Saturday, February 1, 2014

How to Get/Make Sourdough Starter

How to Get/Make Sourdough Starter
If you've ever wondered how to get sourdough starter, you've come to the right place.  I'll show you an easy and free/cheap way to get and make it.

First, you'll need the starter.  You can get it dry and free from Carl Griffith, a nice guy just giving the stuff away.  Send him a self addressed stamped envelope, and you'll be on your way!

When you get the dry starter, follow his instructions for creating your own, wet, sourdough starter.  I've reprinted them here for you:

Warning: you need to plan ahead to work with sourdough as it is living and takes time to do its thing.

Get Started

How to Get/Make Sourdough Starter
There's no seal and the lid is loosely clamped
  1. Dissolve the contents of the packet with 3/4 cup warm (90 degree) water, add 3/4 cup white bread flour, and 1 teaspoon sugar in glass or plastic container (NOT METAL!).(see below for containers*)
  2. Place container (covered with damp towel or lid*) in warm place (the oven with the light on is about 85 degrees-Test it first!) for up to 48 hours. It will get bubbly from the fermentation. IT’S ALIVE!!
  3. Mix in 1 cup warm (95) water, add 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon dried potatoes or use potato water and let sit in the warm place till bubbly again. Don’t worry about the lumps as the fermentation will take care of them.
  4. Now, you can store it in the frig till needed. It may develop a clear liquid on top, if so, stir it back in as this is alcohol - keep it happy! 

Care and Feeding

  1. It will need feeding about every couple of weeks, just add 1 cup warm skim milk or water, 1 T Sugar and 1 cup flour. Once in a while add 1 tablespoon of dried potatoes (or use potato water). 
  2. If it looks sick, add 1 T CIDER vinegar to give it a kick in the behind! Give the excess to a friend or you can keep some of it in the freezer for several months between feedings.

How to Get/Make Sourdough Starter To Bake with

  1. Bring the starter up to room temperature, mix in 1 cup flour, 1 c warm water or skim milk and let sit overnight to ferment. 
  2. The next morning, remove one cup to keep in a covered jar as a starter for use next time, feed it, then do your baking.

*Sourdough Starter Containers

Crockery is a cute way to store your starter
You may see some fancy looking sourdough starter containers out there, but they are not necessarily good to use. What you want:
  • Made of 
    • Plastic
    • Glass
    • Crockery
  • Lid
Cheesecloth rubber band lid
Lid should allow air to circulate
    • Loose fitting to allow gas to escape
    • Clamp jar without the seal, lightly closed
    • Crockery lid
    • Washed, clean cheesecloth or light cotton fabric with a rubber band around the container
    • No metal touching the starter
    • You must have a lid to keep it from drying out
  • Size
      How to Get/Make Sourdough Starter
      Loosely fit clamp with no seal = good
    • Twice the size of the amount of starter you'll maintain, room to grow

What NOT to use

  • Anything metal that will touch the starter
  • Wood or cork lids - too many nooks and crannies to get bad germs in.
  • Clamp jar with seal; air must get through.  Your starter is alive.

What NOT to do

  • Over or under feed your starter - it is alive
  • Heat the starter too fast or high
Download the directions from Carl's site

Happy bread making!

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