For those of you lucky dogs and ducks that inherited a piece of my multi-million dollar sourdough starter, here is the first blog post in the series discussing how to actually bake a sourdough bread that will gain back your spouse’s respect, as your kids and friends would bow in front of you and address you as “Your Royal Majesty”. This series is a remastered version of the original Sourdough Chronicles I wrote a while ago.
» Archive for the 'Sourdough Starter' Category
Le Baking – (Bread Day 3)
This was the Happy Day! The day when everything came together. The fun. The Grand Finale. The day you can hug everyone on the street, then get arrested for being weird.
Started off by taking the two baskets out of the fridge to a warm spot for more room temperature rising for about 4-5 hours. I left them in their plastic bags to prevent any crusting.
Thought of starting of this first day off 2009 with a live Sourdough Cam showing the growth and live development! How fun this can be?
Now, I don’t expect you starring at the sourdough jar for hours, but you can check the progress from time to time and hopefully inspire you to get your own Sourdough going!
A Happy New 2009 and may your blessings multiply like the yeast in my Sourdough (that is by the BILLIONS!)
Le Dough – (Bread Day 2)
A somewhat more complicated day. I started off by taking the sponge out of the fridge and cutting it into rough pieces to help it warm up faster (about an hour). I covered it so it would not crust over. Meanwhile, measured out:
4-1/2 cups flour (unbleached, all-purpose, high gluten)
2 Tsp salt
1-3/4 cup warm water
I know. My mysterious disappearance left some of you wondering if the sourdough process got out of control or I got into depression following the ‘depression’ of the previous sourdough starter. I could say both. As Christmas approached, things seemed to be getting more busier and seemed like there was barely any online time.
To be honest, in a way I enjoyed it! Ha! Go figure.
A new batch and a rebirth
Truth is that I didn’t completely discard the previous starter after deflation. After reading Joy of Cooking‘s recipe for sourdough starter, that suggests actually using some commercial yeast to get things started in a kitchen that’s wild yeast depraved, I took 1 cup of the old one, fed it, and sprinkled a half of Tsp of dry yeast.
The next morning, the thing was erupting. Literally. It came to life all of a sudden during the night. It was so promising, that I decided to let it multiply, and in the mean time start a new batch of sourdough starter out of whole wheat flour, that took the same procedure as the previous 3 day process, but this time I left it to hang out there longer between each feeds, considering that yeast activity was seriously slowed down by the somewhat colder temperature on our home. This batch flourished! To the point that I had to twice clean the top of the fridge because of over spilling. Considering this aggressive yeast activity in both jars, I decided it was time to think of the actual bread.
Things looked promising!
The 3rd day looked like thing were moving in the right direction. The sourdough starter grew about 1 inch over the indicator line (rubber band). Not as aggressive as during the day before, but given the fact that our night temperature is set to 65 (to save energy), I thought this was okay.
I went on to prepare the sourdough starter breakfast – the usual 1 cup flour , unbleached, all-purpose, and realized that I ran out of bottled water (used ¾ cup of tap water instead). Mixed that with the leftover (1 cup) and took off to church.
Reading reports of the sourdough starter showing first signs in the first 24 hours, I started panicking. No signs of life (aka bubbling surface) in my concoction. Little did I know what was actually hatching inside. So, I took my wife’s advice and gave it another night sleep chance.
Next morning (I’ll call it beginning of day 2) to my surprise. The surface showed signs of bubbling, meaning that was a good thing! I in turn was bubbling with joy, while the others in my household rolled their eyes.
My suspicion is that the delay in life signs is the Chicago weather that’s currently 10 degrees F outside. So since we want to conserve (save) energy, we run our heat at 68 F during the day and at 65 F at night. So, I would suspect that in a warmer environment, the signs of life will show earlier.
The one great thing about the blogosphere is that one can actually get in touch with the blog author for advice, tips on a certain subject and get precious direction.
One of these examples is a fellow foodie – Nicole – the author of the fantastic Pinch My Salt blog full of superb recipes, tips ideas and marvelous pics, who had a great photo chronicle on making her own sourdough starter from scratch. Her detailed pics and description inspired me to make my first sourdough starter. If it is a success it will be passed down to my next generation, and probably mention in my will how to share it among my children so they wont fight over it.
Creating a starter, also known as Mother Sponge, is a very simple process. You are basically creating a habitat where the already existent yeast (in our case in the flour and maybe in the air), will reproduce happily ever after, by feeding it with a mix of water and flour (un-bleached, all purpose).
Apparently the Mother of all Sponges, lives in San Francisco, CA, where a bacteria named Lactobacillus Sanfranciscensis was discovered in the sourdough starters made there, the main culprit for the bacterial multiplication.
And you wonder why real-estate prices are so high over there…
It cannot be more simple. I followed Nicole’s recipe that calls for:
- 1 cup 100% whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cups bottled water
The reason for the whole wheat flour is because it has much more wild yeast than all purpose flour.
I mixed all these and poured the result into a glass jar, where I will be monitoring its progress (or regress), by adding a rubber band that indicates its initial level.