I’ve always wanted to try making true sourdough, but the whole ‘catch wild yeasts out of the air’ thing made me nervous.
Confession: I’ve had my share of misadventures with fermenting and bacterial colonies. Kefir does NOT get more tasty with age. Sauerkraut can grow mold. And we nearly had to get marital counseling when my husband made eye contact with the Kombucha mother. In addition to that, I just don’t feel all that confident in my local wild yeast and bacteria population. At least not enough to raise and eat it.
Out of curiosity, I asked a friend who makes great sourdough what her secret is. Turns out, she recommends a VERY SIMPLE sourdough starter from Breadtopia.
THAT is right up my alley. I’ve raised a batch or two of sea monkeys in my lifetime…I can mix with water and stir with the best of them. And since sourdough is a colony of microbes, you’re ‘feeding’ with flour, I could technically consider this a ‘pet’…or a science experiment.
So, I embark on this journey, and am sharing my progress with this ‘easy button’ sourdough starter tutorial.
Using the instructions from the kit, I let the starter flakes soften in water, and then stirred in the called for amounts of flour and water to ‘feed’ the sourdough culture. Honestly, this was amazingly simple.
True to form, I did mess up my first batch…some sort of local microbe crashed the party. This was probably because I started out in a small stoneware dish that wasn’t properly sealed/covered. If things go wrong, your nose will tell you. I suspect that this microbe was from the ‘gym sock’ family.
But all was not lost! Just to set your mind at ease, the kit came with enough starter flakes for at least 3 tries, and it was CLEAR by day 2 that I needed to start over.
Which I did, and I used the big clear jar from the get go, and everything went perfectly. I was just careful to rinse and seal, so that the starter culture would have as little competition from Mr. Jim Sock as possible.
You’ll notice that the starter amount doubles nearly each feeding, and this accelerates as you begin ‘feeding’ twice per day on day 3.
The started has a very nice, mild flavor profile…it’s not pungent and acidic smelling. I’ve got high hopes for future baking projects!
I’m working toward a simple, slice-able loaf of good bread for sandwiches, since my new Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle is focused around using only healthy carb sources. So fermented, or sourdough breads is really worth my efforts to play around with.
Hopefully, this lovely jar full of easy-care starter will take me there.
- 1 t. Breadtopia Sourdough Starter
- 3 c. flour
- Day 1: Wash jar and sourdough beater and rinse with clean water. Dry.
- Add 1 teaspoon of starter flakes, and 1 tablespoon of water to the jar, and stir.
- Rinse beater, and set aside. After a couple hours, the starter flakes will be softened.
- Add a tablespoon of flour to the jar to 'feed' the starter. Rinse beater, and stir to blend. Let sit overnight on the counter while building your starter.
- Day 2: Rinse beater. Add another T. water, and 1 T flour to jar and stir. Watch for tiny little bubbles to show up as early as day 3. They'll look like pinholes in the top of your starter, and this will show you that it's fermenting properly.
- Day 3 Add an additional 1 T of flour and water to your mix in the morning.
- In the evening, feed your starter 2 T of flour and water.
- Day 4 Add ¼ c. flour and water to your starter in the morning. In the evening, add ½ c. flour and water. Let sit overnight.
- Day 5 Add 1 cup flour and water to your jar in the morning. If you want to build more starter, you can add up to 2 more cups of flour and water by the evening.
- Once your jar is full and bubbly, you may use it immediatly, or place starter in the refrigerator for storage.
My family was very pleasantly surprised with the mild flavor of this sourdough...it is really nutty and yummy, as opposed to 'sour'.