Jun 30, 2006

Sourdough Starter

I have been in love with sourdough bread ever since I was a little girl. My dad used to work next door to a bakery called "La Boulangerie" (French for "The Baker") and he would bring home fresh bread almost every day. I could (and still can) easily eat an entire loaf by myself!

When my husband and I got married I found a recipe for sourdough starter and sourdough bread in The Complete Tightwad Gazette and then began my journey as a sourdough bread baker. Making sourdough starter is not only frugal but it is very easy. And by putting in a few minutes you will yield a delicious base for bread, waffles, pancakes, pizza crust and so much more.

My last starter was thrown out when we moved to our current residence. I thought it was about time for me to begin a new batch. This recipe was modified from the Tightwad version with a slight variation from the King Arthur Flour website.

Sourdough Starter

2 c. all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 c. water
1 pkg. yeast
1 Tbsp. honey or sugar (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large (6 or more cup capacity) glass or stoneware jar or crock. Stir well with a non-metal spoon. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to sit on the counter top for about 5 days. The mixture will begin to bubble right away but for it to properly ferment and get the nice sour taste you need to allow the 5 days. Stir well and store in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

When you use some of this mixture for a recipe you will then need to "feed it" so you will always have some on hand. Do this by adding 1 1/2 c. water and 1 1/2 c. flour to the container and stirring well. Then return it to the refrigerator. You should use your starter at least once or twice a week or it may not work as well after at time. If it gets a layer or clearish-yellowish liquid on top that is ok, just stir it well and proceed with your baking. If it turns a funny color, like pink, black or orange, throw it out!


Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

Can you use whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour?

Michele said...

Jenn, I have never tired it but I have seen recipes for rye starter with rye flour so my guess would be yes. I would go with the pastry flour to give a finer texture to your baked goods.

My starter is smelling so good, I can't wait to use it!

Anonymous said...

(Pedantic aside: "boulangerie" means "bakery". "boulanger" means "baker".)

I have been reading the Tightwad Gazette and hope to try the sourdough bread soon. I am starting with the Cuban Bread recipe first, since it's so quick.

Michele said...

I think you will really like the Cuban bread it is so good and you are right, easy to make. Thanks for the correction on my translation :0)

Laolu Thomas said...

I would love to try making this bread as I have been told its tasty and healthy; however, I live in Nigeria where its quite hot so how do I make the starter i.e. do i leave it on the counter unrefridgerated for 5 days or in the fridge? Thanks.

Michele said...

Yes, leave it on the counter, it will probably be ready in less than 5 days.