Introduction: Sourdough Starter - Mother Culture

Wow, this whole fermented thing has become so popular! For the past couple of years we've been on the fermented train too...we make our own yoghurt, kombucha, and sourdough bread.

Today we are showing you how to make the sourdough Mother Culture and a ferment (starter) that is used in a whole range of healthy sourdough food. We will show you how to keep your mother culture topped up before it runs out.

Definitions - to help you understand what we're talking about

Mother - this is the overall dough culture that lives in a bowl in your fridge. We take portions from it to make our ferments (Starter) for our sourdough recipes. When the mother culture gets low, we add to it (feed it).

Ferment (aka Starter) - This is a measured portion taken from the mother culture and used in the recipe. When the recipe mixture has been made, the culture from the mother migrates throughout the entire mix over a period of around 5 hours.

Step 1: Making the Mother Culture - Day 1 - Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of white flour (60 grams)
  • 100 mls warm water

Add the flour and warm water together and mix. You'll end up with a smooth and runny consistency.

Leave the mixture in a warm environment covered with a muslin (plain cotton) cloth.

Step 2: Making the Mother Culture - Day 2 and 3

Stir the mixture on Day 2 and again on Day 3.

Step 3: Making the Mother Culture - Day 4

Stir the mixture on Day 4 and now you can begin to use the culture.

Step 1: Remove 50 grams from your new culture and put it in a dish. This will become your mother culture and will soon live the remainder of its days in the fridge. Discard the remaining culture.

Step 2: To this 50 grams add 200 mls of warm water and 140 grams of white flour and mix.

Step 3: Leave this mixture in a warm environment for 3-4 hours and you should see some bubbles.

Step 4: Cover with cling film and put in the fridge. This culture can be used for 7-10 days.

You can now announce to the world your Mother is in the fridge!

Repeat steps 1-4 when you need to refresh your mother culture after 7-10 days or if you have used up most of your mother culture.

Step 4: Using Your Mother Culture

This is my favorite combination of starter and works well for most of my recipes.

To make a typical starter:

  • 56 grams of mother culture
  • 276 grams of white flour
  • 340mls of warm water

Mix together and leave in a warm environment for the day or will end up with a bubbly mixture.

This will make three good sized loaves of bread. Adjust the ingredients up or down to suit your needs.

Pro tip 1: For a smaller amount, try:

  • 15 grams mother culture
  • 60 grams of white flour
  • 75 mls of warm water

Pro tip 2:

  • 35 grams mother culture
  • 135 grams flour
  • 150 mls warm water

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