I’ve just activated a new starter and thought I’d post what I did to get it going. There are several good starter sources, but I’ve always preferred to do my own, partly because that’s just the way I am and partly because I want a starter that reflects where I live, which is Central New Jersey.
The process is dirt simple.
20 grams of water, 10 grams of bread flour and 10 grams of whole wheat flour.
Put these ingredients in a container, mix it up, slap a cover on it and let it sit for 24 hours. You’ll maybe see a bit of activity after the 24 hours, but you may not.
Throw away most of the mixture — keep about 10 grams, about 2 teaspoons — and add 20 grams of water, 10 grams of bread flour and 10 grams of whole wheat flour. Mix it up, cover it and let it sit for 24 hours. After this time, you should see some activity. This is called a refreshment of a starter. Now it’s time to go into fast mode.
For the next week or two, repeat the throw – add – cover – wait process every 12 hours. You should wind up with a very active starter that smells really good, not sour or acidic.
At this point, you can use the starter, keep it going or put it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days or up to a week, then do the refreshment again, let it age for an hour on the counter and put it back in the refrigerator. Some people leave the starter in the refrigerator for a week or two. You can try that and see how it works for you. I’m currently on a refreshment schedule of every 7 days.
Not elegant, not a famous name starter, but it will work and work well to help you make a natural levain bread.