Sourdough Diaries – Episode 1

Sourdough starter

Hi I’m Sarah Richcreek, Potter and Domestic Specialist here at Conner Prairie.

Have you ever wondered how to make your own sourdough bread? Or even wondered what is sourdough, anyways? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re starting a new series here called Sourdough Diaries where I’ll teach you how to make your own sourdough starter from scratch, how to maintain that starter, and how to make items like bread and pancakes with it.

First, why would you want to make a sourdough starter? Well let’s say you don’t have any yeast to make bread, well you can make your own! All yeast is microscopic fungus, it’s in the air, it’s in our skin, digestive systems, it’s all over the place at all times. We can essentially capture this yeast by making an environment it’s happy to live in.

To do that, we’ll just need a few simple things:
Glass jar
1/4 cup of flour
3 T. non-chlorinated water (This can be well water, bottled water or tap water that has been left in a sunny place, like a windowsill, uncovered for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate away.)

After mixing the flour and water, be sure to secure a napkin or paper towel over the top of the cup or jar it’s in. What you’ll have to do now is give it some time, one of the most important ingredients in making sourdough bread is time.

After making the start of the sourdough starter, you should stir it at least 3 times a day. With this, we’re looking for some activity within the starter. Bubbles should start to form as that shows signs of the yeast consuming the flour and water, and are what will eventually give our bread lift and rise when we make yeast bread.

There are many factors that affect the time in which how fast this process will go. For example, if it’s warmer outside, sourdough processes tend to go a lot faster because yeast thrive in warmer, humid temperatures. However, we never want the starter to get too hot–110 degrees fahrenheit or above–or else the yeast will die.

Making sourdough bread is a fun, kid-friendly project! Stay tuned for episode 2 of the Sourdough Diaries where we’ll learn about feeding our yeast.