Where do I start writing about this subject?
A lot to say but I guess you know about sourdough something or you have heard about it. Seems the trend of it boomed during the pandemic lockdowns. I am slightly disturbed of the way sometimes older practices are taken in the west and made into trends and they get to be seen as snobbish. No, I am not in any trend, I am into natural stuff and making as much from scratch as possible.
This is not a recipe blog but I believe in sharing journeys also when it comes to food. I will share my journey into making a sourdough starter from scratch.
So, my relationship with the sourdough started, “officially” about 2 years ago in Ireland. Nicoleta, a lovely Italian lady, had sourdough and talked to me about it, also I tasted the bread she made…and oh my…I was sold. Not knowing that to make that type of bread I tasted it’s a loooong way for me to go. But I got this “baby” in jar, accordingly to the tradition of where it came from, I gave it a name: Cocutza, a word from Romanian, it’s a diminutive from cocă which mean dough. I nurture it, sometimes forgot it for a while in the fridge, but recovered it after and learn how to make sourdough bread, so that mean not using commercial yeast. I have made all sorts of experiments, not all successful, some great some average. It’s been a good journey but when I had to move countries it came to an end.
After almost one year without guess what I decided to do? Yep, start my own one, I want to go through the process of starting it from scratch. I am a baking enthusiast and even though I had many successes with dry yeast I just want to make this way, sourdough would have been the way people made bread forever, plus it is better for the gut, plus it gives an amazing flavour to baked goods.
I do not intend this to be a guide, I am just sharing my journey in making it, day by day, if someone finds it helpful, even better.
I already knew som stuff about it but to actually make it from scratch I followed instructions from Vindi at My Love of Baking, a blog that thought me a lot and I made lots of nice things form her recipes.
This post will be a daily journal where I will post as this develops, if it’s going bad you will know, if I will succeed to have an active starter at the end, it will be given a name!
Flour and water, that’s it all starts. I mixed really well, until they became creamy and put them in a transparent jar so I can see what is happening. covered it loosely with a kitchen towel to leave air to circulate that is what makes the process possible.
I began the process at 20:00 hours.
21:00h: The instructions says first needs to stay for up to 48h, depending on how warm or cold it is. Outside now there are 34 to 38 degrees, inside we use the AC on and off. In the kitchen there is no direct AC sometimes is quite warm when I cook but then it cools down. So I left the jar in the kitchen and next evening I had this…bubbles! Looks like something is definitely happening, it does not smell bad, no white, blue, green spots on top. So let’s leave it another day.
I am not sure this was the right decision.
Just realised I don’t have before picture for day 3. After it’s second night in the morning it looked even more bubbly and definitely a smell which I recognised from before also this time cheesy, that seems to be good. My worries are…is it too warm?
At about 14:40 I decided not to leave it for 48 hours, the heat speeds up the process, the smell intensified I didn’t want to take the risk of it going bad.
I discard half of it and mixed the other half with 1 cup of flour and half cup of water (room temperature). Mix them very well and put them back in the jar. This time I kept the jar also in the living room where is not that hot, especially overnight when AC is on.
After being gone all day I came back to a happy jar of bubbly sourdough. Definitely you can see air pockets inside, some activity happening, smells like it also but without being too much.
On the evening at 20:00 hours, I took out a couple of teaspoons from it and mix it with a 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 water. I cleaned the jar but not with soap just water, we don’t want to have a sterilised jar.
As you can see…never made it. Possible mistakes: 1. Too hot and left it too long in the beginning
2. AC, didn’t like being in the same room as the AC
3. It wasn’t strong enough for the feeding.
After a one day break I am doing it again.
What am I doing differently:
I used the scale instead of cups, I never like to use the comps for measuring, in baking that should not be the case because different elements have different densities. Everywhere I have seen people baking they all say the same thing: use the scale.
So 60 gr. of flour and 60 ml of warm water. I mixed them well, put them into the jar and also covered it with the lid, loosely not just a napkin like before.
From what I researched these past 2 days, warm spot is better, the temperature in my kitchen is good. which is 26-28 C. Previously I guess the night spent in the more cooler living room was not beneficial.
Yeyyy!! Today, after 24 hours, looks like a little activity is happening, nothing major, no big smell, slower than the previous one but I feel is going good. Will see tomorrow how is going to be.
48h later it looked a bit bubbly but on top looked a bit unhappy as in started to have a little yellow spot. Smell was ok, a bit acidic but not bad.
I took out half of it and throw it, the other half I mixed it with 60 ml. of water and 60 gr. of flour. I mixed it very very well and put it back in the jar, as you can see all smooth and nice. This time I didn’t leave it in the kitchen, the hottest room, but also not in a room with AC, I put it in the hallway.
The feedings are continuing. It looks good on the 4th evening, a bit bubbly, a little bit of smell. Again, I discard half of it, mixed the other half with 60 gr. of flour and 60 ml. of water and put them back on the jar…and also trying to make an instagram reel at the same time which was not successful hehehe…:)
Day V, VII
2 feeding later my starter has grown! Finally!
As you can see in this poor photo, it’s almost doubled.
I have lost hope at some point honestly. We shall see tomorrow…It might take more than a week.
And in the 7th day the starter has doubled, it is filled with bubbles and it smells really nice.
Tomorrow there will be the “baptism” !
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