RECIPE: I realised I should probably provide the recipe for sourdough starter I’m using, since I’ve been publishing all sorts of recipes using the starter discard. I tweaked the recipe with a suggestion from another cookbook by adding a few sticks of chopped rhubarb to the initial batch of starter. This helps to trigger the fermentation process.
PREPARATION: It’s a simple process, just follow the instructions below. If a clear dark liquid layer appears, especially on top, drain it off and feed the starter to try and revive it. If it deflates and falls in on itself, feed the starter and cool it down. Keep in mind it takes longer to work than commercial yeast.
IMPRESSION: My starter looked pretty good by week 2 but didn’t have that ripe sourdough smell until week 3. It’s worked well in my first loaves of bread, so it must have worked!
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam & David McGuinness
Day 1: In a clean bucket or container add 50ml water to 50g plain flour.
Day 2: To your base of 100g, add 50ml water and 50g plain flour. Stir them together with a spoon and cover with plastic wrap to set aside overnight.
Day 3: The starter should weight 200g. Add 100ml water and 100g flour, stirring together and covering overnight.
Day 4: Add 200ml water and 200g flour.
Day 5: The total weight of your starter should now be 800g. You need to reduce the starter weight to 100g and discard the remainder (or use it in other recipes like sourdough crackers). Add another 50ml water and 50g flour, stir it in and cover with plastic wrap overnight.
Repeat the above and the starter should be ready in about three weeks. There’s a slight change in the feeding schedule immediately prior to baking bread.
The starter is left at room temperature. Do not use a sealed container, especially when the starter is very active, because the gases will cause the lid to pop. You can leave the starter at room temperature, but if it’s a hot day, say over 26 degrees Celcius, keep it in the refrigerator between feeds. You could also try refrigerating it during the heat of the day, then keeping it out once the room cools down. Once established, the starter can survive in the refrigerator being fed only every 2-4 days. If you intend to bake bread, you will need to revive the starter several days beforehand. You can also freeze the starter, but it must be placed in a sterilised container when it is at its most active first.