Easy Sourdough Starter
For a more sour starter, after the first 48 hours, add 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water, whisk until smooth, and let stand for 24 to 48 hours more. Sourdough starter keeps indefinitely, and its flavor improves with age. Use the starter to make our sourdough bread (see related recipe at left).
- 1 package (about 1 1⁄2 Tbs.) commercial dry
- 1 cup unbleached bread flour
- 3⁄4 cup lukewarm water (90° to 100°F)
- 2 Tbs. plain yogurt
In a bowl, combine the dry starter and the flour. Whisk in the water and yogurt until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart glass jar, ceramic crock or plastic container. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a double thickness of cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for 48 hours, stirring the mixture with a whisk twice each day. It will be bubbly, with a sour smell. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
To use the starter, measure out the amount called for in a recipe and let stand at room temperature until it starts to bubble, about 1 hour. To feed the remaining starter, add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water, stir to incorporate, and let stand at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours to begin fermenting again. Store in the refrigerator, covered loosely. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Bread, by Beth Hensperger (Simon & Schuster, 2002).