Making Your Own Sourdough Starter

The shelter in place order has led many to take up their whisks and spatulas and bake their hearts out. However, this has also led to may supplies that we are used to having available, yeast we’re looking at you, become near impossible to find.

Don’t despair, your dreams of turning your kitchen into your own personal bakery need not be lost, a sourdough starter is surprisingly easy to make. This is why we would like to show you how to make a sourdough starter with nothing but whole wheat flour and water. 

What Is A Sourdough Starter?

A sourdough starter is a concoction of flour and water that captures the wild yeast and bacteria that are present both in the ingredients and the air. This is so convenient because instead of having to buy yeast from the store, you allow the natural fermentation process to take place. Once your starter is ready to use it becomes akin to a low-maintenance pet that you keep in your kitchen and have to feed in order to keep it alive. 

Why You Should Make One

Well before all else, sourdough bread rests at the pinnacle of deliciousness. Once you have one you can add it to just about any recipe to pack in extra flavor. One of our favorite things to make with our starters is pancakes!

But research also suggests that the cultures in sourdough break down gluten, making it easier to digest.

Getting Started

The process of getting your sourdough starter thriving can take about five days.

What You’ll Need

If you have a kitchen scale that is ideal for measuring out ingredients, but if you don’t have a scale measuring cups work just fine.

  • 1 cup(113g) rye or whole wheat flour(additional flour needed for feedings)
  • ½ cup(113 g) cool water(filtered water preferably)

Feeding Your Starter

Ideas on what and when to feed your starter differ. For this guide, we will be recommending that you feed your starter twice a day after the first day that you put it together.

Day 1

Combine the flour and water in a non-reactive container. Clear glass is best as it lets you see the progress of your starter most easily. If you have a Mason or Weck jar on hand this is a great time to use it! In any case, you want to pick a container that will be large enough to accommodate the growth of your starter.

Once you have ensured that all of the flour has been incorporated into the mixture you want to cover it loosely and let it rest at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2

You may or may not have seen any changes after the first 24 hours. Bubbles or not just trust the process and continue on! In the morning and at night you must discard anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your starter, depending on how much it has grown. Then add 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter. Mix well, cover, and let rest at room temperature.

Day 3

By this point, you should be noticing changes with your starter. An aroma, bubbles, and expansion all mean that you are on the right track. In the morning and at night discard anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your starter, depending on how much it has grown. Then add 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter. Mix well, cover, and let rest at room temperature.

Day 4

In the morning and at night discard anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your starter, depending on how much it has grown. Then add 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter. Mix well, cover, and let rest at room temperature.

Day 5

On day five you should expect your starter to have doubled in volume and have a multitude of bubbles. It is also normal for it to be giving off a tangy aroma at this stage so do not be concerned. In the morning and at night discard anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your starter, depending on how much it has grown. Then add 1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup water to the remaining starter. Mix well, cover, and let rest at room temperature.

If it is not at this stage yet continue feeding and discarding in the morning and at night until it reaches this point before moving on to the steps outlined for Day 6.

Day 6

 Discard all but 1/2 cup of your starter and feed it as usual. Let your starter rest at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours; by now it should be fully active, with bubbles breaking the surface. 

How To Tell If Your Starter Is Ready

One of the most common ways to tell if your starter is ready to use in recipes is to do what is referred to as the Float Test! All that you need to do is place a tablespoon of your starter in water and if it floats its ready to go!

Using Your Starter

When following a recipe simply remove as much of your starter as is called for! If you do not have enough at the time simply continue feedings until you do.

We can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things that you make with your starters! Feel free to tag us with your creations or documentation of your growing process on social media. We have started a starter on the day of this blog and will be updating you with its own progress!

Maintaining Your Starter

You’ll want to store your starter in the refrigerator and feed it regularly. Discard 1/4 to 1/2 C of you starter and give it 1/2 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of water once or twice a week. Make sure to mix well and time and now cover it. The container should not be airtight.

The night before you wish to use you starter, discard 1/4 to 1/2 C of you starter and add 1 C of flour and 2/3 C of water, then set it on your counter with a non-airtight lid (I use a piece of cloth!)

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Zero Waste Vegan: Cashew Yogurt

Ingredients:
  • 2 Cup Raw Cashews
  • 1Tbsp Sweetener (Agave, Maple Syrup, Honey, Unrefined Sugar)
  • ~60 Billion CFU Probiotic (DFC Brand is Vegetarian or use any vegan probiotic, use as many capsules as needed)
  • Water

  1. Soak your Cashews in warm water for 6+ hours, I typically do it overnight. 
  2. Separate the cashews from the water.
  3. Put the cashew in a blender or food processor. Add about 1 cup of water, sweetener, and probiotics. 
  4. Blend until smooth, you may need to add more water to get the consistency you want. 
  5. Set yogurt in a bowl, cover with a towel (it needs to be something breathable), and store in a warm place (on your countertop is probably fine).
  6. Let the yogurt sit for at least 6 hours. Then put it in the fridge! 
  7. Eat it with the dried blueberries from our bulk fridge or fresh strawberries. YUM!

Tips: 
  • At first, the texture will be similar to ricotta. Blend for longer to make it smoother. (I love ricotta! So I don’t blend it for too long)
  • I like to add vanilla to give a little extra flavor!
  • You must add some kind of sweetener, even if you don’t want it sweet! Probiotics need something to eat in order to grow!

Video Edited by Rachel Heleva, Marketing Specialist, Blog Written by Madison Suoja, Education and Outreach Specialist

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Zero Waste Vegan: Oat Milk

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cups of Rolled Oats
  • 4 Cups of Cold Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Add Unrefined Sugar to Taste if you want it sweeter. (or use pitted dates, agave, or honey)

Materials:
  • Blender
  • Ultra Fine Cloth

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend for a minute.
  2. Use a cloth to strain and put it in a container.
  3. Put in the fridge.
  4. Done!

