With many people stuck at home during quarantine, bread-baking has become the newest hobby craze. Dry active yeast has become almost non-existent at the grocery store since everyone is buying it up like mad. But you are not left bread-less, here’s how you start your own active starter at home!
To start an active starter is easier than you think, all you truly need is flour and filtered water. Filtered water may be hard to find during the pandemic, but you will need it as the chlorine and chloramines in tap water prevent things from growing. When you begin your starter, you can use pineapple juice instead of filtered water for the first feeding, if you have it and want to. The pineapple juice, JUST FOR THIS FIRST FEEDING, will provide a lot of natural sugar for the yeast to feed off of.
You can use whatever flour you want, all-purpose, bread, white, wheat, whatever. The only goals are to feed your starter equal parts flour and water by weight, which happens to come out to 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons water. You also want to make sure you feed it every 24 hours, adding the flour and water and then just lightly resting the lid of your jar on top of the jar. Set it to the side in a room temperature environment. Keep doing this until you see air pockets start to form, which normally takes between 3-5 days.
The things to keep in mind:
- Put your starter in a big enough jar that is air-tight, because it will grow a lot.
- Feed it every 24 hours, fully stirring in the water every time.
- Lightly cover the jar and place in a room temp environment.
- Use filtered water and whatever flour.
- It will take 3-5 days for the starter to be ready. You will know it’s ready when you see bubbling.
- When the starter is ready, close the jar and put it in the fridge so that it is preserved.
- When you bake, take out and use half the starter and then feed it to replenish it.
- If you plan on baking once a week, store it in the fridge and only feed the starter once a week, if you bake every day store it on the counter and feed it every day. ONLY FEED WHEN YOU TAKE OUT HALF OTHERWISE IT WILL GROW TOO BIG.
- If your starter goes bad, it will smell really bad or you will see weird colored mold. You will know when it goes bad.
- If there is liquid on the top, THAT’S OK! It’s called hooch. Pour it off and the next time you feed your starter, use a little less water.