A very brief overview of some chemistry behind our starters: a mature and healthy starter, and the beneficial bacteria contained within, will break down the complex carbohydrates in flour into sugars which the natural yeast in our starters consume to create carbon dioxide (our dough leavening agent) and additionally will produce two types of acids as metabolic byproducts: lactic (adds a mild yogurt-like taste) and acetic (adds a more sour, vinegar taste). This symbiotic relationship between bacteria and yeast is what gives our bread two things: 1) leavening power in the form of CO2, and 2) complex and layered tastes in the form of a mixture of lactic and acetic acids.
Making a Starter from Scratch
1. Mix equal parts whole wheat flour (100g) and water (100g). Stir. Cover and place at room temp. for 2-3 days.
2. After 2-3 days check to see if any bubbles have formed around the sides and the surface. If it seems inactive let it sit for another day or 2.
3. When the starter smells strong and tastes acidic it is time to feed it. It may form a crust on top.
4. To feed, discard all but 20g of the starter and add equal flour and water (100g each) and mix.
5. At this point you will begin to “train” your starter by repeating the discard and feed process 2x a day- e.g. 8am and 8pm– on a regular and consistent schedule. You will begin to see the starter rise and fall predictably. When this happens you are ready to create a levain and use yourstarter to bake.
Feeding the Starter
Feed your starter twice daily and leave out if you are going to bake regularly.
If you plan to bake once a week or less, you can store starter in fridge and take out 2 days before you plan to bake and feed 2x daily. You can leave starter in fridge up to a month.
Discard all but 15 grams starter
Add 100 grams water
Add 100 grams whole wheat flour