Note: if you haven’t already, and if you have the time, I’d recommend reading the natural yeast guide. It contains not only this recipe, but some clarifying information about starters and natural yeast.
- 30g mature sourdough starter (if refreshing)
- 70g flour (any will do, but dark rye flour is my preference)
- 70g cool (70ºF/21ºC) water
In different climates or different seasons, you might want to adjust the ratios of these ingredients slightly. For example, during cooler winter months, you might find that increasing the amount of starter or water yields better results; the opposite being true for warmer summer months. The key is to find the ratio of ingredients that yields the most consistent, predictable rising and falling of the starter.
- In a clean, smallish tub or jar with a lid, mix the flour and water until fully combined.
- If refreshing a starter you’ve already begun, discard all but 30g from your existing starter. Add the reserved starter to the flour-and-water mix.
- Leave in a moderately warm place for 12–24hrs.
- Refresh the starter every 12–24hrs by repeating steps 1–3. After several feedings, the starter should begin to show a consistent rise and fall. It’s ready to bake with when it’s at the peak of its rise, and after several days of regular feeding.
You might find that depending on a number of variables—including your kitchen’s temperature, the mineral content of your water, or the kind of flour you’re using—you may need to adjust the timings or ingredient quantities. It’s easy to get frustrated by this process, but try to embrace the experimental nature, and consider starting two different starters with varying approaches to feeding schedules or temperatures.