Sourdough Bread Starter | Whole Wheat | All-Purpose Flour | Gluten Free Flour Recipe How To Tips and Tricks
Breads & Muffins, DIY, Recipe

Sourdough Starter | Whole Wheat | All-Purpose Flour | Gluten Free

I used to be intimidated by sourdough starters! You guys – they are really so easy and so forgiving.

Now in one respect they are kind of like a child, in that you will have to take care of her and feed her.

However, in a good way, they too are like children – forgiving and easy going. They also surprise you and grow very quickly!

In fact, we came to love our starters so much that we named them! We made the whole-wheat starter for our family, and then additionally made a gluten-free starter to trial for you! Our whole wheat starter is Lucy, and our gluten-free starter is Ethel! Lucy & Ethel!

So here’s the skinny on the tools you’ll need, AND I have links listed on my AMAZON SHOP for you RIGH HERE AND HERE: https://www.amazon.com/shop/foodallergypi

  1. 2 (32 oz or 1000ml) wide mouth mason jars (one extra to use while cleaning the original container)
  2. Flour sack cloth dish towels (for covering starter, and also for wrapping baked bread for storage)
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Long handle wooden spoons (my favorite way to stir my stater)
  5. Plastic spatulas (to scrape down sides of starter container and keep clean longer)
  6. Covered bowls with lids
  7. Flexible turning spatula (for making sourdough pancakes with the starter discard … in a separate recipe)
  8. Allergy friendly flour of choice (whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten free measure for measure). *Gluten free blend, I had success with King Arthur brand.
  9. Roasting pan (for baking bread)
  10. Dutch Oven (for baking bread)
  11. Sourdough baskets (optional)
  12. Sourdough lame (optional)

If you are starting your sourdough, plan to be at home for the next couple weeks. You can always stick her in the fridge if you need to leave town, but it’s ideal to get her “going” and “growing” to be able to feed her a couple times a day for about a good week or so.

Day 1

Today you will get a clean glass jar, add 1 C flour and 1/2 C water. When adding the flour and water whether on day one or 5, I usually have to add a smidge more water anywhere from 1T to 1/4 C. You want the consistency to be like cream of wheat, nut butter or refried beans. Not too watery, and not too thick.

I like to give it a good stir with the handle end of a wooden spoon. I started out using longer forks, but had trouble getting a good handle on it to stir well even through the wide mouth opening. To keep my jar as clean as possible, after each feeding and stirring, I then grab a rubber spatula and give the inside of my jar a quick “squeegie” around the walls to keep it clean. Then you’ll simply cover the jar with the flour sack cloth. You can use any towel, I just love these because they are thinner and let more air through while still keeping your starter clear of foreign contaminants. Now let her rest for 24 hours.

Day 2

24 hours after originally mixing your starter, discard half of your starter, leaving about 1/2 c of starter in the jar. I like to discard my starter excess into a mixing bowl that has a lid. I save it from my evening discard (once you get to day 3 and on) and my morning discard, to make sourdough pancakes! I don’t secure the lid all the way, just enough to allow air to escape, but again keep foreign matter out.

Next, you will feed your girl! Same amounts as the original starter, 1 C flour and 1/2 C water. Again looking for that cream of wheat or refried bean consistency. Give a stir, squeegie clean the sides and cover with a flour sack cloth. Let her rest another 24 hours.

Day 3 to Approximately Day 5 … or perhaps even up to 14 Days

24 hours after the previous days feeding, repeat as in Day 2, discard and feed. Same quantities. However, today, you will begin feedings two times a day. Try to get the 2 feedings as close to 12 hours apart as possible. I usually do mine about breakfast time, and then before going to bed – about 9am and 9pm.

For example:

Day 1 created starter 9am

Day 2 fed starter 9am

Day 3+ fed starter 9am AND 9pm

You will continue feeding your starter twice a day until she doubles in volume in roughly 6-8 hours. There is a float test you can do: take a teaspoon of starter from the top of rise and drop into a glass of water. If it floats, you are ready to make bread. You can give your starter one more feeding once it has reached this stage, if you’d like.

