How to create a starter from scratch with raisins

Are you interested in raisin a strong starter? You are in the right place!

Jokes aside, in this blog post we'll tell you everything you need to know about creating a starter with raisins! It's super-easy, but if you're looking for an even quicker method, we recommend you check out our post on how to create a starter with dry active yeast! Click here to check it out :)

First things first, starters exist in various shapes and forms, and there is great debate on how to start and cultivate one. This is one of many possible methods, it's hassle-free and it makes easy to create a starter from scratch.

What will I need to make my starter?

  • 80 g of raisins (black or green)
  • 200 g of water
  • 100 g of all purpose flour (type 1)

These are the amounts that you will need to begin your starter, you will need more flour and water to feed it throughout it's life.

Here are the steps you should follow to create your starter:

1. Preparing your container

Clean a glass container using water and soap. Then, pour boiling water over it and allow it to cool down before draining it.

This step is important so that your new-born starter isn't contaminated by any bacteria from the container.

2. Mixing ingredients

Place the raisins and the water on a clean glass container.

Make sure the container is resistant, as it will have to withold the pressure of the fermentation. Also, it should contain more than three times the volume of it's content, that is, the raisins and the water.

3. Fermentation

The fermentation should last about 5 days. All you have to do is check it daily. Open the container once a day to allow the pressure out.

By the end of this process, all the raisins must be floating, and the jar must have gathered good pressure. It should look like this:

(We moved it to a smaller container so that it would look better in this picture.)

4. Draining raisins

Extract the water and discard the raisins. This will be the liquid used to create your starter.

5. Mixing flour

Mix in a clean container:

  • 50g of the raisin water
  • 50g of all purpose flour

In the next day, add:

  • 50g of all purpose flour 

After they both react, it should look like this:

Day 1

 

Day 2 - it had grown as indicated 

6. The following days

For the next two weeks or so, keep about 2 tablespoons of the starter and discard the rest. To that, add 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of water.

This starter will get stronger over time, so don't give up on it! It yields impressive results!

Here are photos comparing our first loaf baked using this starter and the last loaf baked with it:

Loaf number 1

We made a mistake while shaping this loaf, so it ended up a little flat. The crumb, however, indicates that the starter worked great, so we were really glad about this loaf :)

Baked with 1 week-old starter

Crumb-shot (1)

 

Loaf number 2 

Baked with 3 weeks-old starter

Crumb-shot (2)

6. Keeping it

It's ideal to feed your starter every day, and you just have to repeat the previous step for as long as it exists.

If you are not planning on baking every single day, you can also keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week a few hours ahead before using it. 

What we usually do is keep it in the fridge at all times. Whenever we want to use it, we feed it the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight. When we wake up, we take it out of the fridge and allow it to peak. Then, we just follow our regular recipe!

7. Using it

Every starter has what we call a "peak". Your starter will naturally grow and increase in volume. So, the peak i's the highest point it will reach. After reaching it, your starter collapses and loses it's gases.

The peak is the optimum moment to include it in your recipes, so make sure to track the growth of your starter so that you always use it at the best moment.

Usually, your starter has to at least tripple in size. This will show it is strong enough to ferment your dough in the time needed.

Identifying the peak:

To know how much your starter has grown, you need to identify where it is in the first place.

Some people like to wrap a rubber band around it's height right after feeding it, to keep track of it's original height, like this:

We like to mark it with a sharpie, and we also make little marks to identify it's checkpoints. For example, we mark 2x, 3x, 4x, and so on. Like this:

When can I start baking with my starter?

In theory, you can use it a couple days after mixing in the ingredients for the first time. However, there is no guarantee that it will be strong enough to bake a great loaf within this time frame. After a week you will definitely be able to bake some loaves, but after 2-3 weeks it will definitely be ready to bake awesome bread :)

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

We want to hear your experience while creating your raisin starter from scratch! If you want to share it with us, don't forget to tag us on Instagram and use #raisinastarter !

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