Sourdough bread is one that has been around for centuries, and with many health benefits. The purpose of the starter is to create a vigorous leaven and to develop the flavour of the bread itself.
How to make a sourdough starter
The recipe from BBC Food uses natural yoghurt to give the starter a helping hand by introducing friendly bacteria into the mix.
To kickstart the sourdough, you will need 175ml skimmed milk and 75ml (5 tbsp) fresh, live, full-fat plain yoghurt.
On the first day, heat the milk in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Place the yoghurt into a bowl and stir in the warmed milk.
After that, cover and leave in a warm place for around 12 to 24 hours until the mixture has thickened. Stir in any liquids that may have separated during the time.
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You will need 120g of strong white flour.
On day two, stir the strong white flour into the yoghurt mixture, making sure it is evenly distributed.
Cover and leave at room temperature (at about 20C) for two days.
The mixture should then be full of bubbles and start smelling like a sourdough.
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After you left the mixture our for two days, you will need 180g of strong white flour, 100ml of water and 40ml (3 tbsp|) of milk.
On day four (after leaving it to rest throughout day 3), add the measured flour to the starter with the water and the milk.
Cover and leave at warm room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
You will need 150g of strong white flour and 150ml of water.
On day five the starter should be quite active and now full of small bubbles.
Remove half of the starter and discard. Add the flour and the water to the remaining mixture and mix thoroughly.
Cover and leave at warm room temperature for 24 hours.
By day six, the starter should be good and ready to use.
You can keep the starter at room temperature but you will need to feed it daily. Combine equal parts of the starter, water and flour and mix thoroughly.
You may have to get rid of some of the starter so you don’t end up with too much. Keep it covered and use when needed.
If you do not bake very often, keep the starter covered in the fridge and feed it once every five days or so by mixing equal parts of starter, flour and water.
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