Sour Dough Bread – Starter

A while ago I was given a sour dough starter and was told to keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week. As someone who runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to the fridge I thought “no problem” This thing was going to live forever. That lasted about a 2 months until it turned black and I assumed it had died.

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Anyways, I watched an episode of Cooked about bread and the many benefits of naturally rising dough with wild yeast (not from yeast you buy, but from yeast from the AIR!) I was inspired to give it a shot. Even as someone who knows their way around a kitchen, this was news to me that the air contains the yeast needed to ferment bread properly – more nutritiously! – than regular old quick rising yeast.

To make your starter:

I used whole wheat flour, but it seems like you can use white flour.  Just mix equal parts bottled (non-chlorinated) water and flour – about 1 cup each – and stir in a small blob (about 2 teaspoons) of honey until smooth.

Cover with a cheese cloth and leave out on your counter, away from bugs, dogs, children, mice.  This stuff needs to be left in peace.

Once or twice a day, stir it gently with a wooden spoon in a ceramic or glass bowl. Using reactive metals (i.e. not stainless steal) will make our starter turn black and die (or something like that).

Starter timeline…

Day 1: As expected…flour + water.
Day 2: A little more elastic looking, and a liquid layer formed on the top.
Day 3: Small bubbles spotted on the surface! First signs of fermentation. Slightly sour smell.
Day 4: It looks like it’s starting to rise! Many more bubbles, also some more liquid.
Day 5: More watery stuff on top, but it was cold today so that might have limited fermentation
Day 6: Add 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. water and stir. A few hours later it was bubbling again!
Day 7: Add 1/4 c flour and 1/4 c. water. I began making sour dough bread! I put the rest of the starter in a mason jar in the fridge. This will need to be fed once every-other week with 1 Tbsp. flour and 1 Tbsp. non-chlorinated water.

This site is basically a myth-busters about sour dough starters, so if you’re feeling weird about a bubbling bowl of flour and water on your counter all week, consult this site for a little peace of mind.



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