What is a sourdough starter?

A sourdough starter is made up of flour, water and natural living yeast. This is used instead of shop-bought yeast and brings a whole different taste to the pizza which is simply devine! Starters need to be fed in order to keep them going. A feed takes minutes to do however it can go for weeks without feeding so it really isn’t a burden.

How do I get one?

Option 1 – Find someone who has some already. Ask a friend or find a restaurant/bakery that uses sourdough, they’ll usually give you some for free as they will always have a surplus which goes in the bin. This will get you up and running straight away.

Option 2 – Grow one from scratch. It will take a week or two to establish but is very simple and only requires 5-10mins of your time per day to get it going. Follow our Sourdough Starter Recipe and you’ll be making sourdough pizzas before you know it!

Maintaining a starter

Keeping a sourdough starter for making pizzas is really straight forward and isn’t laborious or time consuming. It also means that you have a life’s supply of free yeast as you will no longer need any shop-bought yeast!

The starter can be kept in the fridge which makes it inactive and can be left for several weeks without having to tend to it. In order to make dough though, it needs to be as active as possible – this is done by feeding it just before making the dough.

Feeding a starter is really easy, its a 5 minute job. You discard some of the starter, then add some fresh water & flour back in and mix!

The feeding process

The feeding method used in our recipe is called the 1:1:1 method which means equal parts starter, flour and water. This makes it a ‘100% hydration’ starter.

If you had 180g of starter, to feed it you could simply add 180g of flour & 180g of water. However, this will leave you with 540g of starter which is probably too much (unless you’re making a lot of pizzas), so you discard some first.

So, you could discard 100g, leaving you with 80g of starter. You would then add 80g of flour and 80g of water – this way you end up with 240g of starter. This would be enough to cover 6 average sized pizzas which would need around 150g of starter to make, leaving plenty of starter left over for next time.

You then give it a good mix, put a lid on it, mark the level with the rubber band so you can see easily how much its risen by and stick it somewhere warm. Once it peaks (it should be double or triple in size after around 6-7hrs) then it’s ready to make dough with. That’s it, pretty simple!

My starter is ready, what next?

Once your starter is ready, follow the Sourdough Pizza Recipe to make amazing sourdough pizzas using your starter…