Water, flour, salt. That is all it takes from you to have a loaf of bread. There are also microorganisms. From wheat, air, or your skin, one or more of them have wild yeast and lactobacilli. Or maybe all of them have both of them. They do the big work of transforming a glop of water and flour into what I’ll be eating in a couple of hours.
I learned about how to do this from #bakewithjack. He, Jack, has a new bit on baking each Thursday. A bunch of them have been on sourdough. Including how to make a starter, what you see in the jar. He specifies the wholemeal rye as the source flour to use. But really, any flour will do. That video was my, ahem, starter in sourdough baking. His method is pretty fool-proof and it doesn’t waste anything – the cut the starter in half, pour the rest down the drain. That always put me off. Feeding a starter, throwing away half? What a waste! There’s another method also from Mike Greenfield about just eating the starter. That’s what scallion pancakes are for. But I prefer Jack’s method unless I’m hungry.
To get started you can watch Beginners Sourdough Loaf, Start to Finish. That covers everything. You’re referred to the “how to make starter” video. But everything else is shown in that video.
I’m now going through the pain of waiting for the loaf to cool so I can eat it. It’s just a couple of hours. I think I’ll watch 15 Mistakes Most Beginners Make. It’s from Mike Greenfield’s Pro Home Cooks. He has scads of videos on cooking. Great stuff.
Or maybe read about sourdough on Wikipedia. Another rabbit hole to go down into.