When I first started experimenting with sourdough it's because I knew it was one of the healthiest ways to prepare grains. But when I made my very first batch of sourdough scones, I was hooked on their flavor! It was more delicious than anything I had ever made. When I baked my first sourdough bread, I knew there was no going back to store-bought. And then sourdough pancakes, cornbread, biscuits, bagels...!
In a clean jar, weigh out 50 grams each of whole wheat flour and water. Mix well. Put a rubber band around the jar at the height of the starter to give a visual indication when the starter has risen. Cover the jar loosely with a glass or plastic lid, or a clean towel secured with a rubber band.
Set the jar aside in a warm spot out of direct sunlight for 24–48 hours.
Check the starter after 24 hours. If there is no change except for a bit of grayness on top, wait another 24 hours. Once you see any activity (bubbles and/or increase in volume), it's time to feed the starter!
Mix together a 50/50 blend of whole wheat and organic all-purpose flour. This will be what you feed your starter with!
Discard half of the starter. Add 50 grams each of the flour mix and water. Stir very well, cover loosely, adjust the rubber band if needed, and set aside as before.
After 12–24 hours, you should see some activity in your starter (bubbles and increase in volume). Discard all but 50 grams of the starter. Add 50 grams each of the flour mix and water. Mix very well, cover loosely, adjust the rubber band if needed, and set aside as before.
Feed exactly the same way as the second feeding.
Continue feeding your starter every 12–24 hours until it doubles in volume every 8–12 hours, has a pleasant, yeasty smell, and passes the float test (see note). Once it passes the float test, your starter is ready to be baked with!
The whole process of getting your starter established can take anywhere from 5–10 days. Be patient and use your eyes, nose, and the float test to determine if it's ready.
You can switch to feeding the starter organic unbleached all-purpose flour if you like. Continue feeding your starter once a day for a total of 2 weeks.
At this point you can start storing your starter in the refrigerator: Feed your starter one last time, let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour, then place it in the refrigerator.
Feed your starter at least once a week: Take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Discard all but 50 grams of the starter, and feed with 50 grams each of flour and water (or however much you need for your recipe).
You can either let the starter sit until it doubles in size or just let it sit for half an hour and stick it back in the fridge.
Keeping your starter at room temperature:
You can store your starter at room temperature indefinitely if you make sure to feed it almost every day. A missed day here and there won't hurt an established starter, but if you starve it too long, it will die.