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Sourdough Starter

Thom Hackett
Makes: 3 Quarts

 

 

The smell of sour dough bread baking will make your mouth water with delight. The starter is easy to prepare although it takes about a week before it is ready to use.

 

Ingredients


2 cups freshly ground rye flour
2 cups cold filtered water
cheesecloth
6 cups freshly ground rye flour
cold filtered water

Cooking Method


Best results for sourdough starter are obtained from rye rather than wheat flour, perhaps because rye contains a lower phytate content than wheat.  You will need two gallon-sized bowls.  Total time to make the starter is 1 week.

Grind 2 cups flour and let it sit for a bit to cool. 

  1. In one large bowl, mix flour with 2 cups of cold water. 

  2. The mixture should be quite soupy. 

  3. Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band--this will allow yeasts and bacteria to get in but will keep insects out. 

  4. In warm weather, you may set the bowl outside in the shade if you live in an unpolluted area and no pesticides have been used in your garden. 

  5. Otherwise, keep it in a warm open area indoors or on a patio.

The next day and every day for a total of 7 days...

  1. Transfer the starter to the other clean bowl and add 1 cup freshly ground rye flour plus enough cold water to make a soupy mixture. 

  2. Cover and let stand. 

After a few days...

  1. The starter will begin to bubble and develop a wine-like aroma.

  2. It should go through a bubbly, frothy stage and then subside.

After 7 days...

  1. The starter is ready for bread making. 

  2. Use 2 quarts for a batch of sourdough bread but save 1 quart for your next batch of starter. 

  3. If not using remaining starter immediately, you may store it in airtight jars in the refrigerator or freezer.

  4. Do not be tempted to add honey to your starter, as some recipes require. 

  5. Honey encourages the proliferation of yeasts at the expense of lactic-acid-production bacteria and may give you an alcoholic fermentation.

To start a new batch of starter...

  1. Place the quart of leftover starter in a clean bowl. 

  2. Add 1 cup freshly ground rye flour plus water each day, changing bowls, until 3 quarts are obtained.

     
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