The Sourdough Starter experiment has reached day 3! Things are going well so far. I woke up this morning to see several small bubbles sitting beneath a thin layer of water. This water is known as “hooch” and is a product of yeast reproduction. Yay! The yeast is finally somewhat active Pictured below is a snapshot of the bubbles and hooch before I transferred everything to a larger jar. Continue reading for my day 3 process.
Give the starter a good stir to redistribute the hooch back into the flour and water mixture. Discard half of the mixture (or transfer to another jar to start another starter). Feed your starter 1 cup (by volume) all purpose flour and 1 cup (by volume) water, stirring to combine. At this point, I transferred my starter to a larger jar. If you started with a big enough jar, don’t worry about transferring anything. Leave your jar on the countertop uncovered for 24 hours. Stir the mixture 2 to 3 times (for about 1 minute) during that time period.
- Keeping the starter in a warm area will promote yeast activity. Conversely, cooler temperatures will slow down yeast growth. Try to keep the starter between 65°F to 85°F. When adding water to the starter, be sure it’s room temperature.
- Feeding the starter with different amounts of flour and water (different hydration ratios) will change the result of your finished product. The amount of flour and water suggested above has a 166% hydration ratio (fairly thin). So what does this mean? The starter will produce smaller bubbles and will not rise as much in volume. Also, the starter will have a tangier taste.
- When establishing a new starter, the presence of hooch is not a bad thing. It actually contains a good amount of desirable flavor. With an already established starter, visible hooch can be an indicator that your starter needs to be fed. Keep in mind that if the hooch is ever gray, cloudy and giving off a bad odor, you’ll want to drain it off before stirring.
- Switching from whole wheat flour to all purpose flour once the yeast becomes active will ensure that the right type of yeast is multiplying within the starter. Whole wheat flour does a great job getting the party started. White flour keeps the party from getting out of control!
- Stirring the mixture occasionally will aerate the starter. Providing yeast with more oxygen will help speed up reproduction.
And so ends Day 3. Can you tell I’ve been doing even more research ? I realized this morning that my starter was sitting in quite the cold spot last night, so I am hoping this doesn’t slow things down too much. Keep your fingers crossed for some major activity tomorrow!