My Adventures with Sourdough

My Adventures with Sourdough

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In June 2013, My Adventures with Sourdough began. After nearly eight years of baking some sort of sourdough bread each week, I can still say that we dearly love it.

 

How My Adventures with Sourdough Began

There is much to learn on the Internet about this old-time tradition of baking, and I did a lot of studying before I began my first batch. When it came time to make my starter, however, I went with a recipe I found on King Arthur Flours, with a couple of changes in the directions. You may also opt to buy your starter from them, but I decided to make mine from scratch.

The beginning process takes a week, where you will stir and feed your starter each day until it begins to ferment and sour. You’ll store your covered crock of starter on your kitchen counter this first week, but after that, you can refrigerate it in a glass jar or ceramic container until you’re ready to use it. This is especially helpful if you don’t intend to bake sourdough every day. Of course, you’ll want to bring your starter to room temperature before you use it, which lengthens the preparation time.

There are times when I’ll use my starter every day. When that happens, I simply feed it once a day and then use the starter as desired. I keep it on my counter and no refrigeration is necessary.

It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of sourdough bakers give their starter a name. I named mine “Bertha.” She is a living thing, after all.

 

Four Ingredients Needed to Make a Sourdough Starter

  • warm water
  • honey
  • instant yeast
  • all-purpose flour

 

Instructions for Making a Starter

Pour the warm water into a 4 quart glass or ceramic container or bowl. Add honey and instant yeast. Gradually stir in the all-purpose flour.

Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and place it in a warm spot. It is said that a dish towel or plastic wrap allows the starter to capture any wild yeast that is in the air, giving it a better flavor. The mixture will begin to bubble and brew almost immediately.

Allow it to set on your counter for 2-3 days, stirring once a day. When the bubbles have subsided and a yeasty sour aroma has developed, it is time to “feed” your starter.

 

Time to Begin Feeding Your Starter

Recipe for Sourdough Biscuits

To feed your starter, remove 1 cup of starter, also called “unfed starter,” or “discard”. You may use this to make sourdough pancakes, biscuits, or pretzels. Or you may discard the cup of starter, or “share” it with a friend. But it is essential that you get rid of one cup. If you don’t, you’ll end up with enough sourdough starter to feed an army!

Add to the remaining starter: 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to combine and cover.

Feed your starter every 12 hours for the first week to get the best “sour” taste from your mixture.

After the first week, you may begin using the active starter in recipes. When not in use, you may refrigerate the starter in a glass or ceramic container. I chose to purchase a crock from King Arthur Flour to store my sourdough starter, found HERE. It’s a nice size and comes with a lid. Some people will use a quart jar, which would probably work well.

Stir your starter once a week and feed it whenever you use it.

The more you use your starter, the more vigorous it will become.

 

Ways to Use Your Starter

As I mentioned before, “Bertha” is nearing her 8th year and is going strong. There are many recipes that use Sourdough Starter, and it’s what I use in my everyday baking.

tangy sourdough loaves

We Love Sourdough

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make with sourdough. Note that I’ve broken these into two groups: 1) unfed or discard recipes; and 2) fed or active recipes.

Unfed Recipes: Artisan Crackers, Banana Bread, Biscuits, Cakes, Cider Donuts and Fritters, English Muffins, Pancakes, and Pretzels.

Fed Recipes: Bagels, Baguettes, Bread Bowls, Bread Sticks, Chocolate Croissants, Cinnamon Rolls, Dinner Rolls, Flatbread, Hamburger Buns, Oat Bread, Pizza, Rye Bread, Tangy Sourdough, and Whole Wheat Loaves.

Remember, the more you use your sourdough, the more vigorous and sour it will be become. I hope that your adventures with sourdough will be as enjoyable as mine.

See my Sourdough Recipes Here.

Sourdough Starter - Bertha

Sourdough Starter

The starter recipe is very simple. My Adventures with Sourdough began in June 2013. After nearly eight years of baking some sort of sourdough bread each week, I can still say that we dearly love it.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Natural Yeast, Sourdough, Starter
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time:: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

Equipment

Polish Pottery Bowl
Dough Whisk
Measuring Tools
Sourdough Jars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Pour the water into a 4 quart glass or ceramic container or bowl. Add honey and yeast. Stir in flour gradually. Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth and place it in a warm spot. It is said that a dishcloth or plastic wrap allows the starter to capture any wild yeast that is in the air, giving it a better flavor. The mixture will begin to bubble and brew almost immediately.
  • Allow it to set on your counter for 2-3 days, stirring once a day. When the bubbles have subsided and a yeasty sour aroma has developed, it is time to "feed" your starter.
  • To feed: Remove 1 cup of starter, also called "unfed starter". You may use this to make sourdough pancakes, biscuits, or pretzels. Or you may discard the cup of starter or "share" it with a friend, but it is essential that you get rid of one cup. If you don't you'll end up with enough sourdough starter to feed an army! Add to the remaining starter 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to combine and cover. Feed your starter every 12 hours for the first week to get the best "sour" taste from your mixture.
  • After the first week, you may then refrigerate the starter in a glass or ceramic container. Stir once a week and feed whenever you use the starter. The more you use your starter, the more vigorous it will become.
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2 thoughts on “My Adventures with Sourdough”

  • Oh, my I love starter bread! When I got married, some 36 years ago, my husbands mother and grandmother both made sourdough bread. It was 'required' :-), that I learn to make it and I did for 26 + years and was the last one to still be making it. Then one day I forgot to save a starter. I cried. So no bread for almost 10 years then a few months ago a friend gave me a new starter and I've been making it again. We LOVE fry bread with sourdough starter! Hope you enjoy making it and it becomes a great family tradition for you! Blessings, Debbie

    • So far, I've made biscuits, English muffins, pancakes and two types of bread. Would you mind sharing the fry bread recipe with us? Glad you have a starter again! Do you refrigerate yours?

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