BREAD MAKING DAY

When you are ready to bake your bread, you will wait until about 6-8 hours after the last feeding, at it’s peak rise height. Remove however much starter your recipe calls for, most recipes call for no more than 1 C starter. If the recipe calls for more than 1 C, you can give it 1-2 more feedings WITHOUT discarding, to grow your starter recipe amount. You will know it’s at its peak when the starter has risen by double or more in this time window (roughly 6 hours after feeding). I have had mine double in as little as 4 hours and baked my bread at that time.

STORAGE AND UPKEEP

Now you will place your starter in it’s longterm home. It may be that same wide mouth mason jar, and a LOOSE fitting lid. Plan to feed your starter once a week, using the same process of discard and feeding as from Day 1 and on. This is your option if you are not planning on baking frequently with it.

If you are going to bake frequently, you may leave her on your counter and feed 1-2 times a day, with 2 daily feedings being ideal.

If you decide to store her in the fridge, once ready to bake again, be sure to feed her for a couple days and really get that activity up again.

TIPS & TROUBLE SHOOTING

If your all-purpose flour fizzles out, feed her with whole wheat. Whole wheat gets a lot more action in a starter than all-purpose does.

For a stronger sourdough flavor, use 1 C starter in place of 1/2 C water and 1 C flour in the bread recipe.

Make pancakes, coffee cake or other sourdough discard recipes – waste not, want not!

The rise and days to be ready for bread making can vary based on temperature and other factors. Be patient. Just like with a child, all children have a different pace. So does your starter. If it is fizzling out you can try adding whole wheat flour, try finding a darker warmer area for it to rest in.

When you pull the starter out of the fridge to use after storing, if it seems to have fizzled out, try feeding it for 2-3 days, 2 times a day, to bring it back to life.

If you see discoloration, mold or an “off” smell, bacteria may have been introduced and you will need to discard and start over.

If you feel as if you have been doing everything right and need an extra boost in the activity, you may for one feeding give pineapple juice in lieu of water, to boost acidity and action.

After the first introduction of feeding to establish “ready for bread making” starter, you can alternately share your “discard” with friends so that they can use your starter, or use it in other sourdough recipes like pretzels, bread etc.

BAKING BREAD

Check out my post and recipe with tips and tricks to the best sourdough bread!

Sourdough Starter | Whole Wheat | All-Purpose | Gluten Free

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 7 days
Cook Time 2 hours
Author Food Allergy P.I.

Ingredients

  • 1 C Flour Whole Wheat, All-Purpose, or Gluten Free Measure for Measure
  • 1/2 C Water, room temperature
  • 1 32 oz Wide Mouth Mason Jar
  • Measuring Cups
  • 1 Towel
  • 1 Wooden Spoon
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Medium Sized Mixing Bowl with Lid optional
  • 1 Flexible Turning Spatula optional
  • 1 Roasting Pan for baking bread
  • 1 Dutch Oven for baking bread
  • 1 Sourdough Bread Basket optional for baking bread
  • 1 Sourdough Lame optional for baking bread
  • Favorite Allergy Friendly Flour
  • Water
  • Patience

Instructions

  1. TOOLS & PREP

    So here's the skinny on the tools you'll need:

    2 (32 oz or 1000ml) wide mouth mason jars

    Flour sack cloth dish towels

    Measuring cups

    Long handle wooden spoons

    Plastic spatulas

    Covered bowls with lids

    Flexible turning spatula (for making sourdough pancakes with the starter discard … in a separate recipe)

    Allergy friendly flour of choice (whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten free measure for measure). *Gluten free blend, I had success with King Arthur brand.

    Roasting Pan

    Dutch Oven

    Sourdough Bread Baskets

    Sourdough Lame

    If you are starting your sourdough, plan to be at home for the next couple weeks. You can always stick her in the fridge if you need to leave town, but it's ideal to get her "going" and "growing" to be able to feed her a couple times a day for about a good week or so.

