I Did It! Homemade Sourdough Starter

Meet Mary, my sourdough starter.

Many years ago, I had a sourdough starter, but it did not last long.  I purchased a packet of dry starter when my nephew and I were vacationing in Alaska.  Once we returned home, I activated the starter and did nothing with it.  I did, however, purchase a cute little sourdough crock at Marshall Pottery.  That was that, and I never thought about it again.

My lovely sourdough crock.

I learned to make homemade bread five or six years ago from a Craftsy classes, but I had to give it up.  My husband and I were gaining weight because we would devour an entire loaf, slathered in butter, hot from the oven.  It smelled and tasted amazing!  Of course, fresh bread is best when consumed the same day it is baked, so technically, we were just preventing waste.

Around the same time, I tried the no-knead sourdough bread, but it was not my favorite flavor.  However, my co-workers loved it.  It was a bit too sour for my tastes.

A bubbly, active starter.

Fast forward to now.  A few months back when bread was in short supply, many homemakers got on the sourdough kick.  I was not one of them.

Ready for the overnight rise.

In November, I saw a You Tube video of how easy it was to make your own sourdough starter.  I did some more research and found a detailed explanation of how to make the starter and what to watch for at the blog, The Clever Carrot.  It answered more questions and provided more detail than anything else I had seen online.

Ready for the oven.

After I successfully had what I thought was an active sourdough starter, I needed to make something with it.  First, I tried sourdough bread with the discard from two days.  I used the recipe at the blog, Real Life with Dad.  He did a great job of making it simple for a sourdough newbie.  However, it did not rise as it should have (the baker’s problem, not the blogger’s problem).

After four failed tries at making sourdough bread, my friend realized my problem…my kitchen was too cold!  Although my yeast was active and bubbly, it never had the strength necessary to make a dough rise.  To correct the problem, I stored my starter in the oven or warming drawer, neither of which were on.  The starter went crazy!  It was doubling quickly.

The last few minutes of baking.

And finally, I had a successful and delicious loaf of sourdough bread!  My husband and I ate half of it before bedtime.

King Arthur Flour has a selection of recipes for sourdough discard which are all highly rated.  I cannot wait to bake my way through them all.  And, because I am a cookbook junkie, I ordered Artisan Sourdough Made Simple from Amazon.com.  So, I may need some stretch pants before it is all over, but I am excited to master this fermented bread.

One fermented food source down…now on to sauerkraut!!

Bonus Information:  Apparently it is customary to name your sourdough starter.  So, consider this your introduction to Mary.  She is named after Jesus’ mother because it seemed like a fitting name during the holiday season.  Sourdough starter is also called mother sourdough, so why not name it for the most famous and respected mother of all!

The finished loaf.