Sourdough Starter-Along: Day 1 - A Half-Ounce Flour and an Ounce of Water

Editor's Note: Whether you're a bread baker or a pizzamaker (or you want to be), we thought you'd enjoy following Donna Currie as she grows a new sourdough starter. She'll show us every step along the way, but it'll be even more fun if you roll up your sleeves and join her! Today is Day One. In case you missed it, here's Day Zero.

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[Photograph: Donna Currie]

Day 1
Stir together 1/2 ounce flour and 1 ounce water in your container. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out on the counter. That's it. See you tomorrow for Day 2!

My goal with this project was to come up with a method for getting a sourdough starter going that would be easy for anyone. I also didn't want to end up with an excess of starter that would have to be thrown away. So I started with a very small amount. I find that starters seem to work better if they're very wet at the beginning, so I started with 1/2 ounce of flour and 1 ounce of water. That's all.

It's best to measure with a scale, but if you don't have one, don't worry. 1/2 ounce of flour is pretty easy to measure consistently (even though we're breaking all the rules of measuring properly here). Here's how to do it: Use your handy tablespoon measure and dip it into the flour, then press it against the side of the container so that you're compacting it in the process. Move it back and forth a bit to level it, and you'll be close enough to 1/2 ounce for this starter recipe. Add one ounce of water and stir it up.

Cover the jar with plastic wrap and store on the kitchen counter. Do not refrigerate Now, forget about it until tomorrow.

While your just-started starter sits, the enzymes in the flour get to work, and some of the starch in the flour starts converting to sugar. And then the hordes arrive. Bacteria, yeast, and all sorts of critters join the feast...at least for a little while, until all the little beasts battle it out to see who survives. I'm betting on the bread beasties. How about you?

To Start from the Beginning or Skip Ahead...

Day Zero: What You'll Need »
Day 1: A Half-Ounce Flour and an Ounce of Water
Day 2: No Feeding, Just Stirring »
Day 3: Feed Me More Flour! »
Day 4: 100% Hydration »
Day 5: Keep Feeding and Stirring! »
Day 6: Keep Stirring and Feeding! »
Day 7: Feed and Wait »
Day 8: Getting Close! »
Day 9: First Harvest »
Day 10: Second Harvest »
Day 11: Time for Storage »
What Happens If You Neglect Your Sourdough Starter »

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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