It's so easy to make sourdough starter from scratch. Everyone says it's hard, but I was amazed at how fast and easy it is. And it costs almost nothing. You never have to buy yeast again! Using sourdough starter, you can make bread, pizza, and dinner rolls, as well as crackers, waffles, pancakes and more.
How to Make Sourdough Starter from Scratch
Why Use Sourdough Starter Instead of Commercial Yeast
For a number of reasons, I really prefer using sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast for baking bread, crackers, rolls, pizza, and other baked goods. Here are just a few of those reasons (I'll have to write more on this later because there are many more reasons):
Sourdough Bread Has Less Gluten
According to Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder at Washington State University, it's not the gluten, it's the way we make the bread that is causing all the gluten intolerance:
“It's not wheat itself,” he says, pointing to a 2013 study by the US Department of Agriculture that found “no evidence” of increasing levels of gluten in wheat over the decades. Rather, Jones believes that the true problem with bread is how we make it. In commercial bakeries, rising time has been winnowed from hours or even days down to mere minutes, thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives. By contrast, the team in Jones' laboratory, located in a rural stretch along Puget Sound, lets dough rise for as long as 12 hours—and they've found that the longer it rises, the less potent the gluten that remains in the finished bread. (Source)
Wheat Has Prebiotics
Wheat flour contains inulin and oligosaccharides, known as prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the probiotics, or good bacteria in your gut, and aid digestion. In addition to wheat, prebiotics are also found in breast milk, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, burdock root, asparagus, garlic, onion, leek, banana, wheat, barley and rye (gluten-containing grains) are excellent sources of food for the good bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Sourdough is Lower in Phytic Acid, Which Means You Absorb More Minerals
Sourdough starter is much more efficient about fermenting the flour and breaking down the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. When you eat wheat, if the phytates are not properly broken down, the phytic acid blocks mineral absorption. Sourdough fermentation breaks down the phytic acid, and as a result, you
Sourdough Has More Vitamins and Minerals
Sourdough fermentation makes bread more nutritious as it makes vitamins and minerals more bioavailable.
Notes on Ingredients and Equipment Needed Making a Sourdough Starter from Scratch
You will need the following ingredients to make sourdough starter from scratch and keep it going in your kitchen:
- Organic whole wheat flour – I like to mill my own from organic wheat berries but if you don't have a grain mill yet, you can use organic whole wheat flour. You need to start your sourdough starter with whole wheat flour, but for maintenance feeding, you can use unbleached organic white flour.
- Filtered water – spring water or filtered water that is filtered for chlorine and fluoride. If using spring water, make sure the brand you use is low in fluoride I use an under-the-sink reverse osmosis filter but a Berkey will also work if you use the fluoride filters with it.
- Digital scale – I use this digital scale daily for my sourdough starter and for those times when I need to lose a few pounds — I use it to weigh my food.
- Small bowls or ramekins – I use these ramekins for my sourdough starter, which do double-duty for making crème brûlée. Note: You need a bigger ceramic or glass bowl when you are first starting your sourdough starter because you can't fit a cup of flour in these ramekins.
- Reusable plastic covers – I LOVE these reusable plastic covers! I use them for my sourdough starter and lots of other things like soaking rice, beans and oatmeal. So much better than plsatic wrap! You will thank me later.
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