Basic Sourdough Starter

Ingredients U.S. Metric %
Stage 1
Water, warm 8 oz 250 g 100
Whole rye flour 8 oz 250 g 100
Stage 2
Bread flour 8 oz 250 g 100
Starter from Stage 1 1 lb 500 g 200
Stage 3
Bread flour 12 oz 375 g 100
Water 6 oz 190 g 50
Starter from Stage 2 8 oz 250 g 67
To refresh starter as needed:
Bread flour 12 oz 375 g 100
Water 6 oz 190 g 50
Starter 8 oz 250 g 67

Method

Procedure

  1. Combine the water and rye flour and mix together. Place in a nonreactive container (such as stainless steel or plastic) and cover. Let stand at room temperature until the mixture becomes bubbly and fermented and has a noticeable fermented aroma. This should take 2 or 3 days.
  2. Mix together the ingredients in Stage 2 to make a stiff dough. Cover and let stand until well fermented. This may take 1 or 2 days.
  3. Combine the ingredients in Stage 3, discarding the leftover starter from the previous step. Mix into a stiff dough. Cover and let stand until the starter has fermented and the volume has increased by about half. This will probably take at least 1 day, possibly longer, depending on conditions and the strength of the wild yeast.
  4. Continue to refresh the starter as in step 3 until it is strong enough to double in volume in 8 to 12 hours. The procedure may take about 2 weeks in all. At this point, the starter is ready to use in bread.
  5. Refresh the starter at least once a day to keep it healthy and vigorous. If this is not possible, refresh the starter, let it ferment for a few hours, then refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 1 week. To return the starter to active use, let it come back to room temperature and refresh it at least once before using in bread.

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