Sourdough starter yeast begins to bubble as the yeast reacts.
Melissa stirs her sourdough starter yeast.
Melissa Norris feeds some sourdough starter in her kitchen. On the plate are some of her sourdough pancakes. She likes to make up a large batch and store them in the fridge.
1 If you don’t see any bubbles after three days, you’ll need to throw the starter out and start over.
2 Your starter will do best in a warm area. If your house is really cold, try the top of the fridge, near your woodstove or heat vent. You can also store it in the oven with the light on.
3 It’s best to store your starter where you’ll see it to help you remember to feed it. I leave mine on the kitchen counter next to the sink.
4 If you see a clear or light-brown liquid on top of your starter this is called “hooch.” Pour it off the top and feed your starter. Hooch is a sign that your starter has run out of food and either needs to be fed more often or a larger amount.
5 I prefer to keep my starter on the thicker side so when I make pancakes or waffles I don’t have to add any additional water. This is important when we’re camping or out of power and water is scarce. It also means I don’t have to add flour right before baking. If I did, the phytic acid would not have a chance to break down during the soaking.
6 If your starter seems too runny, feed it a bit more flour and cut back on the water at the next feeding.
7 When the starter is a week old you can begin baking items that don’t require doubling, like waffles. Your sourdough starter should be strong enough to bake bread in two to three weeks.
Editor’s note: For more sourdough recipes, a free e-book chapter, and a video on creating your starter go to melissaknorris.com/starter.
This article originally published in THE NEW PIONEER® Spring 2015 issue. Print and Digital Subscriptions to THE NEW PIONEER magazine are available here.
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