Note: Directions are the same for all varieties of Sourdough starters- the only difference is the type of flour used.
You will need:
- one quart canning jar or other glass jar
- coffee filter or paper towel to cover jar, and elastic band to secure cover
- wooden or plastic spoon
- 1/4 cup flour (type depends on variety of Sourdough starter) for activation
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (filtered or spring water is best) for activation
- 1 packet Sourdough starter culture
Activate your starter culture:
1) Put 1/4 cup water into jar. Sprinkle the starter culture into water, then stir until well mixed. Allow to sit for a few minutes to soften a bit, then stir again. Stir in the 1/4 cup flour, mixing well (stirring vigorously will incorporate bubbles into the mixture, which helps with activation). Cover the jar & secure with elastic band.
2) Allow to culture at room temperature (68 to 78 degrees is ideal) for 24 hours. Choose a draft-free spot, out of direct sunlight, where your Sourdough won't be disturbed. While not necessary, stirring again once or twice during this 24 hours will help get things going.
3) After 24 hours, "feed" your starter with another 1/4 flour and 1/4 cup water, stirring well. Let culture as before. Within the next 24 to 36 hours, you will start to see bubbles as your Sourdough starter wakes up.
4) Once your starter is activated, continue with once or twice daily feedings of equal parts flour & water. Frequent feedings will keep your starter active and will increase volume more quickly for baking (amounts needed depend on your recipe). Consistency should be like a thick pancake batter. As you use your starter in recipes, always remember to reserve some back for your continuing starter. If you plan to use it frequently, keep it in a warm place and continue with daily feedings. If it will be awhile until you use it, store it in the refrigerator in a covered jar or container. This will put your starter to "sleep", requiring less attention until you're ready to use it again. While refrigerated, feed your starter weekly to keep it happy.
Reviving refrigerated starter:
1) Remove Sourdough starter from refrigerator. Feed the starter with equal parts flour & water, mixing well. Cover with coffee filter & secure with elastic band.
2) Place in a warm spot for 12 to 24 hours. During this time you should begin to see bubbles, as your starter awakens.
3) Feed the starter again, and let sit for 6 to 12 hours. You should now have a lively starter again. All that is left to do is build it up to the quantity you want for your recipes with once or twice daily feedings.
Now it's time to Get Fermented!