Recap: How to Sourdough from Scratch Days 1 & 2

Note about the videos -these are the Facebook live videos I did, with minimal editing.

Day 1

Thursday April 2nd we started 2 baby sourdough starters. Starter 1: 1 oz whole wheat flour mixed with 1 oz water. Starter 2: 1 oz pineapple juice mixed with 1 oz whole rye (pumpernickel) flour. (Here’s my source for the pineapple juice idea.) The first several days we will add the same ratio of flour/water or flour/juice to the starter without removing any material.

Each starter was mixed in a 16 oz mason jar with a fermentation lid. If you don’t have fermentation lids, a regular lid on loosely works just fine.

We are trying to get the microorganisms present in the flour to wake up and eat and reproduce, however we don’t want all of them. Some bacteria we do not want may show up at first – if you have bubbles and a bad smell it is those bacteria. What we are waiting on is some lactobacteria to start going, because they produce acids as they eat the flour. We are not removing material because we want the whole mush to become acidic in order for the yeasts we’re looking for to activate. The yeast species that show up in sourdough starters tolerate more acidity than your standard store-bought yeast (candida millieri). Eventually that acidity will kill off the other bacteria and you’ll end up with a stable culture combining yeast and the lactobacteria.

Day 2

Friday April 3rd: Neither Starter 1 or Starter 2 had shown any signs of activity after 24 hours. The house was cold last night so I’m not surprised. If you are worried that you’re not seeing activity, you may try putting your starter in a warmer place or on a heating pad. Just don’t let it get too hot – the ideal temperature is 80*F and I wouldn’t get it over 100*F (although you won’t definitely kill everything until about 140*F).

I added 1.25 oz water and 1 oz whole wheat flour to starter 1 & 1.5 oz pineapple juice and 1 oz rye flour to starter 2. The additional liquid is because I noticed not all the flour was hydrated last night. We need all the flour to come into contact with the liquid. This activates some enzymes in it that will start a breakdown of some of the complex molecules into forms more readily eaten by the yeast and bacteria we are trying to grow.

Days 3 and 4

Saturday and Sunday we will keep the same feeding regimen and I will report back on Monday with the progress of the starters!

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