I love bread! I grew up in a family where my granny used to serve bread to pasta! This is how much we have been loving bread. After a while I figured out that eating bread every day didn’t suit me anymore, I had problems in digestion, stomach aches and so on. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
A long time ago people like my granny, they ate bread every single day, it was affordable to make. But they were healthy! So how come? The more and more I think about it, it makes total sense! The way they prepared the dough back then is unfortunately not the normal way we do it today. They had a longer fermentation time, which makes the bread more digestible and even healthier! The gluten has a longer time to be broken down into amino acids, so it has less gluten than a recipe with normal yeast. I had a friend around who is sensitive to gluten, she loves my bread and she still felt great afterwards.
Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying, a sourdough bread will solve all your problems (well, for me it solved a lot:P), BUT it is definitely worth the try, especially if you love bread as I do.
I also always felt like something was missing in my homemade bread recipes. This missing taste and smell I found in using a sourdough starter. Nowadays I add the sourdough starter for a rounder and richer taste in almost every bread or roll recipe (even in no sourdough recipes with yeast). It contains lactic acid bacteria and yeasts, which loosen the dough as they produce carbon dioxide.
Doughs prepared with sourdough are called sourdough bread (what a surprise). Therefore you’ll need a sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is just made of flour and water (and time).
The preparation steps (day 1-7) described below need to be done just once. Every time you use the sourdough starter in order to bake bread, you have to feed it as is described in the example below (Example using sourdough starter). In each baking process, you’ll keep some of the sourdough and use it as a new sourdough starter for the next baking day which should be within 7-10 days (in case the sourdough starter is refrigerated). If you don’t bake a new bread within 7-10 days, I suggest you check out your options below!
There are thousands of ways how to make a sourdough starter, my way is one of them.
Rye Sourdough Starter
- 200 g (7.1 oz.) freshly ground rye
- 200 g (7.1 oz.) warm drinking water
- Day 1 – Starting: Place 200 grams of whole rye grains into mixing bowl and grind 1 min/speed 10.
- Transfer 150 grams into an airtight container and keep for further use.
- Add 50 grams of drinking water to remaining rye flour and combine4 sec/speed 3.5. 4) Transfer into a clean bowl and cover with a clean damp towel.
- Let sit in a warm place for 24 hours. A few more days to go and your starter will be ready to use.
- Day 2 – Feeding: Discard half of the starter (50 grams) and place remaining half into mixing bowl.
- Add 25 grams of rye flour (made the previous day) and 25 grams of drinking water into mixing bowl. Combine 4 sec/speed 3.5. Transfer into a clean bowl and cover with a clean damp towel.
- Let sit in a warm place for another 24 hours.
- Day 3-7 – Growing: Repeat procedure from day 2 for another 5 days. On day 7, your starter should be ACTIVE: it doubles in size after feeding, it has a lot of bubbles and a nice acidic aroma. Yay! You did it!
- The starter can be used right away or stored in the refrigerator. It has to be fed (activated) at least every 10 days (see the example using sourdough starter below).
If your starter doesn’t double in size after prescribed 7 days within 4-5 hours of feeding, repeat the growing procedure from 3-7 until it does so. The activation process depends on the quality of flour/grains and also on the temperature at which you keep your starter.
Example using sourdough starter
- 100 g sourdough starter (active)
- 650 g bread flour
- 300 g water
- 1 tsp. salt
Remove starter (100 grams, not active since refrigerated) from the refrigerator. DO NOT DISCARD HALF OF IT. Instead feed 50 grams of water and 50 grams of freshly ground rye flour (always doubling the starter weight adding ratio 1:1 of fresh flour and water). Stir until well combined. In a warm place keep the starter for 4 hours or until doubled in size (active!). Divide active starter into half using one-half for your recipe. Store the other half in the refrigerator for further baking. Proceed with your actual recipe.
Not baking within 7-10 days with the rye sourdough starter
Option 1 – Freezing the starter
You can freeze your starter and refreeze it when you’re up to bake sourdough bread. The starter should be fed like described above (see day 2) until active (doubles in size). This can take 1-3 days depending on the quality of your starter!
Option 2 – Refreshing the starter
If you don’t use your starter within 7-10 days for baking, and you don’t want to freeze your starter, I suggest you refresh the starter adding 1 tablespoon of freshly ground rye flour and 1 tablespoon of water. Combine well, cover with cling wrap (or store in a cling jar) and let sit in the refrigerator until next baking day. This provides your starter from ‘dying’. Use your starter as describes in ‘Example using sourdough starter’.