When the sirens sound, the interwebs go dark, and Musk and Bezos head to the space station, the first thing I’ll do is make myself a sourdough starter. What looks like a jar of goop is actually a thriving community of wild yeasts and bacteria that, once mature, possess near magical powers, capable of lending lift, flavor, and texture to a wide array of baked and griddled goods from breads to waffles and crackers. This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: The Return.
3/4cup plus 2 tablespoonsall-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2cupfiltered water, at room temperature
For Daily Feeding
2/3cup plus 1 tablespoonall-purpose, unbleached flour
7tablespoonsfiltered water, at room temperature
Digital kitchen scale with tare function
Quart-sized, wide-mouthed glass jars with lids
ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutesminutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 daysdays25 minutesminutes
To begin: Mix together 125 grams flour and 125 grams water with a clean hand in a medium glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit undisturbed at room temperature until the mixture is full of bubbles and has nearly doubled in size, usually 2 to 3 days. During this time, yeasts and bacteria from the air and from the flour — and probably from you — will set up housekeeping in the bowl.
For daily feeding: Peel back any crust that may have formed and transfer 20% of the culture (50 grams) to a clean, wide-mouthed jar. Stir in 100 grams flour and 100 grams water, loosely screw on the lid, and stash at room temperature for 24 hours. (The culture will have a stinky-sour smell at this point.) Discard the rest of the original mixture.
Repeat step 2 every 24 hours for 5 days. By then, the culture should smell yeasty-sweet-sour, which means you're ready to put the starter to work.