Sour dough starter

I wanted to make Danish rye bread, which is a sour dough bread. I thought I would give making my own non-yeast starter a try, referencing the recipe for a chef starter in On Baking (a pastry textbook), as well as Camilla Plum’s (Danish TV chef – link is in Danish).In the end it turned out really well, and it was not difficult at all. It just requires a little time.

Ingredients:

  • 300 ml spring or filtered water
  • handful of organic blueberries or grapes
  • 150 g wheat flour
  • 150 g dark rye flour
  • 1 tsp honey

The On Baking recipe called for organic grapes, to help create the fermentation, but since I had none, I used organic blue berries; they worked well.

Camilla Plum’s version had honey/syrup and/or yogurt, I tried adding a little honey to help with fermentation too.

Since I wanted to make rye bread, I wanted to use half rye flour, but you can make it with any flour containing gluten.

Since tap water as chlorine in it which will kill the very small amount of yeast you will start with, it is recommended to use spring or filtered water. I suppose you could also have the water standing in the open a day or two – aeration will break down the chlorine.

Method:

Day 1:

Mix 50 g wheat flour, 50 g rye flour, 100 ml of water, the berries and honey in a small bowl. Cover tightly and keep a room temperature

Day 2:

Pick out the berries, and add another 50 g of each flour and 100 ml water. Mix vigoursly. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature

Day 3:

After 12-24 hours the mixture should be bubbly and smell sourly. Mix the last flour and water in.

After another 6-24 hours the mixture should be ready to use, all bubbly again.  I didn’t wait more than half a day, but ideally you should wait 24 hours I suppose.

Either use right away, or keep in a tightly locked container in the fridge.

When using the starter, always leave a little in your container, and add as much of your mixed, risen dough back to the starter as you took out.

Every 4 to 5 days, feed the starter a bit of flour and water and leave it at room temperature for 5-6 hours. This will keep the sour dough going until next time you bake.

Watch out – you now have something alive in your fridge!

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