Let’s continue our discussion about methods for making healthy bread by talking about how to make your own sourdough start. A handy thing to know if you want to make your own healthy einkorn bread.
As you may know, sourdough bread rises without the use of packaged yeast. The bread dough undergoes a fermentation that causes it to rise.
But about how does one get a sourdough start to begin with?
You can either get one from someone you know or make one yourself. Even if you are making einkorn sourdough bread, you can get a small sourdough start from a friend – it does not have to be einkorn – and use that to begin your einkorn sourdough start by simply feeding it einkorn flour.
But today, I want to share how to create your own sourdough or natural leavening start.
The make-it-yourself process was something new for me. We got ours from a friend. However, so many people were asking about it that I decided to try it. I adapted Dr. Price’s sourdough method for Einkorn.
This took a couple of tries. The first couple of attempts just didn’t work at all. I was tempted to tell everyone to figure it out themselves. I watched some less-than-helpful youtube tutorials with complex recipes and procedures that just didn’t work for me. Then I found Dr. Price’s recommendation. I didn’t follow it exactly but it helped give me an idea.
Even using his method, the first couple attempts were failures. My guess is that the temperature was not right. It should be about 60°-65°. I got it to work placing it in the oven with the light off. Another mistake I made was covering it too tightly. I just used the lid that goes with the bowl, but that stifled the growth. In this case, I used Dr. Price’s recommendation – covering it with parchment and a damp towel.
The start that finally ended up working is pictured below. It smelled really horrible for the first few days, and I contemplated throwing it away because it did not smell like sourdough to me. However, after a few days it began to smell like sourdough and worked successfully in a recipe. So, don’t despair. It does take a few days to complete.
Day 1: Measure 120 grams of Einkorn flour and 120 grams of lukewarm tap water into a glass bowl. The mixture should be thick and pasty. Loosely cover (I took Dr. Price’s advice and covered it with parchment and a damp towel) and place in oven with the light off (The temperature is important. I found that, for where I live, that was the best place to keep the temperature right. You may need to experiment).
Day 3: Discard half of the start and feed it again with 120 grams of flour and 120 grams of water. (The discard process is to keep you from ending up with more start than you know what to do with.)
Day 4: Repeat process from day 3.
Day 5: Repeat process from day 3 and 4. Keep doing this every morning until it has that bubbly root beer float texture and smells slightly sour. I can’t give you an exact day count. It just depends. Below is a picture of how it should look. (I switched bowls part way through the process just for cleanliness, but this is the same start pictured above)
I have seen many things on the internet about how to make a sourdough start. You are welcome to try any method you choose. I am not suggesting that this is the only way to make it work, but this is how I got it to work. Good luck!