So, I mentioned to my Facebook fans that I’m planning to try out sourdough again, starting now. I’ve tried twice before. Here’s how it went:
- First — I used sprouted flour, which, since the grain had already been “altered,” simply did not have enough rising power. Crackers turned out okay, but any “real” bread was basically a brick. After two bread attempts (which also smelled disgusting), I gave up.
- Second — I tried again with unsprouted flour and got some good bubble action…then forgot to feed it for a few weeks (lost my enthusiasm for the project) and it got moldy and had to be thrown out.
I am not going to let either of those things happen again.
No, I am going to create a successful starter that bubbles nicely and makes both good sandwich bread and a good boule (crusty bread — like the top image). My Facebook fans wanted to join me on my journey, and perhaps some of you do, too
. I’ll be updating once or twice a week as I attempt to make this sourdough
thing work for me. Are you ready? We can do this!
You will need:
- Freshly ground flour (ideally)
- Filtered Water
- A glass jar
- A dish cloth
- A rubber band
- A spoon
Okay, here we go.
I’m grinding white whole wheat flour in my Vitamix.
Some say it’s easier to start with white flour than whole wheat (lighter), but I’m not going to bother. What’s the point? The white whole wheat, however, is true whole wheat, just a different variety (than the usual red). It’s naturally a bit lighter and makes yummy-tasting breads. I recommend using that, and it’s gotten quite easy to find in stores now.
I’m going to grind about 2 cups at once, because that is the amount that gets the best results. Too little and it whips it around and doesn’t work so well; too much and it’s very heavy and the motor has to work too hard. I’m only going to start out with about 1/2 c. of it today, so I’ll put the rest in a bag and freeze it.
Now, I’m adding my flour to a quart glass mason jar. Having mason jars around is so handy. How much you add doesn’t matter, from 1/4 c. to 1 c. It’s up to you. The more you add, the more starter you’ll have. Some people swear you need to use a lot, and dump half of it out each time you feed it. I never did that and I still got bubbles in my second starter (before I abandoned it). So right now I’ll say, don’t worry about any of that.
Add an equal amount of water as you did flour. I’ll add 1/2 c. water, since I added 1/2 c. flour. This basically makes a thick batter. It’s good.
Stir it up until it’s all together. Remember it’s not supposed to be a dough. See mine?
Cover it with a clean cloth. Mine is a scrap of birdseye cotton, the stuff that’s used to make cloth diapers. I use it to sew cloth diaper inserts, but also as a substitute for cheesecloth in my kitchen. It works great. Top your jar with a rubber band to keep the cloth in place.
Put it somewhere warm and let it sit. I’ll probably keep mine near my stove all the time, so I can see it (and not forget about it) and because my stove is almost always on. I have a pot of stock there if nothing else, which is pretty much constant in the winter. You can set yours on a heating pad, or on top of the fridge, if you need a warm spot.
For the first three days, you need to feed your starter every 12 hours, or twice a day. I’ll feed mine when I get up (or I’m making breakfast) and before I go to bed. After this initial period, feed your starter once a day. You can bake with it after three days, but it’ll get better with age.
One more quick note: sometimes, a grayish liquid will collect on top of the starter. That’s called hooch, and it’s normal. You can pour it off or mix it in. Pouring it off makes your starter thicker, but also less sour. So, it depends on how you like it. I usually pour it off. If your starter gets too thick you can add a little extra fresh water.
I’ll let you know on Monday if I have bubbles. I hope so!
Are you going to join me on my sourdough journey? Let me know how yours goes!
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!