Sourdough Bread “Starter”

It is day 3 of my Sourdough Starter.  I haven’t made a sourdough bread outside of the professional kitchen in years!  My daughter who has been following my blog said, “Mom, when are you going to make sourdough bread?”  So, three days ago, I took some flour, water, yeast and sugar and made a ball of it.  I put it in a plastic container.  Next, I labeled the container – mostly so my husband wouldn’t throw it out – but also, so I could keep track of the days and how many times I stir it each day.  I left it loosely covered on the counter so I could see it and not forget.

I’ll bet you are thinking, “You left it  on the counter…for days!?”  Yep it’s meant to get “sour”, silly!  Not sour to make you sick, sour to develop the flavor.  I also want to explain why it is loosely covered: The dry, active yeast we use in bread baking is an organism but there are also little organisms living all around us, in the air.  When those organisms are added to our starter, they will ferment and help produce more gas and eventually, alcohol.  The result will be a depth of flavor for our bread.  In fact, it’s believed that sourdoughs actually have their origin in an accidental contamination of wild yeasts to dough that was left uncovered.

Often, no dry, active yeast is even used in a starter, but this recipe is a little more “fool-proof”.

So…getting your own starter going is easy:

In a bowl, mix to form a ball:
2 cups Warm Water
3-1/2 cups Bread Flour
2-1/2 tsp. Dry Active Yeast
1 Tabl. Sugar

Place the ball of dough into a plastic container (or glass – NOT METAL) and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  I suggest you label the side as I have, so you’ll remember to stir it 3-4 times a day.

See those beautiful gas bubbles? That’s a good sign!

I’ll be baking my bread in 2 more days and will have the recipe, step by step instructions and pics for you then.  Why not get your own starter going today?

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About bakingway

Baker/Pastry Chef for over 25 years.

Posted on January 20, 2011, in Breads, Recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I am attempting a gluten free sourdough bread and starter. It’s tough making bread… or baking anything really… when you’re limited by your boyfriend’s severe allergy to wheat, corn, rice, and soy. I’m trying to make a starter using potato flour and a starter using sorghum flour since they seem to be most likely to play well with yeast. I am waiting at the moment to see how they end up. How can you tell if your starter is doing what it’s supposed to be doing? Does it just swell up? You mentioned gas bubbles too so I will be keeping an eye out for those as well but I’ve never made a wheat flour starter that I can kinda benchmark against.

    I have a tried and true gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill) that has worked with pizza crusts and cookies in the pasts and I will be using it again when I move to step 2 of my sourdough. Hopefully my “special” starter will yield the same result.

    • Hi Kelly, I’ve never made gluten free sourdough before, please be sure and let me know how it turns out! You should be looking for the starter to rise (get moire volume) and the gas bubbles. You need to stir (move it around) it 3-4 times a day. I’m wondering if it might take longer than a 5 day starter for gluten free. I can recommend Chef Richard Coppedge of The Culinary Institute who has written (the best!) Gluten Free Baking Recipe book. I had him as Chef Instructor at CIA and he was way ahead of his time with gluten free baking.

  2. does the starter grow and about what size glass bowl should I use?

    • Hi Rita! The starter will “grow” by double. You will be stirring it around (pushing it around) a few times a day, so it won’t expand too much. I used a 2 Qt. container and it never went over the 1/2 way mark. Thank you for following my blogs – remember to enjoy the process! Happy Baking!

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