Wild yeast is floating around in the air everywhere. You just need to catch it. This is how to do exactly that.
What you need:
- flour, preferably whole as this works sooner.
- warm water
- Big bowl
- container that can be closed with a lid
How to make the starter
In the bowl, beat a glass of water and 150g flour for about 10 minutes (you can use the mixer) to get a lot of air mixed with it. The more you whisk it, the more yeast spores will enter the starter. Put in the container and put on the lid, leave in a fairly warm spot until it starts fermenting. That's it!
Sometimes fermentation will already be visible after a couple of hours, sometimes it will take until the next day or even the day after that. Don't worry, it will get there.
- First feeding: when fermentation becomes visible, mix in another 150 g of flour and 250 ml of warm water. Leave it for a day or so in a fairly warm spot. Get used to the smell. This is the smell of your yeast. It will evolve over time.
- Subsequent daily feedings: discard half of the batter, replace with 150g of flour and 250 ml of cold water. Do this at least 5 times before you actually use the starter for baking.
- If you are going to bake every day, use half of the starter to make bread, keep on feeding the other half like the days before.
- If you are not baking every day, the starter can go into the fridge for a week without being fed. Before using it for baking, take it out of the fridge, feed it and let it become really active.
- Add more flour to make it into a stiff dough and you only need to feed it every 3-4 days. To feed it, discard half (bake with it), add water and flour again.
How to use your starter for baking
- The night before, make the "sponge": to 500g of flour, add 600 ml warm water and a good laddle of your starter. Beat it for a while, cover and leave overnight.
- Next day, add 600g of flour and 20-25g of salt, knead through until smooth and springy and leave to rise for an hour. Knead, leave to rise 2-3 more times. Form into loaves, leave to rise again and bake as normal.