My quest for the healthiest bread led me to sourdough. In this post I will share all about why I love making sourdough bread for my family, the benefits of keeping a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.
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Keeping a sourdough starter can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with it.
What do you mean I have to feed it?!
That was my response when I began baking fresh breads for my family. I avoided sourdough for years because I didn’t need another ‘thing’ to care for and feed. But I am busier than I’ve ever been(4 kids 5 and under) and if I can make time for maintaining a sourdough starter and baking fresh breads from scratch, anyone can 😉 It’s all about priorities.
What Is A Sourdough Starter?
A sourdough starter is the mix of lactic acid bacteria, wild yeast, flour and water. During the bread-making process, the starter ferments the sugars in the dough which helps the bread rise and gives it the well known sourdough flavor.
Why Should I Keep A Sourdough Starter?
Because maintaining a sourdough starter means you can bake bread, english muffins, pancakes, cinnamon rolls and more, whenever you want! By feeding your sourdough starter every 8-12 hours, the starter is active and alive and ready for action.
What Are Some Benefits of Sourdough?
Sourdough is a prebiotic, which helps to support the gut microbiome. People who have issues digesting gluten(me!), can usually handle sourdough bread just fine and the reason is because of the slow fermentation process helps reduce phytates by up to 90%! Phytic acid is present in the bran of wheat and it inhibits enzymes which are needed to break down starch in the body. The wild yeast actually eats the phytic acid up and leaves you with a robustly flavored, easily digest sourdough starter.
To keep a sourdough starter, you must first obtain one. You can get some from a friend who keeps a starter or you can order one online. Once you get the sourdough starter you will want to feed it.
How Do I Feed A Sourdough Starter?
- 1/4 Cup Sourdough Starter
- 3/4 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Flour
Mix all the ingredients together and cover with saran wrap. Set in a warm place in your kitchen and allow it to ferment. Within 6-12 hours you should see bubbles and growth, this tells you your starter is happy and active and ready to be used to bake with.
Once you feed your starter you have a few options, you can put it in a mason jar and put it in the fridge which slows the fermentation process, or you can keep it on your counter and continue feeding it every 12-18 hours. If you refrigerate the sourdough starter you can feed it once a week or whenever you want to bake with. Just keep in mind you will need to feed your starter and allow it to ferment at least 6 hours before using it to bake, so plan accordingly. I choose to keep my starter on the counter because it requires less forethought when I want to bake. I can just grab my starter and go, versus feeding the starter and waiting for it to be ready.
Check out this video below where I show you the process of feeding your sourdough starter:
Now that you know how to feed and care for your starter, you can get started baking delicious breads from scratch…the old fashioned way 😉 I’ll be sharing my favorite simple, no knead sourdough recipe next! Check out my youtube tutorial here.