October 16, 2009

Caring for Your Sourdough Starter

The care and feeding of sourdough (wild yeast) starter is really what keeps most people from maintaining one. (As a side note, it's named sourdough, because usually it results in a more "sour" tasting dough, but this can be countered by sugar or using more starter.) Maintaining the starter is actually easy and most established starters are pretty resilient.There are lots of recipes out there for "catching" the wild yeast out of the air (think of it as good mold) or you can purchase a starter from several places. Your other choice is to get starter from someone you know. If you get a "pass-along" starter the donor will most likely give you instructions on how to feed (aka refresh) it. The instructions I got were something like this: every week use or pour off 1/2 your starter, then add 3/4 c sugar, 3 Tbsp potato flakes, 1 c warm water. I had never purchased instant potatoes before, so that part was interesting. But then after reading and learning about wild yeast starters, I learned I could really just feed it with flour and water. Once the micro flora get going in there, flour is the perfect food. I feed my starter usually once a week. I screw the lid on tightly and give it a good shake. Then I use what I need or pour some down the drain ("some" means I don't measure). I measure out about 1/2 c flour and 1 c of warm water. Again with the shaking and then unscrew the lid a little so the pressure doesn't build up. Then I store it (in a glass jar) in the fridge door until next week.

I do love http://sourdoughhome.com/  as a place to learn TONS about sourdough.

Starter can be used in any yeast recipe. A good rule of thumb for converting a store bought yeast recipe is 1 c of starter and replaces 1 packet of yeast (1/4 of an ounce) PLUS one cup of liquid.

I promise to share the most amazing sourdough pancake recipe soon.

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