SOURDOUGH STARTER


Spelt Sourdough Starter

There seems to be a lot of angst about creating a ‘Mother’- a sourdough starter – and sustaining her, but it is actually incredibly simple. Once your starter is working, you can gradually add to it and it will improve in flavour. Use this starter to make a classic Sourdough Bread however there are endless versions which you can find once you have started exploring this new world. Once you are in, you will be hooked!

 

MAKES about 200g/7oz starter

PREPARATION TIME: 6–8 days

 

Equipment:

Chopstick

Kilner jar

Mixing Bowl

Kitchen Scales

 

Ingredients:

 DAY 1:

80g/2¾oz/scant ? cup wholegrain spelt flour

20g/?oz/2 tbsp white spelt flour

 

DAY 2:

80g/2¾oz/scant ? cup wholegrain spelt flour

20g/?oz/2 tbsp white spelt flour

15g/½oz/1½ tbsp raisins

4 tsp natural yoghurt

 

DAY 3:

50g/1¾oz/? cup wholegrain spelt flour

50g/1¾oz/? cup white spelt flour

 

DAYS 4 & 5:

20g/?oz/2 tbsp wholegrain spelt flour

80g/2¾oz/scant ? cup white spelt flour

 

DAYS 6 & 7:

100g/3½oz/¾ cup white spelt flour

 

DAY 8:

75g/2¾oz/½ cup plus 1 tbsp white spelt flour

 

MAINTENANCE (WEEKLY):

75g/2¾oz/½ cup plus 1 tbsp white

spelt flour

Method

 Day 1: Add the flours to a jar with 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water and thoroughly combine with a chopstick. Seal the lid and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 2: Add the flours and another 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water to the jar and combine, then mix in the raisins and natural yogurt. The mixture will start to change colour, the raisins will start to dissolve and there will be a bubble or two on the surface. Seal the lid and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 3: Add the flours and 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water to the jar and combine. Seal the lid and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 4: You should now be able to sniff the fermentation. Throw away three-quarters of the mixture and add 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup lukewarm water. Strain to remove the raisins. Add the flours to the jar and combine. Seal the lid and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 5: You should notice an acidic tang to the mix. Repeat Day 4. Throw away three-quarters of the mixture. Add the flours and 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water to the jar and combine. Seal and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Use an elastic band to mark the level after you have added in the flour and water. It is then easy to see how much it is rising and falling.

 

Days 6 & 7: The mixture should be bubbling and ready to create your ferment. If the starter is not showing bubbles, repeat using a 12-hour flour and water feeding routine, and ensure the jar is kept in a constantly warm place. From now on you will be maintaining the starter. Feed this remaining starter with an equal amount of flour and water, using 100g/3½oz/¾ cup flour and 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water. Add this to the jar and combine thoroughly. Bear in mind that the amount of flour and water you add in should always exceed the amount of starter you begin with. Seal the lid and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 8: Remove two-thirds of the mixture, but do not forget to refresh your starter, adding the flour for Day 8 and 75ml/2½fl oz/5 tbsp of lukewarm water. Stir well with chopstick, cover and leave for 24 hours.

You could accelerate this process and remove and replace, twice a day.

 

Finally, it’s time for action! Wait until your starter doubles in volume, take off 75g, then follow my instructions for a sourdough loaf (Click link to view.)

Final, final check, take out a teaspoon of starter from the jar and drop it in a glass of water; if it floats you are set to go!

 

How to keep your ‘mother’ looking good!

 

Firstly, if you’re not planning to bake with the starter imminently, transfer it to the fridge.

If you see a thin liquid appear on top of your starter, that’s called ‘hooch’. It develops when you haven’t fed your sourdough frequently enough. Simply pour it off when you go to feed your starter next.

To maintain your ‘mother’, remove her from the fridge at least once a week and pour two-thirds into a bowl; save in the fridge for pancakes.Stir in your ‘maintenance’ flour and 75ml/2½fl oz/5 tbsp lukewarm water. Reseal it and let it rise at room temperature for 8–12 hours if you’re planning to bake that day, or return her to the fridge.

 
Extracted from Spelt by Roger Saul © Roger Saul 2015
Published by Nourish Books, London. 
Hardback £16.99
Commissioned photography by Lara Holmes & Neil White






5th October 2020

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