We have been baking bread for over 10 years now and our culture is strong and healthy. You get the starter and full directions (see below) and email support for 2 weeks.
Our Sourdough Guide (can be purchased separately here) contains 30 pages of directions and recipes (sent via email): - Maintaining your sourdough starter - Storing your sourdough starter - Reviving the starter after one week in the fridge - Sourdough baking ingredients and equipment - Sourdough baking terminology - Recipe 1: Simple sourdough bread - Recipe 2: Sourdough bread with preferment (levain) - Recipe 3: Basic sourdough pizza base - Recipe 4: Dark rye sourdough bread with fennel seeds - Various video links to demonstrate technique like shaping, stretch and fold etc.
Rye starters are very robust and can tolerate a bit of neglect. Other starters would not survive that and need more care and attention. We use the rye starter for loaves of wheat, rye and spelt bread, buns, for pizza dough, chiabatta and so much more. We even go on holiday taking the culture with us to bake fresh bread.
Shipping is with overnight courier (without signature, by NZ post) on the next Monday. Please select rural delivery if you supply us with a rural address. We won't send the sourdough starter if the rural fee has not been paid. If you are unsure if you live at a rural address please check your address here: https://www.nzpost.co.nz/tools/address-postcode-finder
Your starter arrives at 60% hydration, that means it is kept more dry than usual for shipping so that it doesn’t get overly bubbly and explodes during transport. Once you get your starter, transfer the starter to a 250ml or 500ml glass jar and add 50ml unchlorinated, unfluoridated water. Stir with a fork until you get a very wet paste.
Now add 30g RYE flour (and this has the be 100% rye!) and beat them together vigorously with a fork, taking care to fully aerate the starter. Only use rye flour to keep your starter at 100% rye flour with no other flours added to it. You can of course bake bread with all sorts of flour, but keep the starter clean. It has grown on rye flour and the microbial community and yeasts are adapted to the rye flour and its particular nutrients. Therefore it stays strong and active and produces great bread.
Seal the jar and leave the starter at room temperature. You should see bubbles forming. Once it is nice and active (5-12 hours) it is ready to use.
You need to refresh your starter once a week if you don’t have time to use it to bake bread. When you bake bread the starter is refreshed anyways before going back into the fridge.
Here is a video we have created to show you how an active starter after one feed looks like. This starter has been taken out of the fridge at 9pm and scooped into a stainless steel mixing bowl. It was then fed with 110g rye flour and 110g lukewarm water. This is now how it looks like the next morning after 12 hours at 20 C room temperature ready to be used to build your dough.
While you wait for your starter to arrive you can start buying the flour (rye for feeding the starter and wheat and/or spelt and other flours for the loaf) and gather your equipment (see below).
Good luck and happy baking!
Sourdough Baking Ingredients and Equipment
Sourdough bread requires only flour, water, salt and the starter culture. As you feel more and more comfortable baking, and want to move beyond basic sourdough bread to adding other ingredients like nuts, seeds, cheeses or herbs, you can. But right now we’re focused on making artisan-style, plain sourdough bread.
Flour: You will need grain-based flour (no almond or coconut flour here!). You need rye flour to feed the starter. For baking the loaf bread flour, all-purpose wheat flour, spelt flour and rye all make great choices.
Water: To feed your starter you should use unchlorinated, fluoride free water. The additives in town water can make it difficult for the wild bacteria and yeasts in your starter to make great bread. You can buy a water filter or allow your water to sit out.
Salt: Salt helps to strengthen the protein bonds that help bread rise effectively and it provides a base for and an amplification of flavor. I like to use unrefined sea salt. Iodized table salt can have a tinny, faintly metallic taste, and unrefined sea salt includes a wide variety of trace minerals.
Starter Culture like our Rye Sourdough Starter
BASIC (and not so basic) EQUIPMENT
In order to make sourdough bread, you’ll need to pick up some basic equipment. Some of it, you can’t do with out – like a jar for your starter and mixing bowls. Other equipment, like a grain mill for making freshly ground flour or a cast iron insert that helps you capture steam while baking, can take your baking to the next level and help you produce *amazing* bread, but you can still bake good bread without them.
Glass Jar: You’ll need a jar or crock in which to store your sourdough. A Fido jar with a strong seal works really well to store sourdough, and to prevent it from drying out. Your jar should be at least twice as big as the volume of your starter. So aim for at least a quart-sized jar. You can also use mason jars, if you like.
A Dough Whisk or Wooden Spoon: You’ll need to vigorously incorporate flour, water and starter together, and one of the best ways to do that is with a dough whisk.
Mixing Bowls with Tight-fitting Lids: Mixing bowls help you mix your dough, and they give it a place to rise. With tight-fitting lids, your dough won’t dry out! You can also use a beeswax wrap to cover the bowl.
Kitchen Scale: For consistent results, you’ll want to weigh your ingredients both when you feed your starter and when you bake bread. The recipe we provide has exact measurements in grams, so a scale is a must.
Proofing Baskets (Banetton) and Linens: Proofing baskets and linens help your bread to keep its shape while it rises. Since we’re working with relatively high-hydration artisan-style breads, a proofing basket is an essential tool. You can also use a stainless steel bowl and a clean tea towel to start with.
Fourneau Oven: In order to develop a beautiful crisp crust, and a lofty and airy crumb, you need to bake with steam and to keep an even temperature while baking. I recommend a cast iron insert like the Fourneau because it achieves particularly good results. It’s an investment for people who are really committed to baking good bread. I don’t use this tool and still get great bead using a lined baking tray. I add 1/6 cup water to the base in the oven before putting the bread in to get that steam.
Grain Mill: There is nothing like real sourdough bread prepared from freshly milled grains. If you’re looking to take your baking to the next level and bake truly nutritious, amazing whole grain breads, a grain mill is valuable.
A Lame: A lame is a wooden tool equipped with a razor blade that helps you to score bread precisely and effectively. Using a lame is how artisan breads get such gorgeous patterns, and it also prevents them from tearing when they rise during baking. A lame produces the best results, but you can also score bread with a serrated knife.
This thorough guide covers all the basics that you need to know to create great artisan sourdough bread. It includes instructions how to look after your starter and includes recipes to get you started on this amazing journey.
You will get the guide as downloadable pdf so make sure you enter the correct email address when placing your order.
Sturdy dough whisk made with an oak handle and stainless steel head. It is perfect for bringing the dough together at the very start when mixing the water with the flour. Dough won’t get caught in the wires, and won’t clump in the center. Perfect for everything from artisan sourdough loaves, pasta, muffins and biscuits.
Length: 33cm Head diameter: 8cm Wire thickness: 3mm