Sourdough Starter 101 aka “Bingo” 101

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For about three years I have been perfecting my sourdough starter. I first learned about fermenting foods through my obsession with the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. Since then I inherited starter from a friend. Then it died. I don’t think I fed it properly. But instead of asking for more I decided to start my own. I researched many different ways to do this. I could of course just buy a starter culture but instead, I decided to just simply start it from scratch the old fashion way. By adding flour and water and letting is sit. Taking some out and then adding more flour and water and letting it sit. Since that time I have made many wonderful breads, pizzas, crepes, breakfast muffins, english muffins, pasta, focaccia, waffles and pancakes. The skies the limit.

Now, first things first. Sourdough starter is living! So of course, our daughter had to name it. She was three at the time and donned our starter the nickname “Bingo.” I think it had something to do with our daughters obsession with the song that she was learning from Alex at Yellowbird Music.

Secondly, after doing a ton of research I settled on the following sourdough starter method from localharvest.org. However, I used this site for inspiration and the method I came up with to create a sourdough starter is as follows:

1. Purchase a large glass cookie jar to hold the starter in. When I first just used a mason jar I found that if I added too much flour and water the jar would overflow. Now I never have that problem.

2. Create a ratio of three parts flour to one part water. Mix it together, cover with a cloth over the jar and let sit for 24 hours, then discard a couple of tablespoons of starter and start all over again. You should do this for about a week until the starter is bubbly and you can see it rise and fall within each 24 hour period. Store on the counter out of direct sunlight. If you need to go out of town either put your starter in the fridge (it can last one week like this) or freeze it, or ask a neighbor to watch your starter. It is living for goodness sake 🙂

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Now that my starter is three years strong, I have adapted my starter recipe to maintain it. This is what works for me:
1. I feed “Bingo” every evening before I go to bed. This way when it is time to feed my starter I either just add flour and water (three parts flour to one part water) or before I feed “Bingo” I take some out so I can prep something for the next day like bread, pasta or muffins to name a few.

2. I always check to see that I have a think consistency. If it is too runny I add more flour and if it is too thick I simply add more water (usually a tablespoon at a time). That’s it. Super simple. Well, mostly simple. Get your sourdough starter going!  Or if you are Santa Barbara ask me for some, I am happy to share it with you.

Until next post when I show you how to make sourdough bread!

Emma

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