How to make bread starter with only 3 ingredients

Ciao, welcome back to my blog!

Today I am going to share with you how to make bread starter with only 3 ingredients!

I am hungry, as always...Obvious lockdown consequence!

I am trying to keep myself busy but the constant pilgrimage to the fridge/pantry I think is inevitable now.

What bothers me is that I don't want to go out to the supermarket every other day. But we need bread. I mean, we eat a lot of bread in this household for only 2 people. I bought a big loaf of sliced bread the last time I have been to Tesco and it lasted only 3 days...

Now, since I don't need anything else but bread and I don't fancy doing 30 minutes queuing just for a loaf of bread, so I decided it was high time for me to start making my own.

I don't have dried yeast and I couldn't find any anywhere (and eggs too). Great!

I don't need it because I can make my homemade sourdough starter with only 3 ingredients: flour, water and PATIENCE.

If you are in the same boat or you just want to find a nice, productive hobby during quarantine weekends, well...this is the post for you!


-200g strong white flour

-120ml room temperature water

-Mix the two ingredients in a bowl with a spoon to form a small, rather sticky ball.

-Do a cross on it with a knife and put it in a tall and narrow glass jar for a couple of days. If you don't have a jar, a tall glass is ok, (no plastic containers please!) you just need to cover it with some cling film.

-Leave it to rest in the warmest room of the house, away from light and any kind of detergent (not in the same pantry with cleaning products as they will inhibit the fermentation) for 2 days.

The fermentation process is natural and it doesn't need any activator such as honey, sugar or oil. It takes a bit longer, but I believe it is better (now we have time to sell!)

Important detail: if you wish to bake bread with multi-seed flour or wholewheat flour, use the same flour to make your starter!

After two days it should look more or less like below:

The yeasts should be active but they are not ready to use just yet. It has more volume than before but it didn't double. It just needs to be refreshed with more flour and water.

-Scoop away the darker top part, which is perfectly normal, and then measure the remaining dough. Mine was 150 gr.

-The next step is to nourish the yeast again, meaning adding more "food" for it to grow, therefore add 150g of flour + 75ml of water.

The proportion would be always like so from now on: the same amount of flour + half amount of water.

-Work it nicely with a spoon until all the ingredients are well mixed and form another sticky ball.

-Put it back in a clean, tall and narrow glass but this time wait only 24 hours to "refresh" it again.

In a day it should raise at least double its volume.

This is the starter after a day: the volume has doubled, which means that it is finally active.

It is time for the last refresh before using it, the same procedure as above. Now you just need to wait 3-4 hours for it to be completely ready to use.

Better doing this part in the morning, so you can use it for pizza or bread in the evening.

When it is ready, take half of it and put it in the freezer (it will last up to 3 months without refresh) or in the fridge (it will last for 3 days without refresh, after that either you use it or it has to be refreshed again).

The remaining half, use it to bake!

For the occasion, I made some very simple Italian focaccia with thyme and some loaves of plain white bread.

Starting with a ball of our dough, add to it:

- 1 kg of flour

-a tablespoon of salt

-a teaspoon of sugar

- two tablespoons of olive oil.

It’s easier to make it in a standing mixer with a dough hook.

If you don't have it, mix the ingredients in a bowl first. After, knead the dough on a clean counter or tabletop that allows you to extend your arms properly.

This is the moment I enjoy the most. We can play with your dough as much as you want, and don't be gentle!

To activate the gluten, which is the protein formed by the wheat and the glue that holds the food together, we should work it hard and for at least 8-10 minutes.

This process is important to create structure and strength in the dough.

How to do it like a pro?

-Sprinkle the surface with flour and begin kneading the dough, always using the heels of your hands pushing down and outwards. Keep a cup of flour next to you to prevent the dough from sticking to your counter and dust your hands with it if you feel that it is too sticky but be mindful of using too much or it will turn into a crumbly bread.

Balance is key!

I usually slap it and throw it on the counter with force as it is something that my grandmother used to do to make it nicer.

-Knead until the dough is soft and slightly sticky but it springs back if you touch it with a finger.

-Now, make a ball of it with your oily hands, and place it in a big bowl.

-Drawn a cross on the top with a sharp knife. Cover tightly with cling film and then add a clean tea towel.

-Let the dough rest until it is double in size. It depends on the weather: if it is hot (more than 20 degrees) it should take 2 hours if it is cold maybe 4.

If the temperature is 15 or below I recommend covering it with a blanket too to stimulate the dough to rise.

When it's ready you can finally shape it:

-Dust the counter with flour again and have fun!

I didn't use a rolling pin but just my hands to stretch it. It is such a relaxing activity!

-First, pour some olive oil on your oven tray (be generous to obtain crispy and golden focaccia) and place the dough on it.

-I usually let it rest further 35-40 minutes so that the dough can rise a bit more, which makes the focaccia softer inside once in the oven. Remember that it is a live thing, and at this point touching it and playing with it too much will only "stress" the dough and it will turn out hard.

After 40 minutes:

-Add some salt and thyme on top and then place it in a hot oven (200 it is the right temperature otherwise it will just steam) first on the bottom shelf until it makes a nice and crispy base. It usually takes 10-15 minutes.

-After you can switch and put it on the top shelf to make it golden.

For the bread:

-Take the other half dough left and make some balls out of it with oily hands. No need for salt here.

-Again, I would make them rest a bit before cooking but you can do it while preparing the focaccia as they can cook together.



There you have it!

Fresh homemade focaccia and bread on your table every day from now on! I think is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done!

Thank you for reading my post, I hope you enjoy it!

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More bread-related recipes?

Check how to make focaccia!

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