A simple sourdough starter from rye flour.
- Organic rye flour, freshly milled
- Filtered water
- Widemouth glass jar with a lid, sanitized
Use the freshest rye flour that you can find. The freshest flour will contain more of the beneficial lacto-bacillus bacteria on the grain, and fewer spoilage micro-organisms. If you are milling it yourself, use organic whole rye berries to make your sourdough starter. You’ll need about 2 to 3 lbs to get a thriving sourdough starter if you are starting from nothing.
Day 1: Mix ½ cup of rye flour with ½ cup of water in a glass jar. Mix well and cover with a loose lid.
Day 2: Add ½ cup of rye flour and ½ cup of water. Mix well. By now you should see some bubbles start to form.
Day 3: By now your mixture should be bubbly and beginning to rise in the jar. If not, repeat Day 2. If it is active and has started to rise, remove ½ of the starter, and throw it away. Replace with ½ cup of rye flour and ½ cup of water. By tossing out some of your starter and adding fresh flour and water, you reduce the alcohol bacteria and give the yeast a chance to strengthen in the starter.
The lactic acid bacteria need more time to reproduce than the yeast bacteria, so by tossing out some of the starter, you remove some of the yeast and give the lactic acid a better chance to populate your starter.
Day 4: By now your culture should be active and able to double or triple in volume in a 24 hour period. At this point, again remove ½ your starter and toss it out. Replace with ½ cup of rye flour and ½ cup of water.
Day 5: Your starter should double or triple in volume after each fresh addition. If it doesn’t repeat day 4 until it does. Once it is reliably active you can let your starter rest on the counter for a few days.
Day 6 – 8: Your starter is resting and developing a fruity smell. Your starter is ready to bake bread when it doubles in volume within 8 hours.