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Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better for You and How To Start One

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This is your ultimate guide to sourdough starter and becoming a super healthy sourdough baker extraordinaire!

Sourdough can seem like a daunting baking challenge, but I’m writing this guide to show you how easy it is.

A jar of sourdough with text overlay.

I will explain what sourdough is, how it works, and how to make it work for you. If you ever feel intimidated during the sourdough process just remember that up until less than two hundred years ago, all leavened bread was made traditionally with wild yeast and bacteria (sourdough)!

My sourdough is my pride and joy. I bake with it at least once a week and it’s become a part of my family and part of my history and evolution as a chef.

I’ve recently made a commitment to only eat soaked and fermented grains for the rest of my life.

I know, that’s a big commitment!

What that means is that I now make my own breads, crackers, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, muffins, tortillas, pasta, pastry crust, cookies, cakes, English muffins, and quickbreads all with my trusty and very happy mother starter.

It is my mission to transform every recipe that uses wheat flour into a sourdough recipe.

You can see all of my sourdough recipes here.

She of the beautiful Sourdough baked goods from Butter For All

Beautiful Sourdough Baked Goods
Copyright Butter For All

Page Guide

Page 1. Intro
Page 2. What Is Sourdough?
Page 3. Bread Terminology
Page 4. Why Eat Sourdough?
Page 5. Tools
Page 6. Starter Recipe
Page 7. Fresh Starter vs. Discard
Page 8. Starter Hydration & Feeding
Page 9. Favorite Recipes
Page 10. Troubleshooting Sourdough
Page 11.  Starter Insurance Policy
Page 12. Using Stale Bread
Page 13. Recipes You Don’t Want To Miss
 

Jill

Monday 21st of June 2021

Hi, I’ve made your Soft and Sweet Sourdough Milk Bread and can never seem to get a good rise out of it. I’m thinking it’s my proofing length but also how I fold my dough. Could you tell me your method of folding before the first rise? So far I’ve attempted a coil fold, but don’t think it’s working…

Thanks!!

Jill

Butter For All

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Hey Jill,

I typically do stretch and fold in the bowl. I just find that to be my preferred way to develop gluten. You can see me demo it in this video. https://youtu.be/aqYctt7W_N4 It is a different recipe but pretty much the same technique.

Hope this helps!

Courtney

Mia

Friday 26th of March 2021

I’m on day 3 and I started with wheat flour. Can I change to All Purpose Flour starting day 4?

Butter For All

Monday 29th of March 2021

Hi Mia,

Yes, you should be fine, the yeast should already be present from the outside husk of the WW flour. Just keep feeding it!

Rashmi Ingle

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

I live in Switzerland and want to start sourdough. Since the temperatures here are colder, do I need to take extra care to make sure the starter grows well?

Butter For All

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Hi Rashmi,

That's a great question. I would probably try to keep the starter in a warm area of your kitchen, but you shouldn't need to do a lot of extra babying. Yeast can be trained to perform at cooler temperatures just by feeding the starter and keeping it in the climate you are in, and you want your starter to rise in your cooler temps anyway. I would just use (at least part) a local organic flour to try to capture some of your local yeast strains, they will already be suited for your climate. Once the starter is established in your climate is should work well no matter the flour.

Hope that helps!

Courtney

Linda

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Help! I am on my 2nd try at a homemade sourdough starter. I’ve tried unbleached flour and whole-wheat flour, filtered tap water and bottled water, I get a few bubbles but no rise and it never gets that sourdough smell, it really doesn’t smell much like anything! What do you think is happening?

Butter For All

Monday 22nd of March 2021

Hi Linda,

Are you using organic flour? The chemicals used to grow conventional wheat can really disrupt the sourdough process. If you are using organic and still have a problem getting a starter going then you may need to introduce some wild yeast. This can be done using organic whole grain flour, an organic fruit — like a grape, or even an herb leaf from your garden. Just add the grain, or fruit, or leaf to your starter for 24 hours, then remove it and feed your starter again. That will inoculate the starter with wild yeast.

It can take a solid two weeks to see any activity. Keep going!

Courtney

Mary K Knapp

Wednesday 17th of February 2021

Can I use mystarter to make sourdough breadin my Zojirushi bread maker?

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