My Starter “Mercurio”

Meet “Mercurio”, my sourdough starter, born on 14th of April 2020 in full COVID-19 lockdown!

I have always been wanting to make my own sourdough bread but never had the time to learn how to do it. This year’ lockdown gave me that opportunity to do it.

I took a ZOOM tutorial by IlMioPane in late March, I read “Flour Water Salt Yeast” by Ken Forkish and “Tartine Bakery” by Chad Robertson cover to cover, I watched countless IGTV videos on Instagram and FINALLY gave it a go.

It took me a couple of weeks and a few trials and errors to get the gist of it but I managed to work out a routine that I am happy with and Mercurio seems to like to!

So this is how Mercurio was born!

It is usually a 5 to 7 days process and it took me about 7 days to have a nicely active starter. To start you need:

  • 0.75 l container, I used a plastic one as I have a clumsy household and I would not want to end up with loads of tiny pieces of glass in my starter!
  • A digital scale
  • A spatula or spoon to stir

Day 1 – I mixed 35g of Wholewheat flour with 35g of water. I covered with a dump cloth and left it at room temperature for 24 hours.

I used wholewheat flour as that is what I had at the time, but one can use light rye flour , strong white flour or a combination of strong white flour and strong wholewheat flour. The latter is what I currently use

Day 2 to 5 – I repeated the same steps as Day 1.

I never discarded any starter at this stage but just let it grow in its container until I saw a steady increase and decrease after each feed.

Day 5 to 7 – I repeated the same steps as Day 1.

Since my starter was not very active after the first 5 days, I continued with the same process for other 2 days, when I finally I saw nice and active bubbles and steady growth activity.

I use an elastic band to mark my starter when I feed it, so that I can see how much it grows.

Day 8 – I converted my starter in a 50/50

By day 8 my starter was nice and active with nice bubbles and growth activity. This is when I decided to convert it into a 50/50 white strong flour & strong wholewheat flour starter, following San Francisco Tartine Bakery advise. The mix of the two flours gives stability to the starter and helps with a more regular growth and fall.

I converted my starter by mixing the below:

  • 10g Original starter with
  • 25g Strong white flour
  • 25g Strong wholewheat flour
  • 50g Water

I left it out for 24 hours and then used it to make the levain (aka the starter you are going to use in the bread mix) to bake my first loaf.

Once the starter is stable, then you can start the refreshing and discarding process.

Mercurio lives in my fridge, on the top shelf of my fridge to be exact. I usually take him out once a week when I do my weekend bread.

I am going to write a separate post on how to refresh the starter and timing for weekend baking, so watch this space!!!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and the tag #prepandproperrecipes

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