Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sourdough Starter. 12.20.16

Sourdough Starter after 2 weeks.

Sourdough Starter after 2 weeeks
 Even though  I've been using a sourdough starter that I started 2 years ago, I decided to see if I could repeat that process now.  The original starter contained grapes from my garden for the wild yeasts that grow on grapes.  That is not necessary at all.

This is a variation on the countless sourdough starter instructions.  The small jar and small volume makes for less waste.

I use organic, unbleached flour and unchlorinated water.  I don't know if either is required.  I suspect bleaching kills natural bacteria in the flour, and being organic is something I prefer.  Chlorine is in water to kill bacteria, too.  I don't know if sourdough bacteria can overcome that, or if you can just use normal tap water.

It's very easy and works nicely, but takes a long time to do it's own thing.

Use a clean small jar.  This is a 1 pint canning jar.  A small jelly jar would be fine.  You want a small head space so the oxygen will be depleted by the bacteria. 

Day 1.  Combine 1 tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of water.  Mix and screw on the lid.  Let it sit.

Sourdough Starter after 2 weeks.
Day 2.  Add 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 table spoon of water.  Mix and screw on lid.  Let it sit.

Day 3.  Remove about one tablespoon of mixture, then add 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of water.  Mix and screw on lid.  Let it sit.

Day 4-14.   Repeat Day 3.

During the first few days, not much happens.  The flour tends to break down a little and settle with fluid on top.  Then, gradually, bubbles start to form.  Most recipes don't go the full 14 days, but I wanted to be sure.  I did this before at 7 days and the bread did not rise.   This time, at 14 days, the gas production - what makes the bread rise - is robust.  The lid actually bent outward from the gas pressure.  I can apply a new lid.  You can hear a pffft when the lid is unscrewed.  During the first week the aroma was more like spoiled milk - butyric acid.  Now, it's more like yogurt - lactic acid.  I think it's ready to try making a loaf.  I will start the pre-ferment tonight.

You can always buy an established starter.  King Alfred Flour has a good recipe for sourdough starter.  King Alfred also sells a sourdough starter so that this process can be avoided.    Their starter has been maintained for more than 100 years.

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