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How to make sourdough


Few ingredients and just a lot of dedication to give life to a natural yeast like our grandmothers did. It is a natural dough obtained from the fermentation of two very simple ingredients: water and flour. It will be left to ferment and refreshed continuously so as to keep the bacteria alive and make it increasingly active and effective, as if we were feeding living beings. Preparing sourdough at home is easy but at the beginning it will require a little time and patience: with this recipe we explain how to make sourdough step by step. In fact, he will need continuous care as if he were a child (I affectionately gave him the name “Saro”), not only for the preparation but also for the various refreshments that must be done periodically to keep the sourdough starter at perfection and always have it available for many recipes. It is used to make all leavened products, thus obtaining more digestible and lighter dishes such as no-knead pizza or homemade bread.


  • 100 g farina 0
  • 50 g water
  • 1 teaspoon miele or natural low-fat yogurt

Step 1

  • Mix all the ingredients well until you obtain a soft and smooth mixture.

  • Place this first mixture in a glass container covered with a damp cloth and close with string.

  • Let it rest at room temperature (between 18 and 25°C) for 48 hours. Store it in a cool, dry place away from heat sources or drafts.

  • After these 48 hours, the dough will have swollen slightly and the first alveoli (bubbles) will have appeared. It's time for FIRST REFRESHMENT.(Being a live and natural yeast, it is necessary to feed it often to encourage the proliferation of the bacteria responsible for leavening).

Step 2

  • Take the mixture from the jar.

  • Weigh the mixture and mix it with THE SAME AMOUNT OF FLOUR AND HALF THE WATER. (This is the GENERAL RULE that applies to EVERY REFRESHMENT).

  • So if yeast weighs for example 100 gyou need to refresh it with: 100 g of flour e 50 g of water
  • Mix the yeast with flour and water, form a ball and weigh it. Half the mixture should be stored again in the glass jar at room temperature. Cover in the same way and let rest for another 48 hours. You will have to throw away the other half.

  • This is the “refresh”: that is, you have fed new simple and complex sugars to your yeasts.

Next steps

  • The refreshment, like the one done previously, will have to be repeated another 4 times, always 48 hours apart.

  • Continue this “refreshing” procedure until your dough doubles in volume. It will have to triple: it will take about 4 hours.

  • Once this process is finished, your sourdough starter is ready to be used. It will be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight glass jar, even for more than a week, between one refreshment and another.
  • At first you will have to refresh continuously. I advise you to refresh only part of it and throw away the rest to avoid having an excess of yeast that you would not be able to use. It's not a waste since every time you refresh the yeast you will get more than double it. Refresh only small portions so as not to waste flour and water. Homemade sourdough is not sold but “passed off”, or given as a gift.

Honey or yogurt serve to push the first fermentation, as they are composed of simple sugars that nourish microorganisms more easily. If you want to use yogurt instead of honey, the consistency will be similar to a batter, but not too liquid.
As for the flour, the important thing is to always use the same type.
Storage: always keep it in its airtight glass jar closed in the fridge, it will need to be refreshed every 5-7 days to keep it alive (for the first two-three months every 4-5 days). Or you can store it at room temperature (around 26-28°C), refreshing it every 2 days.
Refreshing the sourdough starter kept in the refrigerator: take the sourdough starter out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for an hour. Refresh it, following the general rule, and wait until it doubles in size. Finally put it back in the fridge.
Use: for every 500 g of flour 100-150 g of sourdough should be used. It must be used only after having been refreshed in order to have the strength to double the dough. When you want to knead, take it out of the fridge, wait an hour, refresh it, let it rest at room temperature for 4 hours. After that it will be ready for use. Obviously keep only the quantity of yeast necessary, the rest, after 4 hours, should be put back in the fridge.
Storage for a long time: if you leave, or if you want to keep it for a long period, you can also freeze it by placing it in a food bag. To reactivate it, transfer the yeast to the fridge and keep it for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, place it at room temperature for at least another 2 hours. At this point, refresh it with the usual procedure and keep it at room temperature for 24 hours. If it does not double in volume, it will be necessary to carry out another refreshment.
The leavening of doughs prepared with this yeast occurs both in the fridge and at room temperature. At room temperature the dough will have to rise for 6-8 hours, depending on the temperature, but it will still have to double in volume. Usually a dough prepared with strong flours (such as Manitoba) is kept in the fridge and kept for an hour at room temperature and then placed in the fridge for 24 or 48 hours. It is then removed from the fridge and left at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
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