Monday, July 31, 2017

Trying My Hand at Sourdough

my baby sourdough after feeding and sitting out overnight

This month, I decided to give sourdough bread making another try.  I attempted making a sourdough starter many years ago but the starter worked it's way to the back of the fridge and promptly out of my thoughts. (It must be fed on a regular basis in order for it to live on and thrive.) RIP sourdough starter.

Recently however, in going along with trying to find more ways to save money, I dug out my old sourdough bread recipe. I regularly make bread, but knew I could forego the expense of buying yeast if I had a trusty starter on my hands. I like to use a starter that I make strictly with flour and water, allowing it to capture wild yeasts from the atmosphere, turning into a fermented batter with the amazing ability to raise bread dough without using a store bought yeast.

I found a starter recipe years ago but have since tweaked it to my liking. (Although this is the recipe I follow, there are many to be found online.)

• In a large plastic or glass container, place 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour with 1/4 cup of spring or filtered water (I use distilled) and combine until smooth. Cover with a coffee filter, cheesecloth or cotton napkin (something that will allow air flow but keep out pests) and secure with a rubber band around the neck of the jar. Let sit undisturbed for the next two days.

• On day three, mix in another 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water. Let sit another couple of days.

• On day five, repeat steps from day three. Repeat these same steps on days six and seven.

• On days eight and nine let starter sit. Don'the mix or add anything to it. By day nine you will be able to use your starter.
a closer view of it's bubbly, yeasty goodness

Your starter should smell sour, yeasty, or a bit like beer. To store, place the starter in the fridge in a covered (lidded) plastic or glass container. Try to use the starter at least once a week. At the very least, feed your starter using the same amounts as above in step one. Each time you use some of your starter, remember to feed it again to replace what you used. The more you use it and the older it gets, the better it will work and taste!

Things to keep in mind:

1)  If your starter produces a brownish liquid on top, fear not! Just mix it in and move on with your life.

2)  If your starter develops mold do not use it under any circumstances. Pitch it and start over.

3)  I've read that some have great success getting their starter going by using some rye flour. I don't care to spend the money to try out this theory since I don't know that I would use the rye flour otherwise. And the wheat flour has worked well for me thus far. for thought.

4)  After I use some starter, I sometimes feed it with white flour and water, sometimes wheat, depending on what's out and handy.

There are many wonderful ways to use sourdough starter beyond breadmaking. I have already made a loaf of bread and pancakes with the starter, although I want to keep experimenting with techniques and recipes. It takes a little more planning and forethought to using sourdough starter in my baking but considering the savings (from not buying yeast regularly) and the health benefits, I feel it's worth it!

I will post the bread and pancakes recipes I used soon!

If you try making sourdough starter or have any handy tips for me on the subject, I would love to hear from you!


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