Sourdough Starter

2015 07 02 17 59 57

 Before the gluten free epidemic of our time, people ate bread. Even before our ancestors could manipulate and forge metal, they ate bread. There are so many references to leavened bread products in ancient writings that it gives us the impression that bread is almost as old as time itself. How did they make bread without those fancy 5g packages of yeast found in every supermarket? Answer: They relied on natural occurring bacteria and the process of fermentation. Sourdough is the quintessential post apocalyptic ingredient. If you have access to flour and water you can make bread. My wife was given a lump of starter for her birthday last year so the job of feeding and maintaining it was left up to me. I can’t even count how many loaves of bread I have made all stemming from that little blob of dough kept alive by regular feeding. If you already have a starter, give it a feed and get baking. If you don’t, you have a choice to make:

  1. You can purchase a specific bacterial culture online at a place such as culturesforhealth.com
  2. You can create one from scratch. A great tutorial can be found at the kitchn (I could have written this out myself, but this tutorial is good, so there is no need to duplicate) 
Once you have your starter you now have to commit yourself to regular feeding. (think of children here) There are a lot of ways people approach this. The technical and most accurate way is to measure all your ingredients and feed that way. I’m lazy and I’d like to think that cultures are simple and robust enough organisms that I don’t have to be that precise. I use the 1:1:2 method. Say you have one cup of starter, you add one cup of water and just under two cups of flour. That’s it. The only thing left to discuss is how often do you feed? I store mine in the fridge and I feed about once a week. If you plan on baking a few times a week, store your starter at room temperature and feed it everyday. With an active culture at your disposal you can bake bake to feed even the hungriest caveman.

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