The Ultimate Sourdough Starter Guide and Recipe
Quarantine, Lockdown and working from home has everyone trying new things and do it yourself projects. Though we are all about supporting your locals and shops, it is fun to try and learn new things.
One of the trends, especially with millennials, is baking homemade bread- and especially making sourdough bread (and posting it on social media).
We too have been using this time to try out the art of making bread and combined the knowledge of plenty of different guides and tips to, what we believe is the magic formula to the best sourdough bread you will ever make.
Benefits of Sourdough Bread
So to start with, lets have a look what Sourdough actually is and what benefits it has.
Sourdough is started by combining two types of flour and water and letting it start a fermentation process. This process is “driven” by natural occurring lactobacteria and yeast. These lactobacilli are responsible for the more sour taste, as they produce lactic acid.
Thanks to the prebiotics ( indigestible fibers) in sourdough bread, it is a great and healthy way of feeding the good bacteria (probiotics) in your guts, maintaining a balance and benefiting your overall health.
Moreover, Sourdough is also rich in Vitmains and Minerals, such as iron and selenium. Iron is a mineral, necessary for the function of haemoglobin, which is a protein needed to transport oxygen into your blood. Lack of iron in your diet can lead to serious health problems, as it plays such a vital role in overall bodily processes.
Selenium is a mineral responsible for a critical role in your metabolism and thyroid function. It also helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress ( free radicals). Sourdough bread has also a high amount of protein, with around 12g protein in 100g bread. So – do not let anyone tell you (sourdough) bread is bad for you!
Sourdough Starter – Step by Step Guide
So we established how great Sourdough is for you, now lets get to how to make the good stuff at home.
To make your Sourdough starter, you will need a round shaped Mason jar ( – or any other kind of glass jar), with an optimal volume of 1/2 liters and a loose fitting lid. You will also need to have a proper kitchen scale to measure all your ingredients.
Speaking of, you need at least two types of flour. We found, that stone ground wheat flour (stenformalet /stenkværnet hvedmel) in combination with graham flour (grahamsmel) works best for your sourdough starter. The thirds ingredient you need is water. Thats about it. If you have collected all your ingredients you can get to work.
- Make sure to clean your glass jar properly.
- Put your jar onto your kitchen scale and reset it to zero gram.
- Slowly fill in 140grams of water (important to set the scale to grams, not milliliters)
- Add 70 grams of stone ground wheat flour
- Add 70 grams of grahams flour
- With a kitchen spatula, combine the flours with the water evenly and make sure you have no clots left
- Scrape down dough from the sides of the jar and put the lid on
Now it is important that you keep the sourdough starter at steady roomtemperature. Mark the day you started the dough in your calendar and leave it alone for 4-7 days. Make sure to smell it daily though. It should develop a pleasant sour smell, similar to vinegar or maybe even cinnamon-like.
The fermentation process in the first days can vary, but you might experience the sourdough to grow and bubble in the first 2 days and then “falling down” again which is a good sign.
If you experience any discolouring (green or yellow) on top of the starter or on the sides, it is spoiled and cannot be used so you have to start over again. Happens to the best, so don’t be discouraged.
Feeding your Sourdough
Once your dough has had enough time to ferment, it’s time to feed it. So get out your kitchen scale.
In a separate bowl ( e.g.breakfast bowl size), measure the sourdough you need to keep for commencing.
- You need to keep 50 grams of your existing sourdough starter, toss the rest, give it to a friend, or start several sourdoughs at once
- Clean and wash your glass jar
- Put the jar on your kitchen scale an reset it to zero grams
- Add 100 grams of water (not milliliters) into the jar
- Add 50 grams stone ground wheat flour
- Add 50 grams grahams flour OR 25 grams graham flour and 25 whole wheat flour
- Add 50 grams of your sourdough starter
- Combine everything evenly, so you have no clots left
- Put it in a place with steady kept roomtemperatur
Around 24 hours after you fed the sourdough for the first time repeat steps 1-9 to freshen up your sourdough. It should rise and bubble a few hours after being fed.
TIPP: Put the jar into a sup dish, to avoid a mess in case your sourdough is bubbling over the edges of your jar ( which is a good thing!)
A day after the second “feeding” of your sourdough, it’s time to test, if it is ready for baking! To do so, grab a water glass, fill it halfway with water, then grab a teaspoon and scope out some of your sourdough and let it drop into the water glass.
