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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sourdough Starter

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Have you ever wanted to make your own sourdough bread but felt intimidated by learning you need to have a starter?  The recipes I had always looked up required a lot of ingredients and seemed too complicated to me. Then a few weeks ago I was on Pinterest looking for a recipe for sourdough starter, as my friend had requested it, and found a wonderful recipe from Growing Up Triplets, I definitely recommend following her. She posted a recipe for sourdough starter that required only 2 ingredients! Can you believe it? I couldn't. Now for the even crazier part, the two ingredients are water and flour! Yes, that's it. Wait what about yeast you might be asking. Well, it just so happens there are all kinds of microbes floating around in the air and yeast is also floating around up there too. It's gross to think about, but this is the way bread was made for a long time before yeast was sold in those little packets. This is also why some bread has different flavors depending on where the wild yeast was caught.

In order to start you just need to put 2/3 cup flour in a glass jar with a wide mouth or a bowl, I use a jar because it is easier to store in the fridge. Add 1/2 cup of filtered water and mix it up. Now leave it uncovered on the counter and 24 hours later add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour to the mix, stir it up and let it sit and in about 24 hours add the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour to the mix and stir it up again. By now it should have a fermented odor to it and have bubbles growing on top if so it's ready to use!

Sourdough Bread
4 cups of organic whole wheat flour or just white flour
2/3 cup of sourdough starter
1 2/3 cup filtered water
1 T  olive oil
1 T raw honey
1 t salt, preferably Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large ceramic or glass bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes (the batter might be hard to mix with a fork, so letting it sit allows the moisture to be absorbed). After about 20 minutes or so, wet your hands and the counter top and pull the dough out of the bowl. Give it a few rolls and kneads. Place it back into the bowl, cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter if you used a jar, and let it sit for 12 hours.
After it’s sat for 12 hours, poke it. The dough should retain the dent your finger made (if it doesn’t, let it rise a little longer). Pull it out with wet hands onto a wet counter. Knead a couple more times and place into a greased loaf pan. Cover and set aside to rise about 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, remove cheesecloth and bake for 8-10 minutes. Bump the heat down to 350 and bake for 45-50 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you knock on it. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove from pan and enjoy!

To keep your starter alive, just feed it the 1/2  cup flour, 1/2 cup water mixture once a week to once a month and leave in the fridge covered with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.