So after all of this research, I decided that I just need to jump in and try to raise my own wild yeast. And in the end, that really is what happens. You birth it, nourish it, watch it grow, and then hope to God it doesn’t die. Every morning I would gently tip toe over to it, praying it wouldn’t be pink or moldy. I would breathe a sigh of relief and then everyday for two weeks I would feed it. I guess luck is on my side. Because after those fourteen days of nervous nourishment, it grew up strong and healthy. Months later I am creating the best breads and baked goods of my life with it. It is quite resilient.
Why did I want to make my own sourdough starter? Well, after educating myself of the seemingly hundreds of health benefits of fermenting sourdough, I discovered that if you ferment the bread long enough, that the gluten (gliadin) molecules begin to break down leaving less gluten and thus, I have a happier belly. Fermented sourdough bread has thousands of microflora in it, making it super healthy for the gut. It is said that these bacteria help you to properly digest and receive nutrients from all the other foods you eat. It is chock-full of B6, B12, and lactobaccilus (a healthy bacteria).
Ok, so let me give you some deets on creating your own sourdough starter. Trust me, if I can do it, you can!! I am not a baker and I am not a mama (yet), but I still created this puppy and nurtured it to life. You can too!!
DAY 1: Get yourself a mason jar with a sturdy lid. Put the following ingredients into the jar:
2 Tablespoons flour (I began with flour I brought back from France, since I knew I did not have any allergic reactions to it and then around day 7 switched to grinding my own Farro and adding it to the starter)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juice (I used juice that I freshly squeezed from an organic farmer’s market orange). This is to make sure your culture is on the higher acidity side. If you use water in the beginning, it will only neutralize it, and leave it flat.
Do not stir. Cover with lid. Let sit out at room temperature for 24 hours.
Day 2: Add the following to your culture:
2 T. flour
2 T. unsweetened pineapple or orange juice
Stir well and cover with lid. Leave out at room temp for 24 hours. You may (or may not) begin to see a few bubbles at day two. This is the yeast!
Day 3: Add the following:
2 T. flour
2 T. juice
Stir well, cover, and let sit for 24 hours at room temp. Bubbles should start appearing by now.
Day 4: Stir down your culture, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.
To the 1/4 cup, add the following:
1/4 cup flour (feed it whatever type of flour you want at this point — white, wheat, rye, spelt, etc)
1/4 cup filtered or spring water
Your sourdough starter should be bubbling a lot by now and should also start to smell a bit yeasty. Some people say it smells like a “fine Merlot.” If you aren’t seeing any bubbles, feel free to add a 1/4 teaspoon of APPLE CIDER VINEGAR to the culture around day 5. The acid will wake up the yeast. I added it for a few days around day 5,6,7 and it helped bring that puppy back to life!
Day 5,6,7: Repeat Day 4
Week 2: Repeat days 4-7.
Week 3: If your culture is still alive and well (no pink discoloration or mold), then you can begin to place it in the refrigerator. I continued to feed it every few days that third week, and now I feed it once a week or the day before knowing I will be baking something. It is happy and healthy in there. People say you can go months without feeding it and that it still has a pulse when you bake with it again. I have even used it as a substitute for baking soda in a muffin recipe. Everyone LOVED it! And it is filled to the brim with nutrients, which makes me that much happier!!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write!! Thanks for reading and I hope I have successfully taken the fear out of creating your very own sourdough starter! Now, get cultivating!