Breads (Sourdough) - Open Crumb

How To Make Sourdough Starter

December 31, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

How To Make Sourdough Starter


In this recipe, I am sharing "How to Make Sourdough Starter from Fruit Yeast Water"

What is a sourdough starter?  Sometimes it is simply called levain.  It is a fermented dough from naturally occurring yeast bacteria known as lactobacilli.   The sourdough starter or natural levain makes the bread dough rise.

Sourdough starters can be cultivated from scratch with only water and flour or fruit yeast water and flour.  In this recipe, I cultivated my sourdough starter from grape yeast water.

For the past 2 years I used the sourdough starter that I cultivated from bread flour and water. But, I have been feeding with different bread flours over the past 2 years and its activeness deteriorated and was not as healthy as I would have liked it to be. So, I started again from scratch, cultivating a new starter with grape yeast water. This method is adapted from "Baking with Gina" where she used apple instead of grape.

There are so many recipes and methods for cultivating sourdough starter.  I am just sharing the method I used for your reference. 

So far, I am very happy with this starter.  I have named it Romeo after my cat's name as it is still young and active.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.


MAKING FRUIT YEAST WATER

INGREDIENTS:

100g grapes
500g filter water
80g organic/raw sugar

Utensil:  A glass bottle/jar with lid (about 1 litter capacity)

METHOD:
  1. Day 1
    1. Sterilize the bottle/jar with hot water.  Set aside to dry.
    2. Wash and drain the grapes.  Cut into half.
    3. Add water and sugar into the jar.  Stir until the sugar almost dissolves then add in the cut grapes.  Stir well and cover with lid.  Keep the jar in a cool place of the home (temperature @ 27C - 28C) for 24 hours.
  2. Day 2 
    1. After about 24 hours, open the jar, stir and put back the lid.  From here on try to stir it twice a day if possible.  You may not see much bubbles or activity.
  3. Day 3 - Day 6
    1. You can see the grapes floating and the water with bubbles. 
    2. Stir twice a day if possible.  Repeat the procedure through out day 3 - 6.
  4. Day 7
    1. You can see a lot of bubbles and it should smell like beer.   It is ready to harvest.
    2. Sieve out the yeast water into another bottle/jar.
    3. The yeast water can be use immediately to cultivate a sourdough starter.  Otherwise, can be kept in the fridge and use within the week.
Making Fruit Yeast Water



CULTIVATE SOURDOUGH STARTER

INGREDIENTS:
Bread flour (I used unbleached Japan High Protein Flour)
Grape yeast water

EQUIPMENT
2 bottles with lid,  sterilize with hot water and let them dry
A kitchen scale
Mixing spoon/spatula


On average, I took about 7 days, but it can take longer depending on the flour, your grape yeast water and also the conditions in your kitchen.  As long as you see signs of yeast activity and bubbles, continue feeding it.  My aim is to get the starter to triple in size after feeding (1:1:1 ratio, one part starter : one part water : one part bread flour) within 3 - 4 hours times.  

Let's start...

DAY 1

5.00 pm - 
  • Combine 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   Stir until there are no lumps.  The dough will look sticky and thick.  Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container.  
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) for 24 hours or until double the size.


DAY 2

5.00 pm - 
  • 24 hours later, it has risen to almost double. 
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle. 
  • Discard the balance of the starter and keep in another container in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) until double.


DAY 3

 10.00 am - 
  • About 17 hours later, it has risen slightly more than double.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.      
  • Discard the balance of the starter and keep in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) until double or triple.


9.00 pm -
  • About 11 hours later, it has risen about triple.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Discard the balance of starter and keep in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) until triple.



DAY 4 -

10 am -
  • About 13 hours later, it has risen about 4 times and started to collapse.  I should have fed when it was triple but I missed it.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Discard the balance of starter and keep in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) until triple.


4.00 pm -
  • About 6 hours later, it ha triple and started to collapse.  I should have fed when it triple and before collapsing but I missed it again.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g grape yeast water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Discard the balance of starter and keep in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C - 28C) until triple
  • I noticed the starter gets more active in shorter time.  The starter need to feed in closer time interval.

10 pm -
  • About 6 hours later, it has risen 4 times.  
  • The starter is strong and healthy and it is time to start feeding with filter water instead from now onwards.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g filter water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Discard the balance of starter and keep in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until double.




DAY 5 

10.00 am - 
  • About 12 hours later, it has risen double only.   I noticed the starter become slightly weaker is because I changed to water.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g filter water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until double or triple.
10.00 pm- 
  • About 12 hours later, it has risen double.  
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g filter water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until double or triple.
DAY 6

10.00 am - 
  • About 12 hours later, it has risen almost triple.
  • Feed 20g of starter + 20g filter water + 20g bread flour in a clean bottle.   
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until triple.
1.00 pm -
  • About 3 hours later, it has triple.  Yes, this is what I am aiming.
  • I changed the feeding ratio to 1:3:3 (5g of starter + 15g filter water + 15g bread flour) in a clean bottle.  So  that I do not need to feed in shorter time span.  
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until triple.
8.00 pm -
  • About 6 hours later, it has triple.  
  • I changed the feeding ratio to 1:7:7 (Feed 2g of starter + 14g filter water + 14g bread flour) in a clean bottle.
  • I fed high ration because I left it overnight for longer hours.
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until triple.
Note:  You can use to build levain for baking on Day 6 when the starter triple in side when feeding 1:1:1 ratio.  However,  I fed few more times just to make sure the starter is healthy enough to make a nice bread.

DAY 7

 10.00 am - 
  • About 14 hours later, it has risen 4 times in size.  I should have fed when its tripled but I missed it.
  • Feed 1:7:7 ratio (2g of starter + 14g filter water + 14g bread flour ) in a clean bottle.   
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 27C) until triple.
10.00 pm - 
  • About 12 hours later, it has triple.  
  • Feed 1:7:7 ratio (2g of starter + 14g filter water + 14g bread flour ) in a clean bottle.   
  • Keep it in a cool place of the house (temperature @ 26C - 27C) until triple.

DAY 8 

10.00 am - 
  • About 12 hours later, it has triple and almost 4 times in size.
  • I could see the starter is healthy and ready to use for baking.
  • I fed 1:1:1 ratio accordingly to the quantity required by the recipe and used this to bake my first loaf of bread (Charcoal Sourdough Open Crumb Bread)  The starter has risen triple in 3 - 4 hours.

MAINTENANCE

It is advisable to feed your starter regularly to keep it healthy if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not healthy, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day about every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.  I used unbleached Japan High Gluten Flour or unbleached bread flour and filter water for feeding. 

Example
10.00 am - at ratio 1:7:7 at room temperature around 28C - 29C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:6:6 at room temperature around 27C

I feed a very small amount if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard:  
1.5g starter + 10.5g water + 10.5g bread flour (1:7:7) 
2g starter + 12g water + 12g bread flour (1:6:6) 

I kept the discard in a container in the fridge.  I used it to make crackers, pancakes and sometimes hybrid breads.  You can find the sourdough dough discard recipe HERE.

When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:1:1, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter few times before the baking day in order to get a better result. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 29C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  The starter will not collapse when you tap the jar.  If the starter falls it means it has already past its peak.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

Comments

  1. Very cute how you have named your starter after your cat 😄

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very cute how you have named your starter after your cat 😄

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this post. LOL.. I find this name very suit my starter..lol

      Delete

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