Sourdough starter is an essential part of traditional breadmaking. Also known as leaven, mother or ferment, it will take your baking to the next level.
This time-honoured method requires care and attention, but your efforts will be rewarded with loaves that last longer, have better texture, more flavour and are easier to digest.
This starter is from our own Bakery at Daylesford and is full of friendly bacteria and wild yeasts that naturally exist in the environment. As such, this starter is unique, with a distinctive flavour and aroma that captures the very essence of the Cotswolds.
As you keep and tend to your sourdough starter (see instructions below), it may collect ambient bacteria and yeast from your home, developing its characteristics and becoming even more special.
Sourdough starter is ideal for creating your own artisan loaves at home, such as our favourite seven seed sourdough bread. Watch this video from the Daylesford Cookery School for top tips on using your starter in breadmaking.
You can also use sourdough starter to boost flavour and rise in many other baking recipes, from pancake batter to sponge cakes and chocolate brownies.
Minimum shelf life 3 days (until fed)
How to use
This jar can yield an endless number of excellent loaves – if you keep your starter thriving.
To maintain a vigorous starter that is actively bubbling and rising, you must feed it with flour and lukewarm water to keep refreshing and re-activating its properties.
We recommend 100% flour and 60% liquid – this is a higher proportion of flour than other examples you might see, which usually suggest 1 part flour to 1 part water. Our ratio creates a starter that is more stable and easier to maintain. If you like, you could gradually adapt the ratio over time to fit with your preferred recipe.
Feeding your starter makes it grow, so if you are not going to use up your starter with daily baking and want to avoid having huge quantities of exponentially growing sourdough starter, it’s a good idea to keep quantities small and discard the rest. For example, you could measure out 50g of starter into a clean jar or bowl, add 50g flour and 30g water and stir well.
It’s up to you how much starter you keep and feed but whatever quantity of starter you measure out, follow the feeding ratios to make sure your starter gets the correct amount of flour and water.
Find a larger, clean bowl or jar, pop it onto your scales, tare the scales so they read 0g, tip in the amount of starter you want to feed and add in the correct amount flour and water.
Stir well, and feel free to give the mixture a stir from time to time to make sure it’s happily bubbling away.
Depending on how often you bake, your starter can be kept at room temperature and fed every 1-2 days, or it will happily rest in the fridge as long as you take it out and feed it every few days.
Don’t waste your discarded sourdough starter – it can be used in cooking, kept in the fridge to use later, added to compost or given away to friends who might like to try their hand at traditional baking.
There is a wealth of resources about maintaining sourdough starters, tips for creating artisan loaves at home and ideas for using up sourdough discard online.
There is also detailed information to be found the pages of A Love For Food.
glass clip-top jar