Saturday, February 09, 2008

Care and Feeding of Sourdough Starter

Since starting the adventure of Sourdough I have come up with several tips for taking care of and enjoying sourdough starter. Some of these tips are anecdotal in nature but there is some evidence that they are true. Most of these tips; however, are based on my own experiences.

  1. Use a Glass Container with a loose fitting or cheese cloth cover to house your starter. A quart jar with cheese cloth held in place with a ring works well.
  2. Never use metal utensils to mix or measure the sourdough starter. Sourdough starter is acidic and the acid will react with metal. The handle of a wooden spoon works great.

  3. Feed your Starter once a week if kept at a cool temperature (17ºC or there abouts). If kept in the refrigerator you can feed it less often. I've never let mine go unfed for longer than 2 weeks but I've been told it can survive a month in the refrigerator. You know you starter is still alive if, when you feed it, the top of the starter looks bubbly or frothy. Those bubbles are what make your bread rise.

  4. The warmer you keep the starter the faster it will reproduce and will therefore need to be fed more often. When I have a lot of baking to do I mix 1 cp starter with 2 cps flour and 2 cps water and place the container in the room with the wood stove, the day before I plan to bake.

  5. Replace whatever you remove with fresh flour and water. If your recipe calls for 1 cp starter then replace with 1/2 cp flour and 1/2 cp warm water (between 22º and 30ºC).

  6. If you refrigerate the starter pull it out at least one day in advance of your baking. Now would be a good time to feed the starter too.

  7. Feed your starter the best quality flour you can. My best results have been with organic whole wheat but the Upper Canada Village Super Fine (unbleached sifted) or ENT (whole wheat) works well too.

  8. After a day or two you will see liquid forming on top of the starter. This is normal and should be stirred back in before neasuring out. It will have a strong alcohol smell. The liquid may be very dark. This is normal and depends on the kind of flour used to feed it.

Now for the recipes we like:

These recipes have been copied directly from the Recipe'zaar website. A search for Sourdough Bread and Sourdough Biscuits will bring up lots of recipes but I haven't tried any but these two.

Sourdough Angel Biscuits Recipe #35992

Light as a feather! Prep time does not include rising time.

by Donna M.

10-12 biscuits

55 min 30 min prep

1

cup sourdough starter (active and bubbly)

1

teaspoon sugar

1

teaspoon dry yeast

2

tablespoons lukewarm water

4

tablespoons shortening

1/2

teaspoon salt

1

teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4-1 1/2

cups all-purpose flour

1/4

cup melted butter or margarine

  1. Measure sourdough starter into mixing bowl.

  2. Add sugar.

  3. Dissolve yeast in warm water.

  4. Add to starter.

  5. Cut shortening into mixture of salt, baking powder, and flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal.

  6. Add to starter mixture, stirring well with a fork.

  7. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently, adding more flour if necessary.

  8. Roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut with biscuit cutter.

  9. Dip in melted butter and place in a greased cake pan with edges touching.

  10. Cover with a cloth or plastic and set in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  11. Bake at 400º F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Grandma's Sourdough Biscuits Recipe #18995

My grandma makes these every time we go over for dinner. I got my starter from her, so I too make these every couple weeks when I need to use up some starter. They are really fast and easy, and taste delicious right out of the oven. by pollen

8 biscuits

22 min 10 min prep

1

cup flour

1/4

teaspoon salt

1/2

teaspoon baking soda

2

teaspoons baking powder

1/3

cup margarine or butter, cold

1

cup sourdough starter

  1. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

  2. Cut in the margarine or butter.

  3. Mix in sourdough starter.

  4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured board.

  5. Knead a few times, until all of the flour is mixed in.

  6. Pat/roll dough to 3/4" and cut out biscuits; place them on an ungreased baking sheet.

  7. Let rest for 5 or 10 minutes fore putting into the oven.

  8. Bake at 425º F for 12-15 minutes, until slightly brown.


I hope these tips help anyone who is just starting out with sourdough starter. I also hope you find it as rewarding, and yummy, as I do. Have fun.

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