Sourdough Starter Recipe To Make From Scratch

Before you can make sourdough bread you need a sourdough starter. This is known as a pre-ferment, or levain (French). The starter adds a unique sour flavour to the bread.

Sourdough Starter
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Every time we go overseas I put Cordelia, my sourdough starter, into the freezer. When we get back I defrost her slowly in the fridge. As soon as she is ready to go I start my weekly cycle of bread baking. However, when we got back from Europe last September something went wrong. My sourdough grew mould. I had only a pinch of the dried starter left which was not enough to revive Cordelia. I was not too concerned as I had queries from readers’ wanting to start their own sourdough from scratch. To this end I had a few recipes to try out. The first one used grated apples and the first day was a huge success but after 3 days it had gone off. So that was binned.

Sourdough Starter Recipe To Make From Scratch Click To Tweet

The second method called for feeding slowly until the sourdough had doubled in size. I managed to get this one to start off well for the first 5 days. But the starter needs a constant temperature of over 28° Celsius and even though my weather app told me we were in for a lot of hot days, that didn’t happen. And so my second batch failed. The third attempt was a huge success. I took a recipe for Levain which is a super quick way to get a starter going and dragged it out to make my sourdough have that perfect smell and hydration. It is super easy to do and if you have a few hot days coming your way then get started. After I had successfully made this I added the pinch of Cordelia I had left over and my new starter is called Cordevain.

The First Sourdough Loaf

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Sourdough Starter

This is the easiest method to make your own starter
Recipe Category: Bread

Ingredients

for the pre-ferment

  • 1 kg bread flour divided
  • 1 l water divided

Method

for the pre-ferment

  • Place 250g flour and 250mls water into a plastic bowl
  • Mix together using a fork and cover with cling film
  • Make several holes in the cling film and place in a warm, draft free place
  • After 24 hours pour off 150g of your starter and set aside
  • Discard the rest in your dustbin
  • Feed by placing 250g flour and 250mls water into the plastic bowl
  • Add the starter, cover as above and set aside as above for 12 hours
  • Once again pour off 150g and feed as above
  • Set aside for 12 hours and then repeat the feeding process
  • Set aside for 24 hours by which time little bubbles should have formed

to create a 100% hydration

  • Weigh your starter *
  • Add equal amounts of flour and water
  • Mix well and store in a sterilised glass bottle

Notes

* I weighed off 200g starter and added 200g flour and 200g water.
 
I feed my starter each week by removing 125mls and adding 60mls flour and 60mls water
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime March 13:


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