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Sourdough Starter

Do you have a sourdough starter yet?
Sourdough is a form of leaving that consists of a symbiotic
relationship between bacteria and yeast in a mixture of flour and water. It likely
originated in Ancient Egypt (around 1500 BC) and was likely the first form of
leavening available to bakers. Even after yeast was cultered and used for
baking, sourdough continued to be popular, and played a huge part of the
culture of the California and Alaska Gold Rushes. Starters can be kept alive for years, and were often passed down through families. The older they are,
the more personality it will get – becoming more unique and tangy, and bread made from different starters will taste differently because of this.
A friend gave me a bit of her sourdough starter a few weeks
back, and I have really fallen in love with it! The scientist in me loves the
process of each week weighing and feeding it (its not complicated at all, but
it makes me feel like I’m in a lab again), and I really like finding unexpected
ways to use it. Sourdough starter isn’t for bread alone. There are tons of awesome things you can do with it, and I’ll be showing you lots! 
Trying to look around online about how to feed and maintain
your starter will make your head swim. There are, literally, 3 billion ways to
do it. And everyone’s way is “THE BEST!” It is completely overwhelming – do you
keep it in the fridge or on the counter? 
How do you feed it? 50% Hydration, 100% hydration, 87% hydration? It is
ridiculous. When my friend Grace gave the starter to me she told me to just
google it, but I eventually had to call her begging for her help, because Whoa,
it’s crazy out there.
Because I haven’t made my own starter, I can’t really tell you how to do it. Well, I could, but that would be cheating. I suggest you start asking around and see if anyone you know has some. Or, head over to The Fresh Loaf and check out the procedure for making your own starter. 
Maintain your Starter: 
I settled on what I think is the easiest method to maintain my starter. I keep my
starter in the fridge, covered. 
Once a week (on Saturday, it just so happens), I take my starter out of
the fridge at let it sit on the counter for a bit to warm up.
Then I get out my scale and weigh it, and the put it back
in its bowl. Lets pretend the starter weighs 200 grams.
I get a bowl out and into I measure 100 grams of flour and
100 grams of water.
Mix this up and add it to your starter, mixing it well. This
is called a 100% hydration because you are essentially doubling your starter.
Loosely cover your starter back up and let it sit for a few
hours on the counter.
Then I remove a cup or two (either bake something with this
or give it to a friend), cover your starter back up and place it in the fridge
Now you are done for the week!

If you would like to bake with your sourdough starter more often, you may leave your starter on your counter, loosely covered. Make sure to feed it every 12-24 hours.

If you want to bake with your refrigerated starter mid-week, simply pull out 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your starter a few hours before you plan to bake with it. Loosely cover it and let it “wake up” on your counter. As it sits, it will rise a bit (ok, it will probably double, at least that is what mine tends to do), so make sure you place it in a container that is big enough or you will have starter oozing across your counter. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    January 14, 2018 at 11:37 PM

    Oh Lady, I am so happy to have found your blog! I am just getting back into sourdough (I got the Oregon trail starter and love it!). Thank you for so many good recipies (found you because I was looking for a sourdough cornbread) and for this entry which is so useful!

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