At Baker Tom’s we have our very own Sourdough Starter (ferment) which has been nurtured by Tom and his skilled team of bakers over the years. It gives our long-fermented loaves their distinctive flavour.
The technique of making sourdough is one of the eldest methods of making bread in the world. Before commercial yeast was available, sourdough was made using natural fermentation of wild yeasts by leaving flour and water to ferment over a few days. The process of making sourdough is very slow, as the complex flour starch molecules break apart into simpler sugar molecules, releasing flavour over time. This means that each and every sourdough has a unique character attributed to the wild yeasts in the environment it is fermented in and the nursing and feeding it receives.
Now over to you!
How to feed and care for your Baker Tom Starter
Refrigerate soon after purchase
Refresh it every 2-3 days to keep it going: weigh it (250g of starter), mix it with 200g of water and 200g of strong white flour, mix into a firm dough, cover your bowl with a large split freezer bag and secure with an elastic band.
Leave in the fridge for 2-3 days in which time it will continue to ferment and expand very slowly ready for your next baking session.
If you want to use it sooner, take it out the fridge and leave it at room temperature for a few hours.
Remember when you use some of your starter to make bread (250g makes approx. 2 x 900g loaves), keep back a portion to use later
The recipe we recommend for your loaves is 250g of starter, 600g of water, 1 kilo of strong white flour, and a pinch of salt.
If you’re not going to bake for a while, you will need to keep refreshing your starter every few days. Remember that it will continue to expand so to avoid the starter taking over your fridge, keep back 250g of starter each time and discard the rest.
What does a healthy starter look like? As long as you can see signs of fermentation and it smells slightly acidic and alcoholic and has a stretchy, honeycomb texture then it is good to use.
Take it out the fridge for a few hours to reactive a starter that’s becoming dense and dormant, scraping off the top layer can help save a starter that’s about to turn. Once you’ve done that you need to reweigh, and add water and flour again
This will all become second nature before too long!