My life changed forever when I baked my first sourdough bread.
I once thought this was a crazy waste of time and now cannot see a day without home-baked bread.
Our bread is delicious, hearty, nourishing and joy to make with your own two hands. And it’s easier than you think.
Maybe this could be the day YOU start your own bread-baking successes?
But first, you need a starter. So let’s get started.
This is a wheat-free yeast-free recipe using either spelt or rye flour. I will be sharing a gluten-free bread recipe later on as I still perfect it.
Recipe for a wheat-free sourdough starter :
rye flour* (unbleached or organic) + extra (3 tablespoons to start + feed daily)
lukewarm water (4 tablespoons to start + feed daily)
note : you need rye flour to activate the natural yeast, (but once you activate the natural yeast you can add spelt and oat flour, equal amounts to rye) to the starter and later your bread.
- In large mason jar or glass bowl mix about 3 tablespoons the flour with 4 tablespoons of warm filtered water, cover with a dish towel or cheesecloth so it can breathe and set aside in in a warm place in the kitchen or home.
- Feed the starter the next day with another 3 tablespoons of flour with 4 tablespoons of warm water and mix with a wooden or silicone spoon (not metal).
- Do this for 3 days and then store it in the refrigerator for the nights after that.
- Keep feeding it in the morning and letting it sit at room temperature.
- Do this for about 4-6 days. You should start seeing bubbles form on top.
- Then you can bake a Sourdough Bread with this recipe.
Yes, this my friends, is a 4-6 day process! You need to let the flour ferment in order to activate its natural yeast. This takes time BUT very little work on your part. Honestly – it only requires about 2 minutes of your time daily – the rest it does on its own just growing away (kind of like a house plant) :)
You can make your own starter from scratch or be on the lookout for sourdough bakers in your family or circle of friends – and you can ask for some of their starter. (makes the best gift)
The starter I use is over 20 years old – it simply keeps being fed with more flour and 1/2 of it always gets used up in a new loaf of bread about twice a week while the other stays and grows for your next loaf.
I will share my bread recipe next week so for now just focus on your starter! Give it some warmth and love and flour to feed on and it will make
So that’s essentially it! However you need a few pointers for a successful starter.
Tips to make a successful sourdough starter :
Starters like a warm environment, around 23-28 degrees celsius. If your home isn’t as warm find a spot near the stove or the side of the fridge where there is consistent warmth. (You can also turn on your oven to a minimum temperature and place the starter in – then turn off the oven so it remains warm for a bit. After a couple of hours turn it on again, then off… etc.)
You don’t need consistent warmth for the entire day. So if you leave for work and aren’t home until the evening – your starter can sit for example on the counter by the fridge even if the room temperature is cooler than this 23 degrees. (our home is usually set for 21).
Use a glass jar or bowl. (do not use metal to store or mix the starter).
Don’t seal the top but only cover with a dish towel so that air still gets in so it can breathe. (my bowl has a cracked plastic lid so it’s perfect ;))
Place the starter in the refrigerator for the night.
Feed it in the morning, stir throughly and leave out at room temperature all day.
The consistency is that of a heavy cream and it has a slight sour smell (hence the name sourdough)
It will bubble when it’s fed and happy.
In 4 to 6 days it will be ready to bake into a loaf of bread.
It will be ready on day 4 but if you don’t bake with it, it will still be fresh and happy for another couple of days.
I will see you on the next post with the actual bread recipe! Good luck with your sourdough starter!
Ella Leché is a cookbook author (‘Cut the Sugar‘), recipe developer, and photographer/stylist behind Pure Ella; where she shares delicious and healthy recipes. Eating PURE is clean ingredients, whole foods, plant-based nourishment and delicious desserts – with quality ingredients and sweeteners so they’re treats with benefits so you won’t have to feel deprived or restricted to eat healthier.
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