Monday, June 7, 2010

Bread Making 101: A Closer Look at Sourdough Starter

I originally started making sourdough starter here. I had found that recipe and tried to follow it. Through the process I've learned a thing or two and I'd like to share my experience and encourage you to start your own.
When I first thought of making sourdough starter (which will just be called SDS from here on out,) I thought of making sourdough bread. We love sourdough bread and since the starter used to make the bread is fermented, I loved the idea of making it even more. Since then though I have found quite a few uses for my SDS. I use it in my tortillas, in my pizza crust, in my pancakes, in my hamburger buns, in my english muffins, etc. You can honestly use it in any type of bread product! Some recipes actually call for the SDS and some (like my pancakes) I just add it into. Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods and while most wouldn't consider pancake making, bread making, I'm going to share my home concocted recipe for soaked pancakes later this month!
SDS is super easy and fairly forgiving to make and keep alive. You can use my recipe that I linked to above if you'd like to. If you don't have all the ingredients on hand then you can also start a SDS with just flour and water. Simply mix equal parts flour and water together in a glass or crockery type container (you can use plastic, although I'd rather you steer clear of that, and can not use any type of metal.) You can feed your starter with flour and water on a daily basis, determining how much you add based on how much you're using.
When I don't use my SDS often then I usually feed it with about 2TB flour: 1 1/2TB water on a daily basis. If it gets used then I may feed it with 1/4c to 1c flour: 1/4c to 3/4c water, depending on how much I just used. I like to keep my SDS on the thicker side, it seems to do better that way. I'd say a good thick pancake batter consistency.
Using organic flour is a must for making and maintaining SDS the thing is, all flours do not work the same. I buy all our flour from our co-op, Azure Standard. Last month though I forgot (*doh!*) to order flour and I had to get by with buying organic flour from the health food store. It killed my SDS! I don't know why it happened but for some reason, the brand that I purchased was not SDS friendly. So keep in mind that if you do try making SDS and it doesn't seem to be working, before giving up, try a different brand of flour. And always make sure that your wheat flour is barely free. I know it sounds strange to thinking that when you buy wheat flour (whole wheat or white) that you would also be getting barley in it but read your label carefully, it does exist in some brands.
If you have any questions about the SDS please feel free to email me directly or leave a comment here and I'll respond in the comment section so that all can see.


Kim said...

We were without SDS for a whole week..for some reason, mine turned orange! I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't feed it for a couple of days, but it might have been my flour...I ran out and had to "improvise". Bad idea. The new starter is happily bubbling on the counter and I plan on making up some bread today! Yummy!!!

Mountain Home Quilts said...

What type of flour were you using? I improvised with BRM (you know him personally!) and it was NOT a good thing!! Which I was actually surprised about.

Bobbi Jo said...

Great post... thanks, I am inspired to start back up again. I've slacked on my bread making the last month or so. :)

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