When it comes to sourdough starter and baking sourdough bread, misconceptions and mistakes abound. We’re here to clear up some of the long-standing myths surrounding sourdough. Are any of these myths lodged in your brain? Time for debunking. Throw some flour and water in a bucket, and voila! A few days later you’ll have a bubbling, tangy-smelling sourdough starter all ready to use in bread. Not in my kitchen.
Starter. Sourdough starter. Levain. Starter sponge. Mother sponge. Biga. Chef. Poolish. You’ll hear many names for the stuff that makes your bread rise tossed about in recipes. What do they mean? And what exactly is the difference between them all? All of these names refer to types of preferments, a mixture of flour, water, and leavening agent (like yeast), combined in advance of making a bread dough. In the preferment, the water hydrates the flour, and fermentation reactions begin.