How to make starter dough
2nd September 2020
What is sourdough starter (Mother Dough)?
You should ideally allow up to 14 days to create and prove your batch of starter dough. Also known as 'Mother Dough', pre-ferment or sourdough starter. Pre-preparing your dough in this way essentially negates the need to add any yeast, as it ferments spontaneously during the process of removing and adding fresh flour and water to 'feed' it daily.
Your ‘Mother Dough’ is the starting point to any good sourdough recipe.
10g strong white flour
10ml warm water
Mix to a paste, then put the paste into a glass jar or plastic tub either covered with muslin, or with the lid ajar and uncovered.
Leave the tub at room temperature. The room temperature air should help to ferment the paste.
Never make the container airtight as the paste expands in size and gives off gases as it does so which take up the space your paste needs to expand and could even cause the jar/tub to crack. A glass jar with a wide mouth is well-suited because it offers room to expand and is also easy to stir.
Remember your paste will expand.
Each day, add an additional 10g strong white flour and 10ml warm water.
Continue to mix gently once each day, then return to it’s position until the next day.
Once you have 100g of paste, this is the foundation of your sourdough starter and you now need to remove some and add fresh ingredients each day.
At this point the mixture should start to bubble and have a bit of body. It should also have a healthy sour smell.
Add 100ml of water and 100g of flour to your 100g of sourdough starter and mix gently. This gives you 300g of mother dough.
To start feeding your sourdough starter, do the following each day. From day 7, keep the mixture in the fridge rather than at room temperature. Each day, remove 200g of the mix and replace it with 100g of strong white flour plus 100ml cold water. This brings the mixture back to 300g. Mix well until it’s a smooth consistency. Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours to get the fermentation process going, then pop it in the fridge until you repeat the process tomorrow. Do this every day until day 14, removing 200g and adding the new flour and water each day.
By this point, the starter is strong enough to use to make sourdough bread. Remove the 200g you need and set this aside to make your Sourdough Loaf or buns. Add 100g flour and 100ml cold water to the remainder of the sourdough starter, so that you bring the mixture back to 300g. This can be kept in the fridge and fed with more flour and water each day to use in future batches.
Remove the sourdough starter you are ready to bake with, and leave it at room temperature for 12 hours before you intend to use it.