Tips: 
  • Use cold water. When you cook oats they form a goop. If you use warm water, your milk will be goopy.
  • If you don’t have an ultra-fine cheesecloth or nut milk specific cloth, you can use a piece of cotton. It will take longer for the milk to drain and you will need to squeeze it out.

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Staff Sustainability Picks

In celebration of Earth day we thought we would share some of our staff sustainability picks with you!

Ryan from our Deli department loves our selection of glass jars! They’re a great storage option that look pleasing in your pantry and help you buy in bulk. These jars in particular have a vacuum seal that keeps out bacteria.

Rheanna from our Produce team loves using beeswax wraps instead of traditional cling film. Beeswax wraps are washable and are a great way to keep foods fresh and covered. They’re also a great choice for carrying snacks! We carry a variety of wraps with eye catching prints in our store.

Madison from our Marketing team is a big fan of this Booda Butter deodorant that comes in a glass jar. This deodorant is made with pure, organic ingredients and the sustainable packaging that it comes in makes it a part of your self-care routine that you can feel great about!

Aster from our Deli team is a fan of the Stasher bags that we carry. These bags aren’t only great for storage but a perfect choice for marinades and sous vide cooking as well!

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Zero-waste Home Cleaning Tips

There are many things that we could all do in our homes to be a little more environmentally friendly. Ditching products that come in single-use plastic or contain harmful chemicals is a great first step. A total rehaul of your cleaning supplies and routine is not only overwhelming but unnecessary. After all, it would be wasteful to throw out functional cleaning supplies only to replace them with better versions. This guide is meant to help those who are interested in transitioning to more natural products and less wasteful solutions for taking care of their homes. We hope that you find some of these tips helpful!

There are a lot of simple swaps that many of us can make:

  • Use what you have. It can be very tempting to buy new eco-friendly cleaning products. But if what you currently have is still functional, we urge you to use it until it no longer works in order to stem waste.
  • Avoid single-use materials. Instead of buying paper towels, use reusable cleaning cloths. You might not even need to buy cloths as you likely have old clothes or towels lying around that you can cut up and use as rags instead of throwing out. 
  • Repurpose whatever you can think of. Instead of tossing out an old toothbrush, keep it for cleaning nooks and crannies. 

Conventional cleaning products can contain a myriad of ingredients that are irritating to the skin, eyes, and throat. Unfortunately right now, irritating products such as bleach are the most reliable at keeping you safe from bacteria that can get you sick. It is important to be adequately sanitizing surfaces that things from outside your home have come in contact with to prevent the spread of disease. But for everyday cleaning in many parts of your home using such strong products is unnecessary. Gentler solutions are suitable for areas where there isn’t a  concern about outside contaminants.

Below we have outlined two cleaning products that are two simple to assemble yourself and will hopefully bring extra joy to your cleaning routine!

Simple All-purpose Cleaning Spray

We promise that this cleaning spray will have you saying goodbye to the mists that you usually purchase to clean surfaces in your home. This recipe will keep your surfaces clear of toxic compounds and save you the guilt of buying single-use plastics. 

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • The essential oil of your choice(optional- we love using lemon, lavender, or eucalyptus)
  • Spray bottle(preferably glass, but if you have an empty plastic one lying around you can repurpose it for this spray)

Assembly:

  1. Fill a spray bottle halfway with water
  2. Fill the remaining half of the bottle with distilled white vinegar
  3. Add in about 20 drops of essential oil of your choice to give the solution a pleasing scent
  4. Shake well to combine ingredients

Instructions on how to use:

  • Shake and spray on any surface of your choice!(You do not want to use this on granite or marble as vinegar can damage these surfaces)

Toilet Cleaning Fizzers

Unlike conventional toilet bowl cleaners, these fizzy toilet bowl cleaners are made with non-toxic ingredients and easy for you to assemble yourself. While these little fizzers are doing their thing in the bowl they are releasing their active ingredients, which work to neutralize odors, disinfect, and remove stains. 

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid 
  • 25 drops essential oil of your choice(we love using lemon, orange, or eucalyptus)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 orange or lemon zested (optional- will make these look more appealing and won’t clog your toilet*)
  • You will need a silicone mold of some sort to press the mixture into to give these fizzers shape

*It’s a good idea to always zest fruit before juicing it even if you don’t need a zest for the recipe you are following. If you save zest in the freezer then you will always have it on hand when you do need it and you will waste fewer parts of the fruit!

Assembly:

  1. Combine citric acid, baking soda and orange/lemon zest in a large bowl, mixing them well.
  2. Add the oil you have chosen to the dry ingredients. Stir well to combine, adding more if you’d like a stronger scent.
  3. Add water a little bit at a time, mixing with your fingers until it holds together when squeezed but isn’t soaked. You want it to be just damp. Don’t add the water all at once, this will cause your mixture to fizz right away and make a mess. 
  4. Press the mixture into the mold of your choice firmly*. Make sure to press out all the air and compact it together nicely. It might bubble up a bit – if this is the case, consider adding it back to the bowl and putting in more dry ingredients. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water to it.
  5. Place your mold into the freezer and let the toilet fizzers harden, this part only takes about two hours but you can leave them longer if you want to be sure that they’ve set. Store them in an airtight container such as a mason jar.

*If you do not have, or do not want to use, a mold you can keep this mixture as a powder in an airtight container and use it that way. 

Instructions on how to use:

  • Drop a fizzer into your toilet bowl and let sit for five minutes. Once enough time has passed scrub and flush the bowl. 

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