If it floats, it is ready for baking, if it is sinking right down to the bottom of the glass, you need to go through the feeding steps 1-9 again and freshen it up and repeat the “floating” test 24 hours after the feeding again.
Making the sourdough bread dough
If you made it until here, you manage the hardest part of making sourdough bread. Now it’s about baking the bread. However, don’t get too excited just yet, as this takes one whole day!
To start with, make sure you have a iron, stone or crock pot big enough to bake your bread in with a fitting lid. This way, the crust will get nice and crunchy!
Now, to make the bread dough you once again need your kitchen scale. Place a big mixing bowl on top of it and add the following ingredients in the exact order:
- 375 grams water ( not milliliters)
- 450 grams of wheat flour ( or spelt flour)
- 50 grams of whole wheat flour ( or whole spelt flour)
- 100 grams from your sourdough
Mix all the ingredients together, a wooden spoon works best from our experience. Once you have combined all ingredients to a dough, measure 14 grams of salt and sprinkle it over the dough. We usually use coarse salt, but regular salt works too.
Do not mix salt with the dough yet! Once you sprinkled it over the dough, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at a place with steady room temperature.
Let the folding begin…
After 30 minutes, pinch the salt into the dough with your fingers, creating little holes all over the dough. Cover the bowl up again and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
Now get your bowl after half an hour has passed and fold the dough for 4 minutes in total. To fold the dough, imagine you are folding an envelope. So you are taking one edge of the dough and folding it towards the middle, then the next edge. and so on. This incorporates air into the dough that will make your bread nice and fluffy.
Tipp: Wet your hands a little before folding the dough, it will help, having less dough stuck to your fingers.
After folding the dough for 4 minutes, cover it up again and let it rest for 30 minutes again. Now the next steps are repetitive:
After 30 minutes you fold the dough again, this time only once. Meaning you take each edge of the dough once and fold it towards the middle. Thereafter you cover it up again and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
Repeat these “one-time” foldings for about 5-7 times.
Once you done all the foldings, flour a surface in the kitchen, or a cutting board and get the dough out of the bowl onto the surface. The next step is, to pull and fold the dough.
Again, imagine you are folding an envelop, only now you are grabbing a little bigger bit of each edge of the dough and pull it outwards, before folding it towards the middle – watch out not to rip the dough apart!! So be careful here!
Once you have pulled and folded all for edges, flip the dough around, so it is now laying on the folded side and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes with the kitchen towel on top.
Now, if you have a proofing basket, cover it with flour and put your dough in it. If you dont, dont worry! Simply grab a big bowl cirka double the size of the dough, line it with a clean kitchen towel or cheese cloth and sprinkle some flour onto the towel and place the dough in it.
Now you can fold the remaining edges of the towel or cloth over the dough to cover it and put the whole bowl into a freezer bag if you have one big enough. If you are using a proofing basket, make sure to also cover it.
Now place the basket or bowl with the wrapped in dough in the fridge over night for around maximum 16 hours.
Baking the Sourdough Bread
In the morning, preheat your oven with the iron, crock or stone pot in it to 250 degrees. Once it is preheated, the dough out the fridge and place it in the middle of a baking sheet. Now take out the pot from the over and carefully place the bread on the baking sheet in it.
Sprinkle some flour onto the dough and cut a pattern if you like or just a simple crack through the middle – watch out to not cut too deep, maximal 1 centimeter into the surface of the dough.
Now put the lid on the pot and place it back into the oven, tur the heat to 240 and bake for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take off the lid and bake for another 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it.
To see, if your bread is ready, you can use a roasting thermometer to stick into the bread. It should have a internal temperature over 95-97 degrees.
If your bread has the right temperature, take the pot out of the over and remove the bread form it. Watch out to now use your hands, the bread will burn you badly ( our own bad experience, it was a monday morning…).
Let the bread cool for a while and then, finally…enjoy!
Now, making sourdough bread might be time consuming, but it is totally worth it. It tastes good, it is healthy and you get all the happiness from successfully finishing a project.
You can always keep your sourdough in the jar for more baking, no need to start all over again when you want to bake another loaf. Simply feed it once a week and put it in the fridge for up to 7 days at a time tops. So feed it once a week – if you look at it that way, it is the easiest pet to have. Remember to always smell it regularly and to make the float test before baking.
To keep track of time while folding and feeding your dough it is good to have your phone close by – so take a look in our webshop . CPH CASE phone necklaces are made from recycled plastic and you won’t ever misplace your phone again!
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