Best results for sourdough starter are
obtained from rye rather than wheat flour, perhaps because rye contains
a lower phytate content than wheat. You will need two gallon-sized
bowls. Total time to make the starter is 1 week.
Grind 2 cups flour and let it sit for a bit to cool.
In one large
bowl, mix flour with 2 cups of cold water.
The mixture should be
Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth secured with
a rubber band--this will allow yeasts and bacteria to get in but will
keep insects out.
In warm weather, you may set the bowl outside in
the shade if you live in an unpolluted area and no pesticides have been
used in your garden.
Otherwise, keep it in a warm open area
indoors or on a patio.
The next day and every day for a total of 7 days...
Transfer the starter
to the other clean bowl and add 1 cup freshly ground rye flour plus
enough cold water to make a soupy mixture.
Cover and let stand.
After a few days...
The starter will begin to bubble and develop a
It should go through a bubbly, frothy stage and
After 7 days...
The starter is ready for bread making.
Use 2 quarts for a batch of sourdough bread but save 1 quart for your
next batch of starter.
If not using remaining starter immediately,
you may store it in airtight jars in the refrigerator or freezer.
Do not be tempted to add honey to your starter, as some recipes require.
Honey encourages the proliferation of yeasts at the expense of
lactic-acid-production bacteria and may give you an alcoholic
To start a new batch of starter...
Place the quart of leftover starter in
a clean bowl.
Add 1 cup freshly ground rye flour plus water each
day, changing bowls, until 3 quarts are obtained.