Monday, March 25, 2013

Sourdough starter

Thanks to those of you who have been waiting patiently for me to do this post! :)  Here we go....finally! :)

Why sourdough?
Like many foods, we have changed them in order to make them more shelf stable, quicker to produce, and more eye-catching.  Of course profit is behind it all.  It's no different with bread.  Natural leaven was replaced with baking yeast because the bread had a more consistent rise, was larger and fluffier, and a person could make it faster.  And as with most foods, nutrition was compromised in the process.  The bread became less digestible and less tasty.

I have been making sourdough for many years.  I started out making it by hand.  The process was a little tedious, but having good bread that my family loved made it worth the work.  Then I heard about a sourdough bread class.  I thought it would be good to refine my skills. The instructor made the most beautiful sourdough bread that I have ever seen, and it tasted great.  The only problem was it took three days to make her bread!  The first day was spent feeding the starter.  The second day required a total of 8 different steps spread out over 6 hours.  The third day required about 6 or 7 steps and about 4 more hours.  I left that class thinking, "Well, I will probably NEVER do that!"

Since that time I determined that I would learn to simplify the process.  Making sourdough was not that complicated for the pioneers. (Laura Ingalls Wilder talks about the process in  her book By the Shores of Silver Lake.)   So last September I started experimenting.  I will share with you the process that I came up with.

I know you are anxious to make some bread, but first you need to make your starter.  This is simple.  For seven days, combine rye flour and water in a gallon jar or large non-metal bowl.  After seven day, you will have your starter.  It will be a bubbly mixture with a sour smell.

I do not measure my flour and water, but if it's easier for you, you can add one cup of rye flour and one cup of water every morning.  Stir your starter well, making sure you get all the flour mixed in.  You want your starter to be kinda soupy.  Leave your jar on the counter and cover it with a cloth secured by a rubber band (keeps any bugs out...particularly helpful during summer months).  This jar in now your pet. :)  You must feed and water it every day. 

So that is how you make your starter.  In my next post, I will tell you how to make your bread.

Making Starter
1.  Mix 1 cup of rye flour and 1 cup of water in a gallon jar every day for seven days. 
2.  Leave jar on the counter. 
3.  Cover with a cloth.

My sourdough starter

How to make sourdough bread

Sourdough starter tips


Theresa said...

On day 6 of my starter! Looking forward to making this. :)

Lisa Hanson said...

Yea!! Thanks so much for posting this! I've been looking forward to getting on to see if you had time yet to put your recipe up. I finally got on today and here your recipe is! Now on to making some of your delicious bread. Hope mine turns out as good as yours. :)