I’ve been stocking up on some baked goodies the last few days, since Stu’s brother Jeremy will be coming to stay with us in a few days for the holidays. I wanted to have a few things prepared to make for easy breakfasts and lunches – thus decreasing the amount of time I will be spending in the kitchen! Not that I don’t enjoy my time in the kitchen…but never-the-less, I like to be prepared. So here we are.
A few weeks ago, I began to ‘grow’ my new sourdough starter. Last year, I began one from a starter packet…and everything I baked with it tasted like rocks. Except for these crackers and this cake, that is.
So after winter was over, I dumped the ‘ol starter and told myself I’d start another one next year….which is now this year…hence the reason I’m writing this.
Taking some tips from my Nourishing Traditions cookbook, this time I began my starter without buying any starter packets. I simply mixed organic rye flour with warm water, covered it with cheesecloth, fed it a little bit of rye flour and water each day for a week…and a sourdough starter was born!
Here’s my actual directions for a Homemade Sourdough Starter:
- Mix two cups of rye flour with two cups of warm water in a mixing bowl
- Cover with cheesecloth
- Each day for a week, transfer the starter to a new bowl and feed the starter 1/2 cup of rye flour and 1/2 cup of warm water
- Tip: If you aren’t going to use the starter and want to slow it down so you don’t have to feed it every day, simply cover it up and stick it in the fridge. Take it out a day before you want to use it and feed it accordingly.
Now that we’re growing our starter…I must say, this starter is so much better than my last one. I’ve made a few things already and am very pleased to announce that it works wonders! After allowing the dough to sour for a day or so, the dough actually looks like it’s been yeasted – all bubbly and soft. It’s a Christmas miracle!
The resulting baked goods were light, soft, and wonderful. No rocks of dough here!
I am giving you this homemade starter recipe so that you can begin this beautiful sourdough journey with me. I’m going to be posted a few sourdough recipes these next few weeks, and if you begin growing your starter now, you can hop right on this feremented bread train!
I know. Like you don’t have anything else to do, right? No presents to wrap. No meals to cook. No laundry to do. No houses to clean. The only thing you have to worry about it growing your sourdough. Lucky you.
Here’s the first of a few recipes that I am eager to share – homemade sourdough tortillas. These tortillas are very, very easy. I promise.
You will need:
- 3 cups of organic whole wheat flour (I used soft white wheat – aka – pastry flour), freshly ground is best!
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup sourdough starter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pinch salt
Step One: Combine the water, flour, salt, and sourdough starter in your mixer or food processor. Keep adding flour, slowly, until the dough forms a nice ball without sticking too much to the sides of the mixer. Once you get the dough to a soft ball form, allow the mixer to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes (if you don’t have a mixer, just do this by hand!) Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let this hang out on your counter for 12-24 hours.
Step Two: When you’re ready to cook up your tortillas, heat up a griddle, cast iron skillet, or cooking pan of choice to medium-high heat. I don’t bother with greasing or spraying my griddle. I like to use my large griddle so that I can have multiple tortillas going at the same time – it helps to speed up the process.
Step Two: Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer onto a greased surface. Gently divide the dough into walnut sized balls (this recipe will yield a dozen or so, depending on size).
Step Four: Grease your hands with a little olive oil and working with one ball of dough at a time, use your fingers to smoosh the dough out into a tortilla. I suppose you could use a greased rolling pin, but I find that using my fingers alone works fine. Sure, the shape isn’t a perfect circle – but that’s okay! It’s homemade, remember?
Step Five: After rolling out the tortilla, gently and carefully move it to the hot skillet. Cook it for about 30 seconds per side, until a little golden and bubbly.
Step Six: You can either eat these immediately, or cool them off and store them in the fridge or freezer for later use. I have found that they reheat very easily and even stay soft. Yay!
The first meal we ate these with was fish tacos and they worked perfectly. I can’t wait to cook up some gyros and curried chicken salad in them, too – they will work perfectly! We’re also big breakfast burrito people, so I am excited to whip up a potato, bacon, and egg scramble to stuff inside – I know Stu and Jeremy will love that. They be lovin’ them some burritos.
So, I realize that a few days before Christmas may not be the ideal time to take up cooking with sourdough. But heck, after Christmas, we are faced with three long months of winter before gardening begins. There couldn’t be a better time to get all up in this sourdough’s business.
Or you could always just come and steal some out of my fridge.