You can easily make sourdough starter to give your sourdough bread that distinctive sour taste. It might seem hard in the beginning but over time, the process will become easier. Here are some tried and proven tips to get you started.To Begin
You will need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, 2 cups of warm water and 1 packet of active dry yeast. Mix the sugar, yeast and flour in a clean bowl. Stir the water in and mix continuously until you make a thick paste. Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and let it sit at 80 degrees F. The dish cloth will allow wild yeasts to go through into the batter. The mixture will start to bubble as the fermentation process begins. You will notice foam building up as it develops.
You can put the bowl in a sink at this point. Sourdough can be difficult to clean up after it has spilled out onto the counter and dried. Let the mixture sit out anywhere between 2 and 5 days. You can stir it once a day. The starter will be ready when it develops a good sour smell and appears bubbly. As soon as the starter begins to bubble, you can begin feeding it once a day with water and flour according to the directions given below. Stir everything in the mix, then cover loosely with a plastic wrap. Provide some breathing room and store on the counter top or inside the refrigerator.
The sourdough starter should be fed daily if you leave it sitting on the counter. You should feed it every other week if kept refrigerated. For counter-top stored sourdough starters, remove 1 cup of starter once a day and substitute with a cup of warm water (about 105 to 115 degrees F), plus a cup of flour. Let everything sit for a few hours. Cover the mixture so it will become active before you use it to make bread.
Refrigerater-stored sourdough starters can consume a lot of time and should be fed everyday. You may need another person to continue feeding the starter if you are going out of town for a few days. (No one ever said sourdough starter is low maintenance!)
When you decide to make sourdough bread with the starter, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature. It might take a whole night to make this work. Feed it with a cup of water and a cup of flour. Let everything sit for 8 hours or overnight. You may now use it for many different sourdough recipes.
If you have stored sourdough starter in the refrigerator for a few months, you may need to feed it 2 to 3 times to activate. Take it out of the fridge 2 to 3 days before you plan to use it for baking. Continue the feeding process everyday. If you believe that the sourdough has turned very sour, throw everything away except for a single cup. Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour. Allow it to ferment for 1 day.
Then, you will be able to make the most amazing sourdough bread that you have ever tasted. It can be a lot of work but it is well worth it.