First starter mixture, flour and fresh-squeezed orange juice

First starter mixture, flour and fresh-squeezed orange juice

It’s been more than two years as I write this, since my two-year-old granddaughter and I ground wheat berries and measured out a little organic orange juice to begin cultivating our wild yeast starter. It turned out to be pretty easy and took just 19 days.

Our wild yeast journey begins here: Cultivating the Starter: Day 1. From there, you can follow the bread crumbs all the way up to Day 19, when my starter was ready to make the first loaf. Incidentally, there’s no pun intended with that phrase, bread crumbs, although I’m enjoying it mighty fine. It’s blogger lingo for the related links below the article on each page.

I made a lot of loaves with that starter, as well as scones, pizza dough and other pastries from the discards. What are discards? Those are the excess starter we have no choice but to use or throw out when feeding. To see recipes and other information for and about using your excess starter, in “The Sourdough Journals” menu tab above, go to Starter/Sourdough starter discards.

Savory whole wheat scones made with onions, olives and Gruyere cheese

Savory whole wheat scones made with onions, olives and Gruyere cheese

The starter my granddaughter and I stirred up two years ago lives on, many generations later, in a slightly altered form called a stiff levain. In December 2014, I learned how to make the stiff levain, using wild yeast starter. The stiff levain is nothing more than a thicker, stiffer, slower-growing starter. I’ve used that levain ever since to make my sourdough breads.To learn why I decided to try it, and how it works, see Making a Stiff Levain, Days 1 & 2.

In just a few minutes, you'll have a small dough ball, fully inoculated with active yeast cells

A stiff levain starter, just fed and ready to grow lots of new yeast cells

Cultivating a starter? Or maintaining one?

I’d love to hear from you, if you’re thinking about cultivating your own starter, have already done so, and especially if you inherited one from a family member or friend.

All the best from my kitchen to yours, with many good wishes for hundreds of loaves of yeasty homemade bread made with your own bubbling starter!

I'd love to hear from you!

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