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Ever wanted to keep a sourdough starter for baking delicious bread? In this Slow Food Live, we go over the basics of “capturing” your own wild culture, and how to feed and care for it. We also cover basic use in recipes and long-term storage options.

Chloe Newman is the owner, founder, and head-baker of Crust Worthy, a small-scale community-supported bakery in Pittsburgh, PA. Her baked goods are primarily sourdough-based, focusing also on whole grains, minimally-processed ingredients, and local, seasonal ingredients when possible. She loves teaching workshops on sourdough, and is happy to share her knowledge during this webinar!

To support Chloe and Crust Worthy:

1) Donate to @Chloe-Newman on Venmo
2) Purchase a Crust Worthy eGift Card — Gift cards are recommended for folks able to make purchases locally, in Pittsburgh. If you’d like to just donate instead, you can also specify a use for the amount donated by adding a message. For example, “Please use a portion of this $15 donation to gift a loaf of bread to someone in need” or “Please use this $50 donation to gift a bread subscription for someone in need.” Specifying donations isn’t necessary; you can just straight donate as well.

Materials needed:

Flour (all-purpose, white wheat, or whole wheat are all good choices)
Water
A clear, food-safe container
A kitchen scale (recommended, but not necessary)

Simple starter recipe:

Day 1:

  • Feed the starter with 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water.
  • Cover loosely, and let rest for 24 hours.

Day 2:

  • Remove 75 grams of “discard” starter. Save the discard in your fridge, or compost.
  • Feed the remaining 25 grams of starter with 50 grams of flour, and 50 grams of water.
  • Cover loosely, and let rest for 24 hours.

Day 3:

  • Remove 100 grams of “discard” starter. Save the discard in your fridge, or compost.
  • Feed the remaining 25 grams of starter with 50 grams of flour, and 50 grams of water.
  • Cover loosely, and let rest for 24 hours.

>> Repeat the steps from Day 3 for Days 4-7, or until you have a very bubbly, happy-looking starter! Your starter will be ready to use for baking bread when it doubles after about 10-12 hours.

How to use the discard:

If you’re not baking right away with your discarded starter, or you’re still getting it started (thus you are feeding daily and removing discard every day), you can save the discard for use in other recipes. A quick search online should get your creative juices flowing, but here are some good places to start:

The Perfect Loaf: My Top 3 Leftover Sourdough Starter Recipes
Cultures for Health: Sourdough Recipes
Pies and Tacos: Sourdough Tortillas

Recommended books to get started baking sourdough bread:

Sourdough by Sarah Owens (great for bread, and discard recipes as well!)
Bread Baking for Beginners by Bonnie Ohara
Tartine by Chad Robertson
Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish