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Monday, October 24, 2016

Making Natural Yeast (Sourdough starter) 自制_ 天然酵母 (面粉和水)

This is not my first time dealing with natural yeast. The first time i made natural yeast with apple. I didn't continue to bake with the first natural yeast as that time i was a busy working mom (it was 4 years back) and also has limited information of maintaining a natural yeast (the first natural yeast cookbook i bought was in Japanese, Lolz). Until few months back, i met two new friends and now became lost sisters ^_^, Jennifer and Elvina. Jennifer has been baking with natural yeast whereas Elvina love to eat sourdough bread (she is expert in eating very rusty sourdough bread which taste sour , hard and thick crust ^_^). Slowly i was influenced by them and start back to make my own natural yeast with the consultation by Jennifer and few of my Instagram's friends. This time i made Sourdough starter just using flour and water. There are many ways to get natural yeast, Asian way usually used dried fruits or fresh fruits to make yeast water then add flour to make the starter. This time i prefer simple way of natural yeast using sourdough method, just need flour and water, which are easily obtain in my kitchen. Some of you might already know the benefits of baking with natural yeast, if you not, please google for the answers as i am not the expert to tell you the benefits. Some of you may ask me will the bread using sourdough starter tasted sour? If you are making a rustic country bread, yes, it taste sour because of long fermentation. If you using it to make Asian sweet buns,even you can make into bao or kuih-muih, you will not taste sour because the short fermentation and the way of keeping the starter (will share later).

Why only flour and water can create such amazing active bubbles that so called natural yeast ? This is because the enzymes exists naturally in the flour when mix with water will convert sugar in the flour into glucose, and release carbon dioxide and create many bubbles and help the dough to expand. 

This recipe is based on my own experiments and method. You can try with your own method, there is no right or wrong, so long you can develop an active natural starter. The warm weather in Asean countries is best place to develop active natural yeast. Please free yourself for at least 7 days to prepare this starter ^_^, especially on the day 2 which rather important (you will know why in the below details).
For this sourdough starter, i use a common brand of plain flour or all purpose flour (blue key brand) . As i understand this flour is unbleached and good quality (accordingly to the source that i obtained). Anyway you can use organic and unbleached flour if you are affordable for it. As for water, i use filtered water that directly from tap which connected to a water filter. Time indication just a guideline.

Day 1 (9.45am) ~room temperature
-prepare a dry and clean glass jar ( I use 1 litre glass jar bought from Ikea , height is 17cm)
-weight the empty jar (important to weight as later you need to know the starter weight in order to discard some )
- Add 100g flour into bottom of jar, then pour in 100g filtered water and stir until well incorporated. Loosely cover the jar with cling film. Tie with a rubber band to mark the original level. Leave the jar at a warm spot (on the counter top or inside the kitchen cabinet).
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached) 
100g filtered water

Day 2 ~room temperature
-You can see the mixture has risen almost double and full of small bubbles. 
1st feeding -7.30am
Start to feed with same amount of flour and filtered water, stir to mix well.
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached)
100g filtered water

This is not yeast yet but some kind of bacteria

2nd feeding-1pm (after 5 and 1/2hrs)
- The mixture is very active and rise till double less than 6hrs. This time you need to discard 50% of the starter (weight the whole jar, minus out the weight of the jar, then you get the net weight of starter). Feed the same amount of flour and filtered water, stir to mix well.
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached)
100g filtered water

Day 3 ( 8.30am) ~room temperature
- The starter did not rise, a layer of liquid on top, pour away the liquid before feeding with flour and water, stir to mix well:-
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached)
50g filtered water 

A layer of liquid on top 

Slowly pour away the liquid

After feeding flour and water in the morning, you can see few tiny bubbles in the afternoon, these are yeast !!

