I’d like to introduce you to my Sourdough Starter, named Fluffy Muffy. Yes, she has a name and is without a doubt one of the best presents I have ever received. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you probably have heard and seen me talk about Fluffy Muffy way too much. But since I am a college student and doesn’t really jive well with having a pet, I have come to the realization that Fluffy Muffy is the perfect pet for a foodie.
My roommate ordered the starter from King Arthur Flour and can we just talk about how cute the box is? I’m a sucker for little things like that! The set came with the starter, ceramic container, and directions.
The set from King Arthur came with a starter and directions, but I have also found this website to be very informational on how to make your own starter.
I followed these directions to grow my little Fluffy Muffy:
Add 1/4 cup lukewarm bottled water to the starter container and stir to partially dissolve the starter. Place dissolved solution into a large ceramic or glass container. Add 1 1/4 cups lukewarm bottles water and 2 cups AP Flour. Mix loosely, cover the container, and let sit at a cool room temperature for 8-12 hours. it should expand and become bubbly, or at least start to bubble. Stir the starter and discard about half; this will bring the acidity to the proper level.
Mix in 1//2 cup water and 1 cup of flour. Let sit for another 2-3 hours, or until it starts to show bubbles again. Divide it in half one more. Feed the remaining half with 1/2 cup lukewarm bottled water and 1 cup flour. Let rest for another 2-4 hours. Now the starter can be used, or refrigerated in a covered container.
How to keep your sourdough starter alive?
I’ve seen mixed reviews of the water to flour ratio you are supposed to use to keep your sourdough starter alive. I’ve tried a variety of suggestions but I have been discarding ~ 1 cup of my starter then feeding it 1/2 cup lukewarm bottled water and 1 cup AP flour.
How often to feed your starter?
If you are not planning to use your starter for over a week, it can be refrigerated and fed once a week. I’m not really great at “planning” when a sourdough bread craving is going to hit so I keep my starter out on the kitchen counter and feed it every 1-3 days. But if you do refrigerate your starter, make sure you take it out 12 hours before planning to use it and feed it 1-2 times, allowing it to bubble before using it.
My First Loaf of Sourdough Bread
For my first whack at making sourdough bread, I decided to use my bread machine to reduce the possibility of error. I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour:
1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups AP Flour
2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Place ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the above order. Program for French Bread or a similar long-rising cycle and press start.
Next, Fluffy Muffy Went Whole Wheat!!!
I was a little bit nervous about introducing whole wheat flour to my Fluffy Muffy but after a quick consultation with Google, I deemed it okay. I started out alternating between feeding Fluffy Muffy AP Flour and Whole Wheat Flour so she is a bit of a hybrid. When I add AP Flour I use 1/2 cup lukewarm bottled water and 1 cup flour but with Whole Wheat Flour I add 1/2 cup lukewarm bottled water and ~7/8 cup flour.
And it worked!!! She stayed alive! I wanted to bake a loaf using whole wheat flour as well so I adapted one of the King Arthur Flour recipes that came with my starter.
1 cup fed sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth, soft dough, adding a bit of additional flour if needed. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and shape into two oval loaves. Place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. cover and let rise untill very puffy, about 60 minutes. Slash the tops and bake in an oven at 425°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
Nutty and crusty sourdough bread, YUM.