December 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Sourdough

Over the summer I learned to make sourdough.  I loved it!  I made sourdough bread, pancakes, pizza crust, biscuits, and probably other delicious things too.  At the end of the summer things got a little crazy in my life, and sourdough (and breadmaking in general) was one of the first things to go...after this blog.  Now that my life is much more in control, I cannot wait to make start another starter, hopefully a few days ago.  Wait!  That didn't happen!
So here is how to make your own starter.  Hopefully I'll share some recipes in a few days.

1.  Mix equal parts of wheat flour (or any flour) and water in a quart-sized jar.  I started with 1/2 cup of each.
2.  Put a napkin over top, and screw it on with a lid.  The napkin allows for airflow to get into the jar.  The idea with sourdough is that you are getting natural yeasts and healthy bacterias from the air.
3.  Set in a warm place.
4.  "Feed" the starter twice each day, following steps 1-3.  I usually use 1-2 tablespoons of each flour and water at each feeding.  Be sure to mix well, making certain to scrape the bottom and sides of the jar.
5.  Within 2-4 days you should start to see bubbles.  This is all dependent upon things you can and can't control such as temperature.  When I started my starter during the summer, I had a lot happier of a starter than I expect to this time.  Just do your best to keep it warm.  Keep the jar on the stove so that it warms up while your cooking, etc.  (Note:  When I tried in the future, I found it rather impossible to get good results in the cold winter temperatures.  I'll give it another shot, and then I think I'll just have to wait for warmer weather.)
6.  You can make crackers in less than a week of starting your starter, but you should probably wait 1-2 weeks prior to making bread, just to make sure your starter is happy (lots of bubbles).
7.  When you're ready to make a recipe, take out as much starter as the recipe calls for, then replace with equal parts of flour and water.

Easy!  This really only takes about 1 minute of work each day!

I learned how to make sourdough from Kitchen Stewardship.  If you don't like my directions, you can check out her's.  I also started by using her recipes.  Then I got more adventurous.