The starter (also known as the levain in French) is the key to the Straight Killer Sourdough. Your starter will have somewhat of a personality, and you should definitely name it once you get going. Since starter is really a colony, I call mine The Yeastie Boiz.
Starting your Starter.
Mix a 1/2 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour and some water into a thick paste that just barely pours from the measuring cup into your starter container. I use a quart mason jar because that’s what I had.
Let it sit out in a warm place in your kitchen for 24 hours. No lid. Mebbe put a piece of cheesecloth over it to keep the dust out.
24 hours later, feed Da Boiz. Mix a 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and water into a barely pourable goop, and mix it in with the original stuff. Some people tell you to throw out half before you do this, but I didn’t. I hate throwing away any starter.
Keep doing this for like five days. If your jar/container gets starts to get full, then throw some out when you feed them. Otherwise, keep all the sour goodness. Da Boiz should at least double in size within a couple hours of feeding them.
The King Arthur Flour people say to start your starter with rye flour. I would have done that if I had any rye flour. However, I will be starting some more starter with rye, so I can compare.
Feeding Da Boiz
After bout 5 days, Da boiz shouls start looking like this a couple hours after feeding. I like to thicken them up after this stage by making their feed more pasty and thick, but starter like this works just fine too.
Once the starter is going–usually about 5 days– you can start using it to make bread. Make sure you feed Da Boiz at least 2 hours before you want to use them in the bread. You want them all bubbly and holey.
I like to vary Da Boiz’s diet. I almost always add a couple of squirts of honey to the flour/water feed to give them a little boost, occasionally I use a bit of molasses. Sometimes they get fed with whole wheat flour, now and then they get rye flour or whole wheat.
If you make bread every day, you need to feed your starter every day. If you put Da Boiz in the fridge, they’ll go about a week without being fed.
Be sure to scrape down the sides of the container after the doubling in size and feeding. They like that crusty stuff on the sides of the container.