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- Sourdough: How to start one and keep it going

We have had a sourdough for many years now. We use it readily, sometimes more than others but we always make sure to keep it healthy and alive. By now, we have tried a number of different approaches for keeping it healthy and alive, and we feel we have finally found an approach that suits us well and do not require to much time and energy. This we would like to share.



The best way to start a sourdough is to get a piece from one already going. We were lucky to get our sourdough from some nice people from DMI (Danish Meteorological Institute) when we lived in Narsarsuaq, Southern Greenland in 2016. How long this sourdough had been running before we got a piece of it is unknown but it is a funny thought that this sourdough can be decades old and been travelling to and from Greenland several times. If you don't know some nice people from who you can get a piece of sourdough from, then you can also just start your own from scratch.

For that you need 2 dl water, 1 dl wheat flour and 1 dl graham flour (maybe this is very Danish and an alternative needs to be found). The flour should ideally be organic! Mix it all well to a nice liquid consistency. Use a container which has a small degree of airflow. Now place your start-up sourdough somewhere dark and warm. A couple of times say hi to it and give it a stir. The next day you throw out about 1/3 of it and add new water and flour (1 part wheat and 1 part graham) to you get a consistency you like. We like ours a bit firm (like thin oatmeal) whereas others like it more thin. Again, you place it somewhere dark and warm - look at it a couple a times a day where you also give it a stir. This procedure you repeat over the next 4-5 days, and you will then have a sourdough well alive, with bubbles and a slightly sour fragrance. It will also increase its size to about double. Now you can either start baking with it or put it in the fridge. Congratulations, you know own your very own sourdough.

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Taking care of your sourdough

There exist a lot of different approaches for keeping a sourdough. Some have it always on the kitchen table, some in a closet. Some NEVER uses the fridge and others due. Some like there sourdough very liquid others a bit more firm. We have tried many different approaches and has now found one that suits us very well.

We store our sourdough in the fridge. Once a week (often Sunday) we take it out of the fridge and revives it. This is done by throwing out about 1/3 of it and add new water and flout (1 part wheat and 1 part graham). Mix it all well to you have a suitable consistency and then leave the sourdough on the kitchen table. You have to play around to find a consistency that personally suits you best. After half a day or so, the sourdough is well alive bubbling and has increased its size to almost the double. Now you can either use it for baking or put it back in the fridge. Remember to also clean the container once a month or so. This way you get rid of any unwanted organisms on the side of the container.

You do not need to worry when going away on vacation. The sourdough can easily be kept in the fridge for several weeks. Just throw away half of it (or more) when reviving it when you come home again. Sometimes a grey liquid or spongy layer can form on top of your sourdough if left for longer periods. Again, no need to worry, just remove this part also when reviving the sourdough.


Using the sourdough

When you want to use your sourdough it takes a little bit of planning. Either take it out the evening before usage or in the morning and then use it later that day. Like above, the sourdough needs to be revived before using it for baking. Take it our of the fridge, discard around 1/3 and add new water and flour (1 part wheat and 1 part graham). Leave it on the kitchen table until it is well alive, bubbling and about twice the size. Now it is ready to be used for baking! You can then choose to add new water and flour (for the part you used for baking) or you can just put the remaining sourdough directly in the fridge again.


It is never to late to start your own sourdough!