Before we even start, if you’ve already tried this recipe and are having trouble getting your sourdough starter to the “very-active” stage, or if your loaves aren’t rising well, or if they’re too dense, you can skip to the Troubleshooting tips below… scroll waaaay down. If you’re new to this page, start right here with this post about sourdough starter. –Jeff
This sourdough starter recipe appears in The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day–and also in The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You can create sourdough starter (in French, levain) easily and without dedicating your whole day to the project. In fact, it only takes a few minutes a day to get your starter up and running. It really is that easy, but it takes several days to “strengthen” your starter enough to actually use it to rise a batch of bread.
All you need to make your sourdough starter is flour, water and a container to keep it in. Nothing special or fancy. Just make sure the container can hold at least two quarts. You’ll see some Baking Bloopers below of what happens if your container is too small.
Once you have created your starter you can use it to bake beautiful loaves, with or without added yeast. The flavor is incredible and you will still be making a large batch of dough and storing it for up to a week, so you will do the work on one day for many loaves.
To make the starter:(more…)