Monday, August 12, 2013

Making a Sourdough Starter from Scratch

I published this earlier as part of another post, but it seems that some friends had trouble finding it. To make it easier, I'll share it again here.

If you don't have a starter culture, the easiest and cheapest way to get one is to "catch" your own: Here's my adaptation of Sally Fallon's recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

Starter (takes one week):
Mix two cups freshly ground flour (rye works best, but wheat is fine too) and two cups water in a glass bowl. Mixture will be very soupy. Cover with a cloth attached with a rubber band and let sit in a warm place.

The next day, and every day for the rest of the week, mix in 1 cup flour and 2/3 cup water. Cover and let stand. After a few days the starter will begin to bubble and develop a wine-like smell. 
After 7 days the starter should be ready to use (although it will get stronger as it ages, producing lighter breads). Once the starter is ready, you can either keep it on the counter and keep using and feeding it, or it can be stored in the refrigerator if you can't bake that often. If you do put it in the fridge, make sure to pull it out and feed it at least 12 hours before you mix up your recipe, to give the bacteria a chance to "wake up" and get growing again.
Now, what to do with all of that extra starter? How about making some pizza crust? or pancakes? or waffles? or tortillas? or (my favorite) cranberry cinnamon rolls?)

For more information on sourdoughs and starters, try the book Wild Bread by Lisa Rayner or the blog Sourdough Home.
Ooh! I couldn't find this when I first posted, but I stumbled upon it again - this is a wonderful video about sourdough starters from gnowfglins. My kids even enjoyed watching it with me (can you say homeschool science for the day?)

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