Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sourdough Starter

I've been inundated with emails about sourdough ever since last week's long bread discussion. I'm a big fan of sourdough bread, partially because of the taste, but mostly because I get to burden friends and relatives with starter. There's no better way to get rid of irritating people (while still putting up a front of being thoughtful) than to unload a cup or two of starter on the unsuspecting chumps.

It's like a case of herpes that has to be fed weekly.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active-dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)


Mix the flour, sugar, and yeast together in a clean and sterile container (use only glass, glazed ceramic or crockery to hold your starter. No metal or plastic) that can hold two quarts. Gradually stir in the water and mix until it forms a thick paste (don't worry about any lumps, as they will disappear).

Cover the container with a dish cloth and let it sit in a warm (70 to 80 degrees F.), draft-free place. NOTE: Temperatures hotter than 100 degrees F. or so will kill the yeast.

The dish cloth will let wild yeasts pass through into the batter. The mixture should bubble as it ferments (this will foam up quite a bit so place it in a sink or on top of your tax forms in case it spills.)

Let it sit out from 2 to 5 days, stirring it once a day. The starter is ready when it develops a pleasant sour smell and looks bubbly. If it smells like your uncle Ray, throw it out and start again.

Once your starter starts bubbling, then start feeding it daily with flour and water according to the directions below.

Then stir it, cover loosely with plastic wrap (allow a little breathing space), and store it in the refrigerator.

Your starter should be fed every other week: one (1) cup flour and one (1) cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.). I let this site eight (8) hours or preferably overnight

No comments: