After my failed attempt at making my own starter a while back, I am now in full production with a new sourdough starter.
First of all, I’d like to point out that my home made starter MAY have actually worked, had I left it a bit longer and processed the bread differently, but never mind, I have now sourced a starter from a friend and I am loving it.
What she gave me had been fed on rye flour and had been in the fridge for a while so it was not active.
When I got home I divided it into 2 portions, one sits in my fridge as a back up and the other I put in my kitchen cupboard and started feeding it. Sice I didn’t have any rye flour at hand it gets regular wheat flour and it doesn’t seem to mind.
Every day I add equal proportions of warm water and flour to an equal proportion of starter (so a ratio of 1:1:1) and stir briskly to add oxygen. I keep it in a dark warmish place covered with a cloth to allow air flow but preventing bugs from falling into it.
It took me 3-4 days of feeding before it was bubbly and ready to use, but now it is always ready.
In order to respect the 1:1:1 ratio when feeding it, I often have extra starter that I need to remove so that the whole thing won’t overgrow my jar. There are millions of recipes on the web on how to use this but so far I have tried the following, always with great success:
- Feeding it to the chooks
- Giving some to a friend
- Making pancakes
- Making pizza
- Making a cake
- In general just taking any recipe that calls for flour and substituting 1/3 of the flour for my starter.
It is important to note that if you are not going to rest your dough, you should not rely on the starter to raise your mix, so if a cake recipe calls for baking powder, you should still add that in. The starter will just provide flavour and nutritional value.
On that note, I have found that my stomach tolerates sourdough products without any issues whereas eating too much regular bread of pizza often would leave me bloated. I think this is due to the sourdough being a fermented grain and therefore partially digested.
I am lazy so I use the bread machine for kneading.
I have found that having a bowl of water in the oven really helps with the crispness of the crust.