How (Not) To Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

When I was a teenager my mom and I went out for lunch one day to this little shop and I had my first Rueben sandwich. It was awesome. Seriously. And one thing that really impressed me was the sourdough bread they used.  Since I've been on a cooking adventure lately, I was browsing recipe sites looking for a decent brown bread recipe to try because I hate store bought brown bread with a passion (found it!) and I stumbled across a recipe for sourdough starter. I didn't even realize you had to have a "starter" for sourdough - the only time I've seen those used before is for Amish friendship bread. So I thought to myself Hey, you're pretty well rested today, why not use up that extra energy and give it a shot. I read over the recipe and it didn't seem that complicated. In fact, I thought I spotted some places that I could take shortcuts.

The recipe said to mix it all in a big bowl using no metal or plastic dishes or utensils, then set it on your counter, covered with a towel for a few days, mixing it once a day until it develops a sour smell. Then you need to decant it into something else and put it in your fridge. They recommended using a mason jar. I have a ton of different sized mason jars, so I thought I would just make it directly in a large mason jar and omit the need for extra dishes

And that was my first mistake. I forgot golden rule number one in baking for me: never modify a recipe you've never tried. Do it at least once exactly how it asks. Here's why.

Dry ingredients

Wet and dry ingredients


Aw, see, I even made it cute!! Boy I'm good at this.
 Ten minutes later I walk into the kitchen and...

 And that's how I re-learned my lesson to do it the right way. So I tossed out the first batch and started over, doing it exactly how they asked.

Dry ingredients (Notice the large roomy bowl)

Still cute...

After stirring on the second day

Day 3 (today) and it's finally switched from smelling yeasty to sourish.
I will keep you posted on how this goes. Hopefully, no more catastrophes. And I will definitely post a photo of me enjoying a Reuben sandwich on sourdough bread if I make it that far.  Has anyone else even made sourdough bread from scratch? Good experience? Bad? Do you have any great recipes that use sourdough starter? (I found one for waffles… mmm) Please share! Click here for the link to the recipe.


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