Sourdough starter and pre-ferment

Sourdough starter and pre-ferment
  • Time icon Hands-on time 5 min, plus 3-5 days fermenting

Baking the perfect crusty sourdough loaf can be a challenge, but the end product makes it worth the effort. Use our recipe to make your own starter and pre-ferment before using it to make your bread.

Ingredients

For the sourdough starter and pre-ferment

  • About 150g organic stoneground strong white flour

You’ll also need

  • Medium lidded jar
  • Mixing bowl or large jar

Method

Making the starter

Day 1 Mix 2 tsp of the flour and 1 tbsp cold water in a medium clean jar. Seal and leave overnight in a warm room. 

Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 Add 2 tsp flour and 1 tbsp water to the jar each day, then stir, seal and leave overnight. You’ll notice increasing amounts of bubbles forming on the surface of the starter each day. 

Making the pre-ferment

Day 6 Making a pre-ferment (also called a poolish) adds extra flavour. The ratio is 1 part starter to 10 parts flour and 10 parts water. Weigh out 10g of the starter into a mixing bowl or large jar, then add 100g of the flour and 100ml warm water. Stir well, cover with cling film and leave in a warm room for 8 hours or overnight. The mix will keep at room temperature for 2 days in a sealed container. Any longer and it will over-ferment and make the loaf too sour. If the bubbles are not very active, feed it again with 2 tbsp strong white flour and 2 tbsp water.

Day 7 Use the pre-ferment to make a sourdough loaf using our recipe. The recipe uses 150g pre-ferment but our pre-ferment recipe makes a bit extra, as you’ll lose some when measuring it into the loaf recipe. 

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