There are a few different approaches to make a sourdough starter - you can buy one, or borrow a bit from an active starter to get a new one started, or you can start one from scratch. You can use the Kikkerland Sourdough Starter Kit to get going!
We have shared below the method we used to create our rye sourdough starter, Stanley, from scratch (he is now a very handsome chap!). Even if you follow a different method to starting/maintaining your starter, the jar and components will still be the perfect receptacle for him/her.
Add 60g dark rye flour (6 level spoons) and 60g water (4 level spoons) to the jar and stir together. Cover your newborn with the breathable hat and leave at room temperature. Don’t forget to name him/her and add their date of birth!
Days 2 - 7
Each day, add 1 spoon of water and 1 spoon of rye flour to the jar and stir together. Cover with the breathable hat and leave at room temperature. By day 7, your starter should be bubbly and active and smell slightly alcoholic. This means he/she is ready to get to work!
When you are ready to bake with your starter, you should feed him/her with equal parts water and flour. For example, if your sourdough recipe requires 60g of starter, feed him/her with 30g (3 level spoons) of dark rye flour and 30g (2 level spoons) of water. Cover with the breathable hat and leave at room temperature. The starter should bubble up and is ready to bake with when it is around double its original size (the gauge on the jar will help keep track of this).
When not baking with your starter, he/she should live in the fridge with the lid sealed. If not being used for baking regularly, he/she should be fed with 3 level spoons of rye flour and 2 level spoons of water every two weeks and kept in the fridge. If you won’t be using your starter for a longer time, he/she can be frozen.
Cleaning the jar and spoon
Every now and then your jar will need a clean. Use the spoon to move your starter into another glass or ceramic dish temporarily while your jar is being cleaned. Remove the belt and rubber seal from your jar and clean thoroughly, either by hand or in the dishwasher. Once fully dry, replace the belt and seal and spoon your starter back into the jar. Your wooden spoon should be cleaned with warm soapy water and dried thoroughly after use. The spoon is not suitable for the dishwasher.
Sharing is caring
The best thing about your starter (aside from it bringing your bread to life) is that you can use him/her to create little starter children which you can share with your friends and family. Just grab another starter jar, spoon in some of your own starter (who now has a great name) and feed the offspring. A gift that will bring a lifetime of tasty bread!