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Sourdough Starter recipe?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've looked on-line hoping to find a way to make my own sourdough bread. I've seen something called sourdough starter; the yeast and flour portion that is left out for a time to sour before the bread is baked...? If anyone knows how to prepare their own sourdough bread, I'd love the recipe.

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 11
There's a lot of information on this out there.

Capture some wild yeast and make sour dough. It's a fairly historic method.

Grape skins can be a good source, especially if they're a local grape. But many methods prepare a loose mix of water and flour and wait for it to get bubbly. A little Googling on the topic of making your own sourdough starter should get you going. Use a method that doesn't use any commercial yeasts (lots of methods do)

As far as books go, I like Classic Sourdoughs by Ed Wood. He's a serious sourdough fanatic and actually raises sourdough cultures from around the world. Sourdoughs International: sourdough bread starter, sourdough bread recipes, bread machine recipes but most bookstores carry his book.

Preparing sourdough batters varies a lot by what kind of bread you're making as well as the culture itself and your local environment. You'll probably have some experimentation as you first get started so take notes on times and temps so you'll learn what works where you live.

I also like this page for sourdough pancakes. Sourdough Flapjacks

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for the information. It sounds a bit complicated, just as I thought. I think I'll just pick up my baguettes and sourdough loaves from the store for awhile until I decide to tackle the task on my own.
post #4 of 11
Three books to checkout for good sourdough starters:

1. Artisan Baking Across America
2. Crust and Crumb
3. Bread Baker's Apprentice

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll definitely have to check that out:lips:
post #6 of 11
This links to a blog I did on it. Also had about 8 recipes I took people through in it.

Bob's Mother Recipe
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh, that's great! Thank you for the recipe.
How long do you leave "Mother" out, adding flour to her, etc. until she's ready to use?
post #8 of 11
Keeping a sourdough starter going is something like having a pet. It's by no means zero maintenance, and messes will happen.

Baking with a sour starter is very rewarding, and at some point every good baker should have and maintain his or her own starter. Not all starters are created equal. Native strains tend to eventually overtake commercial yeasts which may or may not be a good or a bad thing. It also takes some experience and time to get the starter to where it will produce a bread with tang.

You can start your starter with wild yeasts, or get a more certain result by purchasing a culture of known virility and properties. One of the best cultures available is Carl Griffith's. It's available free, from Friends of Carl, a group of ... well ... friends of Carl's who have decided to keep his spirit alive through his culture. Here's a link: Carl Griffith Sourdough Page

The instructions there on getting the starter going, and keeping it healthy are a little more mainstream, detailed and/or reliable than some.

FWIW, it only takes a week before a starter with a proven culture is ready to go -- and about a week and a half if you can get some good wild yeast. But even a very good starter's going to take a month or so before it makes a bread with a lot sourdough punch. The process involves keeping the colony in a semi-starved condition for a long period of time. After awhile the stronger, more sour yeast take over the colony and the sweeter yeast die out. "Awhile" is the operative word, and that's what it takes.

If you want to try a bread with some tang that won't take a month, try the pumpernickel sour rye recipe here: http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/pastr...tml#post223416

It will give you a sense of how European bakers deal with creating a sour complexity; and while the poolish isn't as strong as a sourdough starter the technique of building the bread from poolish plus everything else is very similar to the technique of building a sourdough. That's "preferment" for you.

In the meantime you can play with your sourdough, using it for pancakes and biscuits before moving on to bread.

Oh, btw, sourdough breads act "slack," that is, they act as though they have more water than they actually do -- so when you get to baking, keep an eye on that and have plenty of bench flour present for when you knead.

Hope this gives you some ideas,
BDL

PS. Do try the pumpernickel, you'll like it.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh my goodness - there's so much that goes into that process! I didn't realize how scientific and complex a procedure it was...thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about this:)
post #10 of 11
Please don't be intimidated. It IS a PITA, but it's also worth it -- not only to try it a few times but to get (reasonably) good at.

The kind of yeast you use now, regular yeast, whether purchased dormant or (the increasingly rare) active, has a very simple taste -- rather bland, really. But once you make the yeast work building a colony, letting it go hungry several times in the process, the weaker yeast cells are selected out of the colony, and the remaining cells develop a character and complexity they contributes to the bread -- along with some of the sour liquor they produce as part of their life cycle. If you stress the colony over a long period, eventually they'll develop so much character it overwhelms the complexity -- and that's sourdough. Here in America we like sourdough a lot -- at least I do.

European bakers like to hold on to more of the complexity, so they build colonies which take less time and don't end up quite as sour. The most common techniques are "poolish," and "biga." They work out to very similar results, but FWIW a biga is a dry Italian, and a poolish is a loose French starter.

I suppose working with a poolish a biga is considered more "advanced" by US home bakers because it's less common and more "artisanal." It's not hard though, just a little more time and a little more organization than "regular" bread -- and less bother than sourdough. Significantly less sour too. But a lot more complexity. The more you learn about bread, the more you'll enjoy working with poolish and bigas. Simple white and country breads become sophisitcated, "breadbasket" and ... well ... artisanal.

The pumpernickel recipe I linked in my earlier post is an easy way of working with a preferment. Besides, it's an excellent sandwich and toasting bread -- which is usually what people are looking for when they get the idea to venture into sourdoughs. Try it before moving on to a real sourdough. If you that works for you, I have a pain de campagne recipe which will knock your socks off.

Baking with a poolish is a lot like baking with a starter. The difference is that the poolish gets all its attention the night before and the day of baking -- while a starter needs periodic love. (I'll let you draw the salacious parallels -- not going there, you can't make me.)

Meanwhile, send away for Carl Griffith's starter. What do you have to lose? A stamp!

BDL

PS. One thing most home bakers (I'm NOT NOW or WAS I EVER a pro baker) never learn about sourdough is to keep it and use it in small enough quantities so that more water is always required to make a normal amount of dough. Starter is the world's stickiest and most persistent glue. So, always allow for the extra water you're going to need for the bowl, your spoons and your hands.

PPS. Poolish, bigas and sourdough starters make GREAT pizza dough. Oh yes.
post #11 of 11
Last month I started a new mother based on grape skins and keffir ( I know, I'm a spaz). This is the sturdiest starter I've ever made. it was ready to go in four days, no word of a lie. I had planned on at least a week before I would be convinced if it might be viable. I made my first bread on the morning of day five. I was actually so impressed with the end result that I brought my sample into my Chef (who is very bread-centric). He though enough of it to serve it on tasting menu for the owner's wife. My "cheat?" I cultured it in a yohgurt maker. Maybe a fluke, I can't say for sure (wild yeast is, well, wild). Its really not that much work. Well, I guess it is for the yeast. For the bread maker its really more about the time.

--Al
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