Thursday, April 25, 2013

My New Project ~ Sourdough Starter

I have been wanting to begin a sourdough starter for some time, but always lacked the get-up-and-go, to get-up-and-get-on-with-it!   Over the last few weeks I finally got around to doing it.  I did a ZERO research before I began, thinking that it would be easy.  Hmmm...

Let me give this to you straight; it is not so easy!  Well, based upon what I've read, at least not for most people.  For my first attempt I began using a recipe out of one of my favourite reference/recipe books.  It was a flop...literally!  The instructions neglected to mention that I needed to throw most of my mixture away each day, and so my mixture was enourmous by the time I got to day seven.  On that day, after some research, I realised that my starter had failed.  *sniff sniff*

I took this failure as a personal challenge to succeed the next time around.  I did quite a lot of looking around on the internet for recipes, noting what they had in common, noting variables...etc.  And so I began again, this time with more emphasis on keeping the mixture warm.  Not so easy in Ireland!  But even just twenty-four hours later my mixture was showing promising signs of life!  Hoorah!

Here is what I did:

Day One ~ Began with two cups of lukewarm water, to which I added 1 cup of organic whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of organic rye flour.  I set it on a small towel (folded into quarters) directly on top of our wood burning stove.

Day Two ~ I woke to my "pet" having a layer of brownish water lying on the surface.  Apparently that is a good sign and is called the "hooch".  I simply stirred this back in with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Then I poured about 3/4 of my mixture down the sink and added 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of rye and 1/2 cup of wholewheat to the mixture and stirred well.  I popped the lid back on and set it back on the stove.  **note that I only built a small fire at approx. 4pm and let the fire die down at bedtime - I did not keep it lit continually**

Day Three ~ More "hooch".  I followed the same directions as the day before and set it back in it's place on the stove.  Within a few hours I noticed bubbling on the surface and top 1cm.  Starting to smell "fermented". 

Day Four ~ No noticeable "hooch" today.  Followed same directions as previous days.  By the evening time however, my mixture has grown considerably in size and had bubbles throughout; it actually spilled out of my glass jar!  The mixture smelled distinctly "fermented".  As it was late I simply stirred my mixture and poured out half into another glass jar. 

Day Five ~  Even though I knew my starter was "active" I fed it again just to be sure.  I left them both on the stove for the day and by evening they were both frothy and smelly (the good kind).  I popped them both into the fridge.

Since then I have baked with my starters multiple times, as I usually bake two loaves of bread, every other day and each time they have turned out just lovely!  I love baking sourdough!  To me, it is nothing short of miraculous to see bread rising, even though there is no yeast in it!  Yes, yes, I'm easily pleased, what can I say?  Whole-wheat sourdough recipe coming soon...


~SALLY~ said...

Well, you are braver than me. Ha ha! I will have to give it a try sometime. I love homemade bread and while this looks challenging, sour dough bread is AMAZING. Hope the end result works out good for you!! :)

Nora L said...

ah great i'm planning on making sourdough soon too..I did get a recipe from here

But yours sounds very easy to follow too .I might just follow your instructions and see how I get on.
Thanks for sharing

Nikki R said...

That is amazing. I have never tried it before. Thanks for sharing.

Nicole Pelkey said...

Wow...this is great!! Thanks for sharing your experience with it :) I realllly want to make some now. Yummmm. I can almost smell it cooking :)

Nora L said...

HI sarah
I wondered what size jar did you use for your sourdough mixture.
also are the cups you mentioned UK cups or are they American cups as I think there is a difference in size between them..

Sarah in Ireland said...

Nora ~ Thanks for your comment. For the mixture I use a litre/quart (not much difference between the two) sized canning jar. We have bought them from both "Shaws" and "Joyces" before.

I wasn't aware that the "cup" sizes were different. I guess if that is correct, then we must be using a UK cup, but I really couldn't say for sure.

Hope some of that may be helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Nora L said...

thanks sarah
i thought there was a difference in the cups as our spell checker has a weight converter function too and i think the Uk cups and Us cups were different,I'l check again to make it's no big deal anyway..youre ice-cream looks great and so healthy:-))