I often lurk the boards but have never posted anything.
I have been compelled to create a thread on how to make sourdough starter in Ontario, after my recent experiments.
There are several guides on other sites but most of them are american and its difficult to get some of the specialty flours. Additionally a lot of these sites give misinformation.
-Dark rye flour (can be purchased at bulkbarn $0.29/100g)
-Whole wheat flour, stone ground, organic (can be purchased at bulkbarn $0.29/100g)
-mason jar (500mL wide mouth recommended, since it is a decent size and easy to mix in)
-OPTIONAL: bread flour/all-purpose flour
1) obtain equal parts whole wheat flour and dark rye flour and pour in to the mason jar
2) add orange juice to flour mixture until it resembles a very thick batter (thick enough to form a mound, and barely pours your have to scrape it out with a spoon, but makes sure it is not thick enough to be a dough)
3) Remove the lid of the mason jar (the circle that covers the top) take a piece of paper towel and screw the ring (the hollow portion of the lid) on to it. This prevents dust from entering and allows your starter to "breathe". leave mixture alone until you see significant bubbles and volume increase. (this took me 2-3 days, you will see almost no activity before this though)
4) when significant activity is noticed, feed sourdough starter by pouring out approximately 80% of the original mixture and adding the same dark rye flour, whole wheat flour, and orange juice mixture outlined in steps 1 and 2.
5)Feed once per day (NOT twice, not three times, you are just wasting flour)
6)Repeat feeding procedure until your sourdough starter is capable of doubling its volume in 4-5 hours
7a)after the sourdough starter doubles in volume for the first time, you can use water instead of orange juice when feeding the starter (i.e. repeat step 1 and 2, but use water instead of orange juice).
7b) After the sourdough starter doubles in volume its first time pour out approximately 80% and feed sour dough starter with all purpose flour or bread flour, this time adding water to make a very thick batter. The reason for this step is that most recipes use all purpose or bread flour, also you don't want to continually waste your expensive dark rye flour and whole wheat flour.
8)Your sourdough culture is now quite prolific and robust, you can keep it on your counter and continue to feed daily or you can store in the fridge and feed weekly (feeding steps outlined in steps 7a or 7b).
-when creating the sour dough starter do not use to much flour as it will create too much waste as you continually pour out and feed your starter, i personally used 1/4 cup. Once your wild yeast are active and healthy it is easy to scale up the volume.
-I used orange juice, but i heard that other juices such as pineapple or apple cider work as well. Orange juice was the cheapest available option. I used the frozen concentrate stuff from Costco.
Follow these steps and you will have a sour dough starter from materials that are easily obtained in most parts of Ontario. Sourdough starter is very easy to create and maintain, and the amount of time it require is less than driving to the store and back every time you need yeast. Also it makes your bread taste fantastic.