Day 4 ( 7.45am)~room temperature
- The starter did not rise, many tiny bubbles, discard 50% of the starter before feed with flour and water, stir to mix well:-
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached)
75g filtered water

Day 5 (11.30am)~room temperature
-The starter did not rise , little bubbles, feed with flour and water, stir to mix well :-
100g plain flour or all purpose flour (unbleached)
75g filtered water 

Day 6 (11.15am)~room temperature
- the starter has risen double, full of bubbles
- Discard 200g of starter and feed with equal amount of flour and water, stir to mix well:-
100g flour
100g filtered water 

At 1.15pm ( Natural yeast is ready !!)
Full of bubbles
Risen more than double 

If can, give your starter a name, she is like  your baby ^_^ My first starter named as "Everest" 

First i removed 200g new sourdough starter to make these Pita bread at the same day, will share the recipe soon.

Then feed the starter with 100g flour and 100g filtered water, stir to mix well.

Store in the fridge (mark the original level with rubber band)

Day 7 ( 7.30am) -start to split original starter into two starters
- you may omit this step if you do not wish to maintain two starters at the same time.
-Why i split into two? Because i want another starter to feed with bread flour instead of plain flour, so i can use it to make bread. As for the original starter with plain flour, i will use it for pita bread, bao, steamed mantou and etc.

Even the starter kept inside the fridge, it still risen a bit

Bring it out from fridge and set aside at a warm place

After 2 hrs, it has risen till double

 Start to split equal amount of starter into two clean jar (or one of the jar, you can use back the same original jar)

Add equal amount of flour and water, stir to mix well. One jar with plain flour and water, another jar with bread flour (unbleached ) with water

Mix well

clean the jar

Now you have two starters !! Store them in the fridge if you are no planning to use them at the same day. NOW your natural yeast baking is begin ! I will share more recipes in the coming posts ^_^

Feed your starter with equal amount of flour and water once in a week (if in between you did not use them) . If you feel the amount is too much, you may discard some before feeding them.

Feedback from my reader who using difference brand of flour.
Natural yeast made by Stephanie Ang who using Baker's choice unbleached all purposed flour. Thanks to her for kind sharing.


1) All Purpose flour (Baker’s Choice)
2) Filtered Tap Water


1) Clean Glass Bottle
2) Silicone spatula for mixing and scraping sides of bottle

22/10/2016  -  Day 1 (11pm)

1) Weigh glass bottle.  Record down the weight.
2) Add 40gm flour + 40gm filtered water.
3) Mix vigorously together.
4) Close bottle lid loosely.
5) Labeled bottle with date and leave overnight at room temperature

23/10/2016 – Day 2 (11pm)

After 24 hours culture doubled with a lot bubbles on top.
1) Discard culture and leave only the weight of bottle + 40 gms of culture.
2) Mix another 40gm flour and 40gm filtered water .
3) Leave overnight at room temperature.

24/10/2016- Day 3 (11pm)

There was still quite a lot of activity.
Smell a bit sourish.
There was brownish water on top, discard.
Repeat feeding steps as Day 2

25/10/2016 Day 4 (11pm)

Culture still active, small bubbles.
Smell a bit sourish.
There was brownish water on top, discard.
Repeat feeding steps as Day 2

26/10/2016 Day 5 (11pm)
Active, small bubbles, rise 1 quarter from original size.  
Smells floury, sweet and sourish.
Repeat feeding same steps as Day 2

27/10/2016   Day 6 (11pm)
Active, small bubbles. rise 1 quarter from original size.
Repeat feeding steps as Day 2

28/10/2016 Day 6 (9am )

After 10 hrs , SD starter doubled  very active,  feeding it the 2nd time (Repeat steps as day2)
After 2 hrs, culture was active but only rise one quarter of its size. 
Smells like wine, sourish.
Left it at room temperature till 6pm and it rise till more than double.
Did not discard but feed the starter with 50gm flour and 35gm filtered water and then keep in

29/10/2016 Day 7 (9am )

Took out SD starter from fridge leave at room temperature for 1 hr
Feed it 20gm flour 20 gm filtered water.
Wait for 2 hrs for it to double.
Weigh some out to make pita bread and the balance feed 20gm flour and water each and keep in fridge.


Would like to add that every time when we want to do feeding , do not stir the culture before  discarding it.  Just pour out whatever you don’t want (weighing it of course). 
Then start feeding it with flour and water.
Mix well do not leave lumps of flour in the culture and scrape the side of the bottle clean with silicone spatula so that you can see clearly from outside whether the SD starter rise or not.

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