To create my active sourdough starter, I followed one of the many sourdough starter tutorials (see here for the one I used). After following the steps for 7 days as the tutorial and many others state, I did not have a fully developed active starter. After aggregating information from a number of sources and through trial and error, I found four tips helped rapidly speed up the development of the starter:
- If your kitchen is less than 70 degrees, wrap the container with your starter in a towel. Using the same principle as the blankets in your bed, wrapping your starter in a towel will maintain the heat and keep the temperature more stable.
- Put your starter into the oven (turned off). This will eliminate any chance of a draft in your kitchen impacting your starter. Your oven will also hold a more stable temperature.
- Feed your starter with unbleached all purpose flour. Bleached all purpose flour will work but since it has less wild yeast in it, it will take significantly longer to develop. Once you have an active starter, feeding the starter with a bleached all purpose flour is fine.
- Use warm water when feeding. I found using water around 80 to 85 degrees fahrenheit worked well.
When I followed the four above tips, I saw a significant increase in growth and significantly more activity leading to a 50% faster time to an active starter.