
The remaining 200g of starter will be used to make the bread. Cover the starter and leave it in a warm place for 8-12 hours, or overnight.