Making the sourdough starter has become trend now during quarantine (due to the corona virus pandemic). Commercial yeast has not been available in stores for purchase, due to the sheer demand for the product. I love to bake bread, so decided to join the sourdough bandwagon to make my own sourdough starter which I had been postponing for a while now.
When I was ready to start the sourdough starter process read thru many recipes online, most of them had measurements for ingredients in grams and suggested to use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients for the starter. At this time, I could not purchase a kitchen scale. Due to quarantine, the online stores were only delivering the essential products immediately and the kitchen scale was not considered as essential. I was not sure if I could start to make the sourdough starter. Continued to look at more recipes, I saw this wonderful recipe which had measurements using cups. I followed the steps listed in the recipe to make my starter, it took more than 7 days to have a mature starter that I could use in baking. First recipe I baked with the sourdough starter was the sandwich bread loaf. Will list a summary of my sourdough starter making and then the recipe for the sandwich bread loaf. I am loving the sourdough baking as the bread dough doesn’t need immediate attention. I make the dough and the let it bulk ferment for several hours, then shape, ferment again and bake.
Summary of steps followed to make the sourdough starter
Water and flour (quantity listed below) were mixed together in a glass jar, covered loosely and kept in a warm place where temperature was about 75-80 deg F for 24 hrs. After 24 hrs half of the starter in the jar was removed and discarded, then the remaining starter was fed with flour and water (quantity listed below for each day) and set aside to ferment. (Note: the discarded starter can be stored in a separate container in the refrigerator and used in many recipes like in roti dough, waffles, skillet pancakes, crackers and more.)
Day 1: Mix 1/2 cup of wholewheat flour + 1/2 cup water
Day 2: No feed added, nice bubbles were developed
Day 3: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water
Day 4: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/4 cup APF + 1/4 cup wholewheat flour + 1/4 cup water
Day 5: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water
Day 6: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water
Day 7: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water (transferred to a new jar)
Day 8: Discard half of the starter, mix in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water
Day 9: Discard half of the starter, mix 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water. 3-4 hrs after the feed, the mixture had doubled and was bubbly. Took a small tsp of the starter and dropped it carefully into water in a cup for the float test. The starter did not float. Again discarded half of the starter, mixed in 1/2 cup APF + 1/4 cup water. Let it ferment for another 3 hrs. Now the starter was ready, it passed the float test and was ready for baking bread.
Storing the left over active starter: Save some of the active starter after using in baking. This will be used to make the next batch of the active starter. The starter can be stored in refrigerator if not baking everyday and can be fed once a week and put back in the refrigerator again. If baking everyday, just discard and feed everyday like above.
Prepping active starter in refrigerator for baking: Remove the active starter from the refrigerator, if there is any water floating on top, discard it. Mix in 1/2 cup of APF and 1/4 cup of water. Cover the container loosely and let it ferment to become bubbly and double in a warm place. Once it is bubbly and doubled, it is ready for use in baking.
Baking Sourdough Sandwich Loaf
wholewheat flour 1 1/2 cup
all-purpose flour 1 cup
water 1 1/2 cup @room temperature
salt 1 tsp
active sourdough starter 3/4 cup
olive oil 2 tsp
mixing the dough
In a big bowl, add flour, water and salt. To this add the active sourdough starter.
Mix all the ingredients till the dough comes together. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Adjust water as necessary.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 mins.
Stretch and fold
Stretch the dough from the bottom of the bowl and fold it to the top. Repeat this for 8-10 times.
Do the above step for stretch and fold 3-4 times in 30 min intervals.
Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap and let it rise inside the oven (without turning the light on) overnight (12-18 hrs) or lil longer (needs to rise longer if the weather is cold) till the dough has doubled.
Preparing for baking
Dust some flour on to a board.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto a board.
Shape the dough and place it on a parchment paper inside a baking tin.
Cover it with clean kitchen towel and let it proof for 3-4 hrs (can be kept inside the oven without turning the light on) or till the dough has risen to the rim of the tin.
Baking the bread
Preheat oven to 425 deg F.
Bake the bread for 20 mins and then reduce the heat to 375 deg F.
Continue to bake for another 20-23 mins.
Remove the bread loaf from the oven and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
Slice and store them in airtight container for up to 2 days (if you want to store longer, keep it in the refrigerator).