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Making a Sourdough Starter Part III

Updated on August 10, 2013
After developing this sourdough starter for about 4 months, I made these delicious loaves. They are sourdough harvest grain boules. Don't let the rustic appearance fool you; I just haven't perfected my dough slashing skills!
After developing this sourdough starter for about 4 months, I made these delicious loaves. They are sourdough harvest grain boules. Don't let the rustic appearance fool you; I just haven't perfected my dough slashing skills!

*If you are just tuning in, please refer to Part I and Part II of this series before proceeding. Feel free to read the article below, but for recipe directions from the beginning, you will need to reference the series in order.

The Waiting Game

Days 3 through 6 of creating your sourdough starter are a lot of the same. Feed, wait, feed, wait, feed, wait. If your attention span is a little lacking, you may grow restless with this part of the process, so I thought we could use a little reminder of why we are doing this.

The way a person experiences food is a large part of his/her life. “Eat to live, don’t live to eat,” is a common saying among health fanatics. I agree, in part, with this sentiment, and there have been times in my life when I followed it very closely, analyzing every detail of everything I put into my body. Being health-conscious is a good thing, but humans are made to enjoy food. We have taste buds, olfactory nerves, and salivary glands. Does your mouth water when you think of your favorite food? Do you associate nostalgic moments with smells? Can you remember the taste of your favorite food as a child? If you do, I bet none of these thoughts call to mind a plastic wrapper. I remember sitting in my grandmother’s lap while she cut the top off an apple we had picked from a tree in the yard. Using a spoon, she scraped the inside of the apple out and fed it to me one bite at a time. It was tart and sweet all at once. It tasted like summer, and it felt like love. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories, and I would not change it for anything. Food is a tradition. It is a part of our heritage. It is a part of who we are. Let’s enjoy it…good things in moderation.

Tasteless Bread

Robert Orben, a long-standing comedian and speechwriter said, “I understand the big food companies are developing a tearless onion. I think they can do it — after all, they’ve already given us tasteless bread.” While Mr. Orben is making a joke here, is that not the essence of what has happened? Much of what we eat is so processed it is difficult to distinguish any real flavors, not to mention nutrition. A real loaf of bread should not be able to sit on the counter and stay fresh for a month. Real bread has flavor and natural ingredients. Real bread becomes stale and grows mold with time, because it is real. But real bread rarely lasts long enough to get stale and grow mold, because people eat it! When you go out to dinner and the server places a basket of hot bread on your table before the meal, it does not look or smell anything like the packaged, flavorless stuff at the supermarket. I can’t count the number of times I have been out to dinner with friends or family and heard people (including myself) say, “Oh, I love the bread here!” Bread does not need to be a bland experience. Bread does not have to be doctored up with spreads and toppings to be edible. Bread can be delicious and nutritious!

Are you ready to get back to growing your sourdough starter now? Let’s do this!

Day #3 Recipe Steps

Step 1: Stir down the sourdough starter.

It looks a little different than yesterday. That is okay. The starter is adjusting to the addition of the all-purpose flour (APF).

Stirring down the starter on Day #3

Reserve 4 oz. of the baby starter and discard the remainder.
Reserve 4 oz. of the baby starter and discard the remainder.

Step 2: Measure out 4 oz. of the starter.

You will keep this and discard the rest. We are almost to the point where we can use the discard starter in recipes, but I am still not ready to do that today. Maybe tomorrow.

Feed the starter 4 oz. of all-purpose flour and 4 oz. of non-chlorinated water. Use fewer dishes by putting the water in the bowl you used to measure out your reserved starter. I tare the scale in between adding the water and flour.
Feed the starter 4 oz. of all-purpose flour and 4 oz. of non-chlorinated water. Use fewer dishes by putting the water in the bowl you used to measure out your reserved starter. I tare the scale in between adding the water and flour.

Step 3: Put the reserved 4 oz. of starter back into its home and add 4 oz. of APF (about 1 cup) and 4 oz. of non-chlorinated lukewarm water (½ cup). Stir well, leaving no dry flour.

Step 4: Remember to scrape down the sides of the container to prevent mold growth.

Step 5: Cover the sourdough starter, return it to its warm spot, and wait 12 hours.

From now through the end of day 6, we will feed the baby starter the same meal every 12 hours. Each time, you will need to discard all but 4 oz. of the sourdough starter before feeding. Tomorrow we should be able to begin using the "discard" starter in recipes. I will hunt down some good recipes for discard starter and post links to those in the upcoming days.

Once the starter has reached maturity, we will be able to store the sourdough starter in the refrigerator and feed it much less frequently, While it is at room temperature, it needs a constant feeding schedule. Remember, the yeast is alive and as such, it needs sustenance.

That’s it for today! Remember to feed your starter every 12 hours through day 6. I’ll check back at that time and talk about using the starter in recipes for sourdough breads and maintaining the starter in the fridge.

Applesauce

Just after my grandmother passed, I wrote this tribute to the memory I mentioned before. I thought you might enjoy it.

My grandparents, who taught me the joy of food and family and love.
My grandparents, who taught me the joy of food and family and love.


When I was a little girl

You took my hand

And led me out to the apple tree.

We looked in the tree

And on the ground for the best apple.


We walked back to the house

To the kitchen table

And you pulled me up in your lap.

I watched you, amazed

At how you always knew

How to do everything

Just right.


You sliced off the top of the apple

And with a regular spoon

You turned the apple into applesauce,

Feeding me one bite at a time

Until it was gone.

Your arms wrapped around me

The whole time.


Every apple tree I see is a reminder

Of the way it felt to be held

In your lap, no fears.

Just love.

© 2012 Leah Wells-Marshburn

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    • Sherry Zugliani profile image

      Sherry Zugliani 

      5 years ago from Beaver, Pennsylvania

      Hello again ,and this is my 9th day into the birth of my very first starter using your recipe! Thank you and it has been fun, however, I couldn't seem to find you recipe for bread and my husband asked me To make a an Italian bread. Well I found an Italian sourdough bread recipe but it came out as hard as a brick I don't know quite sure what I did wrong maybe too much flour. is this recipe hundred percent hydration I was thinking it was from the measurements of the recipe.I used a recipe for the Italian sourdough bread that called for 100% hydration sour dough starter. I would like to find a recipe for nutritional yeast or a recipe for a softer sourdough using my sourdough starter that I got from you. Any suggestions All recipes I have found use conventional yeast as part of the recipe along with the whole-wheat sourdough starter this is not what I want I want to just use organic natural yeast, nutritional yeast or sourdough starter for my yeast. Thanks again for your thoughts and time and encouragement! Sherry. By the way did you make that recipe you were thinking about making last conversation?

    • nurseleah profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Wells-Marshburn 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      brenda12lynette, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I do hope you let me know how it goes if you try it out!

    • brenda12lynette profile image

      brenda12lynette 

      5 years ago from Utah

      This is wonderful!! I just read the first three and can't wait for the next installment!! I think I might have to try this out.

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