After countless experiments and years of futile calculations, I have finally done it. Once a storm blew in and a lightening bolt gave the perfect boost, there was a slight twitch of movement from the surgical table. And I cried, "It's ALIVE!! WAHAHA!!!"
Okay, not really. This is sourdough starter. It is the magical goop of yeast, bacteria, and other cute, little microbes used for sourdough bread, pancakes, pizza dough, etc. As it turns out, people were doing this for thousands of years before commericially available dried yeast came along, So, how hard could it be?
|Check out that hooch!!|
Not all that hard, actually. Can you mix together flour and water? Because that's about all you have to do. When you take on this evil science project, it is best to think of your starter as a pet. Give it a name. Every 24 hours for the first week, you "feed" it. To feed your pet, you pour some out, then replace it with 1:1 flour/water. Once your pet is full grown, you keep him (or her) in the refridgerator. If you are the kind of person who kills plants, even you will have a hard time killing starter.
But be careful. Don't get too attached. After a while, your starter look like this. . . .
Starter doesn't seem to be the hard part of baking sourdough-anything. As I have been on a dough and bread-baking kick here in my craptastic kitchen, I am searching for a sutiable sourdough bread recipe. But most recipes are given in measurements of weight (I don't have a scale), or require you to sacrifice three goats and your first-born child. Hopefully, I'll have some homemade baked goodness for you next week.
Sourdough Starter Resources
Start Your Starters!- Joy the Baker
Sourdough Starter-Along- dbcurried at Serious Eats
Sourdough Bread Baking- S. John Ross
Sourdough Starter- How I've been doing it
Day Zero - Mix together 1 cup flour and 1 cup water in a cleaned-out tomato sauce jar. You can add a slight sprinkle of active-dried yeast if you like to cheat. Keep the lid ajar for the whole duration. The organisms
Days One through Four - Every 24 hours, pour out half of the starter and add back in 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. If you see a hooch forming, simply stir up your starter until it is re-incorporated (I use a chopstick to stir). The hooch is a layer of yellow-ish liquid that contains the chemical byproducts of cellular respiration and dead cells.
At this point, the starter looked all frothy, healthy, and happy.
Days Five through Seven - Mix in 3 tbsp flour and 3 tbsp water. Keep an eye on hooches.
After Day Seven - Poke a hole in the lid to your jar and store the starter in the refridgerator. Once a week, pour out some starter and feed it.
Next time, the tricky part of successfully baking with my starter.