MAKING YOUR STARTER
Making a sourdough starter is a quick and simple process involving just two ingredients: flour and water. Following these steps, you should be ready to go in just 4 days...
Day 1: In a loosely sealed, clean pot or jar, mix 25g white flour with 25g warm water and leave somewhere warm (around 30-32C) .
Day 2: Feed with another 25g flour and 25g warm water. Again leave somewhere warm.
Day 3: Feed with 50g flour and 50g tepid water.
Day 4: Feed with 100g flour and 100g tepid water. After 8 hours, your starter will be lively and raring to go. Test it by putting into a glass of water. If ready, it should float on the water.
'FEEDING' AND MAINTAINING YOUR STARTER
To refresh your starter, take 100g of starter (discarding or using the rest) and add 100g water and 100g of flour, ie equal parts flour and water. Leave the refreshed starter at a warm room temperature for 8-12 hours before using what you need and replacing the rest in the refrigerator. If it is not required straight away, simply place in the fridge after a few hours.
Your starter will keep refrigerated for a couple of weeks (and can even be frozen!), but it is best to refresh it every 7-10 days even if not being used. If you have forgotten about your starter, all may not be lost. It may just survive. Stir in the liquid that has separated, then refresh morning and night for a couple of days, keeping your fingers crossed!
Wheat starters can be kept in a liquid state (usually 100% hydration) or a stiff state (usually 50% hydration). When following recipes, it is advisable to check whether the baker favours a stiff or liquid starter, as the difference will affect the final loaf.