Friday, May 3, 2013

DIY kitchen series: sourdough starter

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Plain and simple - I love bread. Bread of all shapes, sizes, tastes and textures have a place in my heart. Hot out of the oven, grilled or toasted with butter & jam or dipped in olive oil - no matter how it's served you will never find me passing up the bread basket.
Truth is, sourdough starters intimidated me - in my mind starters seemed finicky and time consuming. There is a dizzying amount of information about how to create the perfect starter- some methods are really basic (like mine!) and others are really scientific...honestly my mind doesn't do science or math, it overwhelms me.
One of the reasons I am lucky to have Justin, he is blessed with a science/math/music mind (lucky boy he is!). Last week I set my sourdough scardy pants aside and put on "I am going to Conquer a Sourdough Starter!" pants on, and you know what? Making a Sourdough Starter is super easy!

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the DIY Kitchen Series : Make your own Sourdough Starter


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A Sourdough Starter is simply Water & Flour mixed together,
If you take some flour and water, mix it together and let it sit on your counter for a while then wild yeast strains found in the air, water and flour will begin to grow.  These are found everywhere but in smaller and less powerful quantities.  The trick to growing them is to culture them faster than the mold and other things that might ruin a mixture of flour and water.
The wild yeast mixture is called a sourdough starter.  Sourdough is just a term that means “wild yeast”.  It does not necessarily mean the bread has a sour taste.  Many types of bread made with sourdough starter can taste sweet rather than sour.  It just depends on how long the wild yeast has to work on the dough and react to it. The wild yeasts do create a more complex flavor as they react with the flour and reduce it to sugars and gases that make the dough rise. {source}

I began my starter with Whole Wheat Flour, then proceeded to "grow" my starter with all purpose flour. Once my starter was established, I fed my starter with All Purpose Flour and continue to feed it once a week with the same. When you store your starter at room temp it needs to be fed everyday, if you plan to use your starter once a week it can be stored in the fridge, where the starter becomes dormant and should be fed once a week.
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Not only did I manage to grow a sourdough starter but it thrived and is still alive! I also made the most amazing bread from the starter, a recipe that I plan to share with you in the next few days.

Also, when you remove a bit of the starter before each feeding it can be used in other ways - I made the most amazing waffles and the BEST pizza dough Justin and I ever had! Make sure not to let it go to waste.

Have you ever made a successful starter? If so feel free to share any tips or tricks in the comments!

New to the DIY Kitchen Series? Click below to see what you have missed!

DIY Kitchen Series: Week 1-Homemade Vanilla Extract
DIY Kitchen Series: Week 2- Flavored Salts
DIY Kitchen Series: Week 3- Instant Chai Tea Mix

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Sourdough Starter
makes 1 starter

Day 1:
In a large jar or container (I used a quart size mason jar) mix together:
1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 cup filtered water
Cover the mouth/ opening of the container with cheese cloth or other breathable material - secure with a rubber band. Place jar in a dark warmish area for the day/overnight.

note: on day 1 I did not see any action - the flour/water mixture just kind of hung out, about a 1/2 inch of water emerged to the top of the flour.

I also suggest using a wooden spoon for mixing each day

Day 2:
Around the same time as the first day add 1 cup All Purpose Flour + 1 cup warm filtered water to the jar - mix well with Day 1's starter. Recover and secure, placing the jar back to its dark warmish space for the day/overnight. 

note: day 2 is where the magic started to happen, the starter began to spring to life and was very active and bubbly.

Day 3 & 4:
Dump all the contents of your jar into a bowl* - measure out a 1/2 cup of the starter. Place the 1/2 cup of starter back into your jar and add 1 cup of All Purpose Flour + 1 cup warm filtered water, mix well & recover with the cheese cloth or other breathable covering you have been using secured with a rubber band.

note: by this time my starter was consistently active and predictable. I also skipped one day as I was gone  overnight, my starter was still alive when I returned, so no worries if you forget a day!

*either discard the leftover starter or use it to make sourdough waffles,  pancakes or pizza dough. I made waffles with my starter and they were amazing (sorry no recipe, it was a hodge podge of ingredients) & Pizza Dough, which for the record was one of the best pizza dough we have made to date! We used our standard pizza dough recipe.

Day 5:
 Dump all the contents of your jar into a bowl - measure out a 1/2 cup of the starter. Place the 1/2 cup of starter back into your jar and add 1 cup of All Purpose Flour + 1/2 cup warm filtered water, mix well & recover with the cheese cloth or other breathable covering you have been using secured with a rubber band.

After day 5 your starter is ready to use. Simply measure out what you need for a recipe, ensuring you always return a 1/2 cup of starter back to the jar for a feeding.

Maintaining your Starter

if storing at room temp
If you plan to use your starter on a daily/every other day basis, the starter can be left out at room temp on your counter - your starter needs to be fed on a daily basis in order to maintain a live starter.
 
if storing in the fridge
If you plan to use your starter once a week or so, your starter can be stored in the fridge where it will remain dormant. To keep your starter alive, simply feed it once a week. Before feeding or using your starter directly from the fridge, make sure you take your starter out a couple of hours before using/feeding to bring it back to room temp.
Feeding:
 Dump all the contents of your jar into a bowl - measure out a 1/2 cup of the starter. Place the 1/2 cup of starter back into your jar and add 1 cup of All Purpose Flour + 1/2 cup warm filtered water, mix well & recover with the cheese cloth or other breathable covering you have been using secured with a rubber band.








Yum

8 comments:

  1. *Love* making sourdough at home! I made my first starter right about the time I started blogging, and have been meaning to write more about it ever since. It really is easier than people make it out to be! Now I'm itching to bake some bread before it gets too hot in here... yum!

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  2. Nice tutorial! For me, sourdough starter is as important as my Vitamix blender. Lots of payback for a small amount of effort.

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  3. i need to put my scardy pants aside too.. seriously.. i bake so much bread but havent really tried a sourdough yet. i agree about too much info around:). this summer it shall happen this summer.. and i will just follow yours:)

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  4. I really want to try and bake a sourdough but the starter still seems really complicated. Thanx for making the steps so clear and simple!

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  5. loving these diy's, lady! so fun to make YOUR OWN sourdough bread!

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  6. I love this, now I don't have to get Amanda at mygoodcleanfood to bring me a starter whenever I let mine die! Who knew it was so easy?!?

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  7. This is great, and I'm totally changing my pants and doing this!

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  8. I've always been intimidated by sourdough starter too. It's silly because it's my favorite type of bread! I think I need to take a cue from you and just jump in!

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Thanks for stopping by - your comments make my day!