Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter is like a family member - old times Tamagotchi one might say. Sure thing is that a starter does feel like a pet. At least it needs a lot of love and time. You leave it behind and it's dead. You forget to feed it and water it - it's dead. So it does sound awfully much like a pet to me!

Sourdough baking has been a traditional baking method in Finland. My grandmother used to bake all their breads in a big baking oven and she used sourdough.  Now it seems that sourdough has been forgotten in many places. That is sad. The bread made with sourdough starter tastes so much better than when commercial yeast is used to leaven the bread. Starter brings totally different world into your bread. And it's not that hard to use either. Hardest things is to get that starter running in a jar on your kitchen counter or some other place that is warm enough for your new pet. Give it a try and you get to taste the best bread in a whole world!

My own little sourdough starter has been in our family ever since this spring. I had done it before with moderate success but this time I had a real struggle to get that starter up and running. But finally I did it and ever since that my starter has been a really lovely.

I started it with 50 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of water. Before that I tried it with dls and cups but it just didn't work. And I ended up having sourdough that did not work like it was supposed to and smelled something totally different that it was supposed to. Trust me - you know from the smell if your sourdough starter isn't what it is meant to be. Good sourdough smells mildly acid and little fruity. Bad sourdough starter smells simply bad.

On the first day I added 50 grams of water and 50 grams of rye flour, mixed it well and started to wait. Baking is something that can really build up your patience. So I waited for about 24 hours, mixed it a little couple of times and finally  it was all bubbly and happy looking sourdough starter. Then I started to feed it. I removed half of the starter and added another 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water, mixed it well and waited again. This time I needed to wait about 12 hours before it was all happy and bubbly. Then again I removed  half of it and added 50 grams of both water and rye flour. Then again the same thing after 12 hours. I continued this about a week and I had managed to create a working sourdough starter on my very own kitchen. You can start feeding it with some other flour too after 3-4 days. Tried that too and it works just fine. I gradually changed to flour though. Started half of rye and half of all-purpose flour. But in the end I went back to rye flour since I wanted to have a whole meal starter and I don't really want to keep several starters - at least for now.

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