How to care for your Sourdough Starter

At Baker Tom’s we have our very own Sourdough Starter (ferment) which has been nurtured by Tom and his skilled team of bakers for the last 15 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 CARE FOR YOUR STARTER 

Refrigerate soon after purchase

After your first use (200g of your 300g jar makes approx. 1 x 900g loaf), keep back 100g portion to use later. Add back in 100g of tepid water and 100g of rye flour (you can use any strong bread flour, but rye flour is what we use here at Baker Tom’s to create our classic starter for all our sourdoughs).

Store in the fridge or a cool place with the jar sealed tight. If you want to use it sooner, take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for a few hours.

Remember when you use some of your starter to make bread always keep 100g back and feed with equal parts water and flour.

A HEALTHY STARTER

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 re-weigh and add water and flour again

This will all become second nature before too long!

OUR RECIPE & HOW TO MAKE A CLASSIC SOURDOUGH 

Prep time: 30 mins + proving time

Cooking time: 40 – 45 mins

INGREDIENTS

500g Strong White flour

200g sourdough starter

325g Water

12g Salt

Semolina/Rye flour for dusting

METHOD

Mix all your ingredients together on a slow mix for 2 minutes, then speed up mic=xing for a further 8 minutes. Alternatively, hand knead for 15 minutes.

Once mixed, leave to rest, stretching and folding the dough every hour for 3 hours.

Gently shape the dough and place in your proving basket, lightly dusting with semolina or rye flour. Leave to prove for another 3-4 hours.

1 hour before baking, put a tray quarter filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven to add moisture. Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/Gas 7.

Gently tip the risen dough onto a lined baking tray. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes at this heat, then reduce to 200c/400f/Gas 6 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

 

Good Luck!
Tom

 

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