  2. PROCESS

    Day 1

    Today you will get a clean glass jar, add 1 C flour and 1/2 C water. When adding the flour and water whether on day one or 5, I usually have to add a smidge more water anywhere from 1T to 1/4 C. You want the consistency to be like cream of wheat or refried beans. Not too watery, and not too thick.

    I like to give it a good stir with the handle end of a wooden spoon. I started out using longer forks, but had trouble getting a good handle on it to stir well even through the wide mouth opening. To keep my jar as clean as possible, after each feeding and stirring, I then grab a rubber spatula and give the inside of my jar a quick "squeegie" around the walls to keep it clean. Then you'll simply cover the jar with the flour sack cloth. You can use any towel, I just love these because they are thinner and let more air through while still keeping your starter clear of foreign contaminants. Now let her rest for 24 hours.

    Day 2

    Discard half of your starter, leaving about 1/2 c of starter in the jar. I like to discard my starter excess into a mixing bowl that has a lid. I save it from my evening discard (once you get to day 3 and on) and my morning discard, to make sourdough pancakes! I don't secure the lid all the way, just enough to allow air to escape, but again keep foreign matter out.

    Next, you will feed your girl! Same amounts as the original starter, 1 C flour and 1/2 C water. Again looking for that cream of wheat or refried bean consistency. Give a stir, squeegie clean the sides and cover with a flour sack cloth. Let her rest another 24 hours.

    Day 3 to Approximately Day 5 … or perhaps even up to 14 Days

    Repeat as in Day 2, discard and feed. Same quantities. However, today, you will begin feedings two times a day. Try to get the 2 feedings as close to 12 hours apart as possible. I usually do mine about breakfast time, and then before going to bed – about 9am and 9pm.

    You will continue feeding your starter twice a day until she doubles in volume in roughly 6-8 hours. There is a float test you can do: take a teaspoon of starter from the top of rise and drop into a glass of water. If it floats, you are ready to make bread. You can give your starter one more feeding once it has reached this stage, if you'd like.

    BREAD MAKING DAY

    When you are ready to bake your bread, you will wait until about 6-8 hours after the last feeding, at it's peak rise height. Remove however much starter your recipe calls for, most recipes call for no more than 1 C starter. If the recipe calls for more than 1 C, you can give it 1-2 more feedings WITHOUT discarding, to grow your starter recipe amount.

    STORAGE AND UPKEEP

    Now you will place your starter in it's longterm home. It may be that same wide mouth mason jar, and a LOOSE fitting lid. Plan to feed your starter once a week, using the same process of discard and feeding as from Day 1 and on.

  3. TIPS & TROUBLE SHOOTING

    If your all-purpose flour fizzles out, feed her with whole wheat. Whole wheat gets a lot more action in a starter than all-purpose does.

    For a stronger sourdough flavor, use 1 C starter in place of 1/2 C water and 1 C flour in the bread recipe.

    Make pancakes or other sourdough discard recipes – waste not, want not!

    The rise and days to be ready for bread making can vary based on temperature and other factors. Be patient. Just like with a child, all children have a different pace. So does your starter. If it is fizzling out you can try adding whole wheat flour, try finding a darker warmer area for it to rest in.

    When you pull the starter out of the fridge to use after storing, if it seems to have fizzled out, try feeding it for 2-3 days, 2 times a day, to bring it back to life.

    If you see discoloration, mold or an "off" smell, bacteria may have been introduced and you will need to discard and start over.

    If you feel as if you have been doing everything right and need an extra boost in the activity, you may for one feeding give pineapple juice in lieu of water, to boost acidity and action.

    After the first introduction of feeding to establish "ready for bread making" starter, you can alternately share your "discard" with friends so that they can use your starter, or use it in other sourdough recipes like pretzels, bread etc.

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