Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sourdough Starter

We used to have a sourdough starter in our fridge. It had been there since I had met my husband, almost 8 years ago. I never used it. At that time I was in college, then graduate school, then in an internship, all the while working two jobs. So, I really just didn't cook much in general (actually never). Our starter grew a lovely green layer on the top. It was probably angry because I never fed it. In the trash it went, just a few months ago.

I thought I was out of luck with making sourdough recipes. Don't starters have to be, like, 40 years old? Apparently not. I found a recipe for starting my own! I did not ignore it his time. I fed it, regularly, for the past three weeks.

I vow to keep feeding it, and using it, regularly. My children shall have this starter passed to them, but only when they are able to care for it.

Here's how I did it:

Sourdough Starter
Makes 3 cups

1 package dry active yeast

2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large glass bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and flour. Place a clean towel over bowl and place in warm dry place. I placed mine in the oven with the light on (no, I did not use it for a few days).
Every 24 hours, discard 1/2 of the mixture and then add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water. Re-cover and return to a warm dry place. If a liquid layer forms on top of mixture, stir it in prior to each feeding. After 4-7 days of feedings, mixture will begin to bubble and develop a sour smell as the starter ferments. This means that your starter is done fermenting! At this time, the starter is ready to use! Place mixture in a glass jar and place in refrigerator.

After each use, replace the amount of mixture that was removed with equal parts flour and water (if you use 1 cup replace with 1 cup flour and 1 cup water-- this will increase the size of your starter!). If not used, feed mixture weekly in the same way you did feedings, by discarding 1/2 of mixture and replacing it with equal parts flour and water.

Make sure you record the date of your starter (for your children). It will get better with age!

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