Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Natural Sour Starter - Recipe for "starter" for breads

Hello friends... It's been a while and I know... I am posting a lousy recipe instead of writing and actual post on my blog... (actually this isn't lousy... it's really good)

Hey, one thing at a time! It's been a month or so since I have written and believe me, I have material...

But today I am making bread too, and I wanted to share this easy "Sour Starter" recipe for breads... I also have a "Mild Whole Wheat Starter"...

But today I am just sharing the "Sour Starter", so here goes....

For the Starter:
6 oz of organic grapes
1 1/4 C unbleached A/P flour
1 1/2 C filtered water, room temp.

For the Feeding Formula:
1 C unbleached A/P flour
1 C filtered water room temp.

Day One: Place grapes in the center of a 10 inch square piece of cheese cloth. Gather up the sides of the cloth and tie with string, creating a sachet. Leave a tail of string at least 10 inches long. Whisk flour and water together in a medium bowl until all lumps are fully dissolved and it is like pancake batter consistency. Using your hands, crush the sachet of grapes and lower it into the starter. Tape end of the string to the outside of the bowl so it doesn't fall into the mixture. Set the bowl, uncovered in a warm room, about 70*F, and let sit for 2 days.

Day Three: Small bubbles will appear on the starter's surface. Remove and discard the sahcet of grapes. Now the starter is ready for it's first feeding.

Feeding the Starter:

*Note: You will need to make a new batch of feeding formula every time you feed the starter.
Combine flour and water (Amounts are listed above) in a medium bowl and whisk until flour is dissolved. Stir this initial batch of feeding formula into the starter and let sit in a warm room for 1 day more.

Day Four: Stir the starter with a whisk and discard half of the mixture. Stir in a batch of feeding formula and let sit for two (2) hours at room temp. After the two hours place the starter, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 1 day. (Starters NEED oxygen, which is why they are usually left uncovered.) Store the starter on one of the refrigerator's highest shelves, to keep things from falling into it.

Day Five: Remove starter from the fridge, stir it with a whisk, and again discard half of the mixture, Stir another batch of the feeding formula, let the starter sit at room temp for 2 hours, then retrun it to the fridge. Repeat this process for the next TEN (10) days. Also make sure to "Feed" the starter at the same time every day. Also be sure to let the starter sit at room temp. for 2 hours after every feeding, each day before returning it to the fridge.  After these 10 days the starter will be ready for baking & will require less attention.

* Unless you bake bread daily you will only need to feed your starter once a week and stick to that one day or schedule.

Once a week you remove the starter from the fridge and stir it with a whisk, if there is a crust just remove it with a spoon. And then just follow the regular feeding formula like before but instead of everyday it's once a week.

Once a week fed starters retain good flavor but loose some leavening, it becomes dormant.  So remove the starter from the fridge 24 hours before you plan on using it. Whisk and discard half.  Feed.  Leave at room temp and 12 hours later  feed again.  Let sit at room temp for another 8-12 hours before baking with it.

Measure off what you need for baking according to your recipe, then feed the remainder. Let sit at room temp. for 2 hours before returning to the fridge.

Starters should always be at room temp. before using.

I know this seems like a lot of work and YES, it would be easier to just use yeast, but this method, this way of baking your bread adds a depth of flavor yeast cannot give your breads. It takes time and work to bake this way, but serious, good bakers realize this and are willing to put in the time. You will be amazed at how incredibly good your sour dough or french baguette will be with this method.


1 comment:

  1. I had a starter from a friend going for the longest kind of time and let it go. Glad to see this recipe! Thanks for sharing!