I remember the smell of fresh baked bread on cold winter afternoons. Mmmmmmmm. The toasty kitchen warmed you on the outside and that heavenly smell warmed you on the inside. Ooooh… the rich and tangy aroma of sourdough drifting through the house. I recently tried my hand at making a sourdough starter. The process is simple but it takes patience. The ingredient list? Flour (unbleached), Water (non-chlorinated) and Mother Nature. Simple Right? Making your own sourdough starter. Pick a time you will be available to tend your starter twice a day for a week to begin the process. (this is planning) You will need a clean wide top glass or ceramic container with a lid that fits loosely. If you have a small crock that would work great. A generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water. (Chlorine will kill the process before it starts) 1 scant cup of whole grain unbleached flour. (unbleached flour has the vital nutrients to feed the process)
Day 1: Mix the flour and water completely. It should be very loose and tacky. Put the mixture in your container and put the lid on loosely to keep out bad bacteria. Let is set in a warm not hot (about 70 degrees) place for 24 hours. If your house is cool you can set the container near any heat generating appliance like on top the refrigerator. Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours.
Day 2: You will “feed” your sourdough starter. You may not see much activity so this is where patience (and a little faith) comes in to play. The feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter. Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 24 hours. Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 24 hours. Days 3, 4, 5: You will need to start feeding your sourdough starter twice a day for the next few days. The twice a day feeding process is as follows: Remove a generous ½ cup of sourdough starter from your container and put it into a glass bowl. Discard (or you can save the unfed portion for waffles or pancakes) the rest and wash and dry the sourdough container. Add a generous ½ cup of tepid non-chlorinated water and a scant cup of unbleached flour to the sourdough starter. Mix thoroughly and return to the sourdough container. Let stand in a warm place for 12 hours. You should see your sourdough starter growing more bubbles as it gains strength. Prep time 10 minutes; Wait time 12 hours each feeding. Continue this process until your sourdough starter is very bubbly. Then store it in the refrigerator. If your recipe calls for fed starter remove a ½ cup and feed it. Let it set in a warm place for as long as it takes to become very active. You’ll enjoy the tangy fruity slightly acidic fragrance as it develops and matures. If your recipe calls for unfed starter use the part you would normally discard. Enjoy! …. D Yelle
STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING RECIPES TO USE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER.