Yesterday we had some fun with flour and water, and today we’re going to do it all again and build on our own baby sourdough starter! We learnt a little about the differences between sourdough versus commercial breads in the last post and we made our own starter culture that has now been fermenting for 24 hours. It may or may not have grown a little in size and it may or may not have a few bubbles and pleasantly sour smell. If you’re unsure if it’s ‘ready’ because neither of these events have occurred you can leave the culture for another 24 hours. Otherwise let’s get into it!
Here’s my sourdough culture on day 2, before ‘feeding’. It looks a bit like cottage cheese to me with all those lumps. The smell is a little soured, and there are a few little bubbles in the surface. Don’t stress if yours looks different too mine, the last starter I made (about 7 months ago) was like a thin liquid for the first 4 days. When it comes to fermented foods, every time is a slightly different result!
What On Earth Is That??
Don’t be alarmed with the many ‘weird’ things that could be going on with your starter over the next few days, these reactions are all part of the magic that happens during fermentation. Some wacky occurrences that may happen include:
- Hooch: This is the presence of a liquid layer over the top of your culture – you can see it in my photo above. It’s completely normal and often indicates a sourdough culture is ready for a feed. It’s a very flavourful liquid that can form on your culture and unless it’s strongly sour smelling, or grey/cloudy or can simply stir it back into the starter. Stirring the hooch into the culture can also help to aerate and maintain it’s health.
- Bubbles: Before you see generous growth in your starter you might see some bubbling in the starter surface, or underneath a layer of hooch. This is the action of the natural bacterial and yeast multiplying, eating the sugars present in the flour and creating carbon dioxide bubbles.
- Starter growth: Overnight you may find your starter has doubled in size – don’t panic, it’s not going to explode!
- Nothing happening / slow changes: Your culture is a live organism and many factors can impart differences between what I’m describing and what is happening in your jar. Temperature, flour, water. jar covering etc. can all affect the timing of changes in your culture. It may take twice as long to get to “Day 7”, but persevere. If you can see minute changes happening to this flour and water combo then there is activity – albeit slow. Check daily for changes in texture, any bubbles, smell etc and take notes for your reference. No single culture is going to act the exact same way.
- 100g (approx ¾ cup) flour
- 100g (100ml) filtered or spring water
- Mix in another 100g flour and 100g (100ml) cup water to your starter culture, scrape down the sides of the jar and cover with cheesecloth or paper towel. Put aside in a warm spot for another 24 hours.
All Posts in This Series (will be updated as we create our starter culture)