I am very fond of sourdough. (I too am having trouble NOT using the L word, remember my rant?)
Is there anything better than a nice fresh-from-the-oven piece of sourdough bread with its little 'tang' sopping with melted butter? I think not! I could eat it all day every day. (this would have nothing to do with my current pants-are-too-tight situation tho!)
If you have ever dealt with making sourdough bread, or been around someone who makes sourdough bread, you'll know that you need a "starter" to make it.
Once you have an established sourdough starter you can use it for all sorts of things.. not just the most wonderful bread in the world. You can use it to make sourdough pancakes, biscuits, muffins, dumplings, or just add a cup of your starter to any bread recipe instead of yeast! I could go on and on... I really could! That's how much I Adore this stuff!!
Think about it... in the old days.. How do you think the pioneers & homesteaders made their wonderful biscuits & breads & such? Did they have those little packets or cakes of yeast? Nope.. they had sourdough starter!! Often the "Cookie" on a trail ride or cattle drive would carry his sourdough starter around in a little leather pouch around his neck to protect it.. it was THAT important and valuable!.
Once a starter is established it can last forever! Many families pass it down from generation to generation as a treasured family heirloom. I however, am NOT a member of one of those lucky families. If you aren't either, FEAR NOT!!
We will make our own and pass it down ourselves!! That's just the kinda people we are! We are Go-Getters! We will rise and meet the challenge! We will not let our family continue to think that the glue-like store-bought stuff we have been eating is good bread! We WILL make GREAT sourdough!!
I am doing this today.....
Remember..... I as I said before, I am a Bad Bread Baker!! lets see if we can fix that.
Join me, will you?
This is the recipe for starter I have chosen to use. I have several friends who say its the best. we will see.
2 Cups milk - put in glass or ceramic bowl (not metal) and set stand uncovered in warm place for 24 - 48 hours until it is a little sour smelling.
Stir in 2 Cups sifted unbleached flour cover with a cloth (I'm using cheesecloth) and set back in a warm place. Stir every day until its ready. (any unbleached flour will work, rye, wheat, I'm using unbleached white flour)
When ready, the starter should have a sour smell with small bubbles gently rising to the surface. The whole precess will take from 3 to 10 days depending to some extent on the time of year .
It is OK to mix the fresh milk and flour instead of letting the milk sour first, but it might take a day or so longer to get a good starter.
Store in fridge in quart size jar or crock with loose cover. (If cover is too tight CO2 may cause explosion.)
If liquid (the liquid often is darkish, that's fine!) rises to the top it's ok!
just give it a stir and mix it back in.
Your Starter will get better with age.
Your starter is a living thing... it must be fed!
When ever you use some of your starter you must always replace or "feed" it.
If you don't use your starter just you still have to "feed" or "replenish" it to keep it active.
To Replenish / Feed (Option #1) , for every cup of starter used, add 1 cup of milk and one cup of flour, cover with cloth and let stand until bubbly. then Refrigerate .. Your starter must be fed every 7-10 days. You may be able to get away with 2 weeks if you keep it in the refrigerator. If you don't use it to make bread in that time frame, just throw out a cup or so and feed it as normal then pop it back in the fridge.
To Replenish / Feed (Option #2) the second version of this recipe says use 1 cup water and 1 cup flour to feed your starter. Its up to you which you prefer to do.. I'll probably do some of each! (simply because I have no clue which is best!) ;^)
A bit of honey or sugar (1tsp or so) can be added when you "feed" it and give a slightly less sour starter but it really is not required for the effectiveness if the starter.
Try to keep at least 2 Cups of starter on hand. (I keep at least 3 for bigger recipes).
Just always remember.... whatever you take out.. you must replace with equal amounts of flour & water. This will keep your starter happy and healthy!
Let it warm or come to room temperature ( or take out overnight) before using.
Sourdough does indeed take a little more work and forethought than some other breads.... But Boy oh Boy is it worth it!!!
Ok.... I hope this makes some sense! lol If my ramblings made it clear as mud, please let me know and I'll explain better,
Now.. Go Forth and make Sourdough!!
I'll take pictures of mine today and keep you posted.
If you make it too, please let me know! we can celebrate our successes or goof-ups together.