Sourdough Starter is Easier Than You Think

Sourdough has proven to me time and time again to be the easiest, resilient and most diverse staple ingredient I keep in my off grid home. 

I’m sure you’ve heard, you can’t kill your starter. I have put my starter through the ultimate tests of time and I can speak from experience, I promise – YOU CANT KILL IT! 

Living in my non temperature regulated cabin in the woods, I am baffled time and time again that it is still alive and kicking. In the summer, when it’s hot as can be without air conditioning, or in the winter, when our heat is contingent on us stoking the wood stove, my sour dough starter has yet to die. 

The ultimate test I put it thorough was postpartum. As any mom can preach after having a child, let alone their first, I was lucky enough if I showered that day, let alone feed my starter. 

So if you’re intimidated by sourdough because you think it’s hard to manage, I pinky promise you, if I can do it, you can do it! 

Sour dough offers so many incredible health benefits. 

Probiotics – Gut health is everything. And nothing is better than putting healthy bacteria in your body on a regular basis. Utilizing fermentation, you can basically convert any baking recipe into a delicious sour dough recipe. From pizza, cookies, pie crust, or of course , bread! By fermenting your recipes, it makes it easier for your body to digest it. 

More nutrients – Sour dough bread has more protein than your standard loaf of bread. It contains b-vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium just to name a few.  It also contains fiber. Fiber being wonderful for your gut health and helping your digestive tract. 

No preservatives – The best part of sour dough is the fact that you made it yourself! Homemade , no preservatives, and no ingredients you can’t pronounce. Making it a far more superior product to serve yourself and your family. 

Not only is it good for you, but it tastes delicious. It has a little bit of a sour flavor that my family really enjoys. Most recipes have short fermenting times, just an hour or you can let it sit over night or even keep in the fridge for multiple days. I personally love going to bed every night with something sourdough to ferment. Whether it’s bread or brownies, doing a little bit of prep the night before, not only cuts your active cooking time the next day, you’re also guaranteed to have something yummy and delicious to eat that day. 

In order to start on your sour dough journey, you need to get your hands on starter. 

First off, if you know anyone whose even a little into the sourdough world, they would gladly give you some of their starter. It’s the easiest gift to give to anyone whose vaguely interested in sour dough. Heck, I’ll send you some of mine! 

Secondly, you can receive starter one of two ways. 

  1. Straight from their jar. Which takes no additional work on your end other than feeding it until it doubles in size and get going on your first recipe. 
  1. Dehydrated flakes. Just put your flakes into a jar and some warm water to hydrate the flakes. Put some additional flour in the jar to “feed” the starter. Be patient as you watch the starter double in size. Sometimes can take a couple days. 

To make your own starter from scratch is also super simple it just takes a little extra time. I’ll link my favorite flour companys way to make a starter from scratch. They break it down step by step.

Now, you may notice some recipes suggest using “sour dough discard.” All that means is that your starter is not very active, not currently doubled in size and has minimal bubbles. Some sour dough professionals may suggest throwing away your sour dough discard. To me, that sounds like a sin and I personally suggest never throwing away any food, let alone sour dough discard. You can make delicious English muffins, brownies, pizza, or flatbreads-just to name a few. 

For recipes that call for “active starter” that means your starter is at peak activity. I recommend using a piece of tape or using a water based marker to make a mark at the level of your starter when you feed it. Once it doubles in size , you starter is now “active.” You should see lots of bubbles. A recipe that needs an active starter is making your Pinterest worthy sour dough loaf of bread. 

Once you have your sour dough starter alive and well, all that’s left to do is feed it when your ready to make something delicious. The night before I’ll add a couple tablespoons of bread flour and a little water. 

Mix together until it makes pancake consistency. (The kind of pancake batter we grew up with that came out of the red box with the matching syrup that has the lovely woman on it. ) 

I like to use a chopstick to mix and a tiny scraper to scrape down the sides and get everything in the bottom of my mason jar. I cover my jar with a cut up T-shirt and rubber band. Something that lets air pass through but keeps critters out. 

Depending on the temperature of the cabin, and how often I’ve been feeding my starter, I wait until it doubles in size and get to making a recipe the next day. 

I hope this gave you the motivation you may have needed in order to get started on your sourdough journey. It truly transforms many dishes to not only be delicious, but good for you. I’m excited for you and please share what recipes you made with your sourdough starter ! You can do it ! 

Try this easy Sourdough Pizza Recipe

My favorite materials for my sour dough starter:

Mason jar

Chopsticks to stir –

King Arthur Organic Bread Flour –

Mini spatula to scrape down sides –

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