Ah, the beloved sourdough. After switching to a traditional food lifestyle, we gave up all grains for a while. No pasta, no bread (no, not even the homemade bread I’d been making–until I started soaking it). Unless properly prepared (soaked, sprouted, or fermented) all grains contain anti nutrients that will inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. What does that mean in English? The grains you’re eating are preventing your body from getting what it needs from the foods you’re eating.
So, I started buying sourdough about a year ago. Real sourdough. You see, real sourdough will have only a few ingredients. Most of the sourdough at the store is made using lots of unnecessary ingredients, simply because they’re not letting it ferment long enough. A real sourdough won’t have much more than flour, sourdough starter, water, and salt in them.
And guess what the list of ingredients we need to make our own sourdough starter is even shorter than that. Flour and water. That’s it. Since the ingredient list is so short, we want to make sure we’re using quality ingredients.
Flour for Sourdough Starter
We are going to keep this as simple as possible. I put off making my own sourdough because I had read the certain flours did better. Flours that I don’t normally have, like rye or spelt. You certainly can use those, but you know what else you can use? Unbleached all-purpose. Yep, just plain ‘ol flour will work. Please, at the very minimum, buy organic unbleached all-purpose flour. Please. Not only should we try to avoid the pesticides in/on most of our foods, it’s even more important since this flour will be used to ferment. You can get Bob’s Red Mill here.
Water for Sourdough Starter
Again, since we are only using 2 ingredients, quality is vital here. Most of our tap water is adulterated with environmental chemicals, hormones from birth control and other drugs, and of course the lovely things that are added to our water–like fluoride and chlorine. None of these things will be beneficial to our starter (or our health!). Folks, it’s time you know this as well: Most bottled water comes from the tap. Meaning, it’s no better than drinking from the faucet. There are so many water purifying systems on the market today, how do we know which ones will filter out most of what’s in our water? To be honest, not many of them. We saved up for a few months and finally bought a Berkey system. And we’ll never look back.
Large Glass Jar
I use this jar for my sourdough. I actually have about 5 and use them for sourdough, kombucha, and storage. I love ’em! You just want a jar large enough to accommodate all of your sourdough. We’ll be adding to it for at least 5 days. Two reasons we use glass. One, so you can see exactly what’s happening with your starter. You can see how much it’s grown and how active it is (by the bubbles). Two, glass is not a porous material, so we know that our starter will not be compromised by things leaching from the container.
Wooden Spoon or Rubber Scraper
Fermented foods can react negatively with metal objects so try to use a non-metallic spoon to always mix your starter. I just use a rubber scraper like this one.
I know, I know. You’re feeling good going through the ingredients and other tools until this very point. Why? Because so far you’ve had everything you’ve needed to make a sourdough starter. Until now. Honestly, if the only thing stopping you from making a sourdough starter is not having a food scale…get a food scale! I’m giving you permission. This is the one thing I didn’t have, so I literally put off making this nutrient-packed, delicious food for 10 months. No, I’m not kidding. It’s worth the money and you can use it for SO many different recipes. I actually use mine to weigh the package I send through my Etsy shop. I love this scale for both weighing food ingredients and boxes!
That’s it, folks. Once you’ve got all these things assembled, come on back here for a Sourdough Starter Tutorial!