"Man liveth by bread alone" the Prophet Benqish 2017
Flour - white, all-purpose
Water - from the tap
You can use any flour. I use only the cheapest, white, all-purpose flour. It's the easiest. In a large jar with a lid, mix 80 g of flour with 80 g of lukewarm water. You can actually use any amount of flour and water but they should be equal in weight (do not use cups to measure). Mix well, then cover with the lid and leave somewhere fairly warm (no draughts and no direct heat, eg sunlight). Place the lid on the jar without screwing. After a few hours you should see, and smell, fermentation. Keep calm this is good. After 24 hours add another batch of flour and water (remember 1:1 equal in weight), you could use the same amount as before. Leave loosely covered (don't screw the lid on). On the third day chuck out half of the starter mix and stir in another amount of flour and water. Always leave about 30% of the jar's height free to allow expansion and prevent spillage. Cover without screwing the lid on. Repeat this discard-and-feed routine every day, maintaining the creamy consistency and keeping your starter at room temperature. After about 7 days you should have something that looks and smells good: creamy, bubbly, fruity, yeasty, beery. Congratulations, that's a sourdough starter! If you see a little mould on the top just remove with a spoon, no problems. If you've screwed up (rare, but it can happen) and it really smells foul, or there is lots of mould you'll have to throw it out and start again. Water forming on the top is actually alcohol (hooch) some say you can stir it in, some say don't; I pour it off.
You could keep the starter going indefinitely, feeding it daily, and using some as is needed. Age definitely improves the starter and after a few weeks, you aren't likely to mess up ie it won't go mouldy. But, most people only bake occasionally and if you want to keep it for longer between bakings you won't want to feed every day. So, after baking add only flour to the mixture. You can leave that out for about 3 days. Better still put that stiff, floury starter into the fridge. It'll keep in the fridge for weeks. To use, just take out, add an amount of water and leave at room temperature. 24 hours later add equal amounts of flour and water and keep feeding until using again. I find it takes about 3 days to fully restore. If it's not fermenting – bubbly and smelling "smelly" – then it won't work.
75 g mature 100% sourdough starter
510 g water
350 g bread flour
200 g white / all-purpose flour
150 g spelt flour or whole wheat
1 pinch of salt (optional)
I never cook with salt, never. It's an acquired taste! Decide for yourself. The dough is very sticky, it's difficult to handle, so I need to use something mechanical. I have a hand-mixer with two small dough attachments, they work perfectly. Each time you knead 1 minute will usually be enough, maybe 2 minutes, just make sure everything is mixed through nicely.
Combine the starter with the water and add all the flours (no salt now) knead for a minute (1st time). Let rest covered for 45 minutes. Then, (if you have to … ) add the salt and knead (2nd time). Let rest covered for 30 minutes then knead (3rd time). Cover and leave in a warm place, away from direct heat of draughts for about 12 hours. It should rise nicely maybe less than double in size but it should get bigger.
Preheat the oven to 250 C degrees. Knead (4th time), let rest for 10 minutes. Knead again (5th time) and let rest another 40-60 minutes. Place carefully on a very floured surface. Using a dough scraper cut the dough into pieces, about a small fist size. Generously oil your hands and shape each roll whilst getting each one thinly covered in oil. Place on baking paper on a baking tray and bake in the hottest oven for 15 minutes until nice and brown and crusty on the top.
Remove and let cool. Oh my, they are good. Freeze when fresh.
Inspiration from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-recipes-sourdough and the anonymous www.breadandcompanatico.com/sourdough-rolls.