Il lievito madre (liquido)

Let’s start from the ingredients:

  • water
  • flour (regular all purpose flour, but also whole wheat, rye, etc.)
  • patience (yes, patience is a required asset here)

How can water and flour create a magic “thing” that makes your bread so good? This magic is wild yeast. The bacteria (only good bacteria in this story!) live everywhere, in the flour, in the air and when we mix flour and water, they colonise the mix, which becomes their home. Of course this home, your sourdough starter, needs to be maintained and monitored, and ultimately, loved. Yes, you will end up giving your starter a nickname, it will become a family member.

When we mix flour and water, the wild yeast becomes active and starts to multiply. After a couple of days you will see bubbles forming in your starter. That indicates that the wild yeast is “happy” in his new home. We need to keep it happy though: we do that by feeding the starter with flour and water for several days, until the it’s bubbly and smells sour.

Now we can start creating our own sourdough started. I use a 1:1 ratio starter, meaning equal parts of water and flour. I find it the best solution for baking. The entire process will take 5 about days.

You need:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • A glass container (or plastic but not metal)
  • A scale
  • Plastic wrap or a kitchen towel

DAY 1 – The inception

  • 100 gr flour
  • 100 ml water

Mix the flour with water until you get a sticky thick dough. Cover the container with plastic wrap or the kitchen towel and let rest for 24 hours at constant temperature (20-24°C).

DAY 2 – The first feeding

  • 100 gr flour
  • 100 ml water

Mix the flour with water until you get a sticky thick dough. Cover the container with plastic wrap or the kitchen towel and let rest for 24 hours at constant temperature (20-24°C). You should see small bubbles here and there in the mix. The wild yeast is colonising your starter. At this stage the starter smells fresh, lightly sweet, and yeasty.

DAY 3 – The second feeding

  • 100 gr flour
  • 100 ml water

Mix the flour with water until you get a sticky thick dough. Cover the container with plastic wrap or the kitchen towel and let rest for 24 hours at constant temperature (20-24°C). The starter should be now very bubbly. The smell begins to be sour.

DAY 4 – The third feeding

  • 100 gr flour
  • 100 ml water

Mix the flour with water until you get a sticky thick dough. Cover the container with plastic wrap or the kitchen towel and let rest for 24 hours at constant temperature (20-24°C). You should see now large and small bubbles in your starter and it should also be smelling quite sour.

DAY 5 – Here you go, ready for baking?

Maintenance

If you don’t use your starter for baking, you can put it in the fridge and feed it once a week. Discard (or use for baking) half of the starter and then “feed” it with flour and water, as explained above. When you feed the starter leave it out of the fridge  overnight to give the yeast time to “work” before putting it back in the fridge.

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