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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Make your own 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Feed your starter the best quality flour you can.

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.

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