Making A Wild Yeast Sourdough Starter

Signs of fermentation on day 3.

Signs of fermentation on day 3.

Fermented foods are perfect examples of things getting better with age and since we are really living by the idea that old is gold, 2016 marked the birth date of the house sourdough starter. I have experimented with starters before however this attempt is the first time I have sought to capture wild yeast.  I make no promises but the bubbles above do show promise and assuming I can keep it alive, then we are in for a good year for sure!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water

Directions

  1. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  2. Cover with a towel or several layers of cheese cloth and leave to rest at room temperature for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours check for a few bubbles starting to appear. This is a sign that yeast are becoming active and fermentation is starting.
  4. Keep checking every 12 to 24 hours to ensure that more bubbles are forming and the process is developing nicely.
  5. Once the bowl is full of bubbles it is now time to start "feeding" it daily.

Feeding The Starter

  1. Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water to a clean bowl.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of starter to the bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Cover with a towel or cheese cloth and let rest for another 24 hours and discard what is left of the old starter.
  4. Do this daily until you notice a predicable rise and fall of the starter sponge which is an indicator that your starter is now mature and can be used as a leavener.
  5. Another trick to test maturity is to drop a teaspoon of the starter into a cup of water and if it floats, it's ready! If it sink, then continue feeding it daily allowing more development to occure.

I am not the biggest fan of tossing out the unused starter so for avid bread bakers out there, I encourage you to incorporate these discards into whatever baking adventures you have in the works.  The daily feeding has really thrust me into my own baking challenge where my head is spinning as to how next I will use this goop. It's kinda fun, a bit like a low maintenance pet, and more than anything, it's encouraging me to make something daily.  

If you have experimented with wild yeast or starters or daily makings of any kind, I would love to hear about them!  I am on the hunt for ideas and inspirations both in the baking world but also in the sense of creating a routine or ritual.  It has been exactly one week into 2016 and although I don't want to put too much pressure on the idea of a resolution, I love the concept of a fresh start.  Starting a starter isn't exactly fresh but it still represents a journey into newness.  This starter might be a complete flop but I am trying to focus more on the act of trying and making an effort rather than any success or accomplishment.  Who's with me?