Sourdough-part 1

All this moving means I’ve been going too crazy with everything to even get a picture of anything that’s been in my mouth (twss?).  So, I’m giving you the first part of my sourdough post instead!  I realized it’s super super long, so I’m doing the intro now, and tomorrow I’ll do the actual bread.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on sourdough.  I’ve read a lot about it, but I haven’t made it a ton of times (before the fiancé and I lived together, it was a huge pain to work out the timing on cooking things like this because I was never home).  But the basic premise of sourdough is to make bread using natural yeasts, rather than this stuff

I went through a big phase of wanting to cook new things last year.  I learned to make pot roast (fiancé adores it), cook meat with bones (meat with bones always terrified me), make homemade stock (DO IT.  So useful to have), and make my own sourdough.

Despite how long the instructions are, sourdough isn’t super time consuming.  It takes a longer span of time from start to finish than a lot of things, but it also is not going to have a problem if you start making it and then get busy and ignore the dough for a while, unlike a yeast bread.

You start by taking a jar/container either glass or plastic (not metallic), and putting equal parts flour and water in it (for the first batch I do about half a cup of each).  This is called your starter.

I’ve read things where people swear you need bottled water or filtered water, so the first time I used bottled to make my starter.  Used tap in a pinch, and the world didn’t end, so I just go for it now.  I use a mason jar right now, and I used to use a taller plastic container.  You just want something where you can see what your starter is up to.

You keep adding equal parts flour and water to your starter once a day.  I’ve seen things that say to add a cup of each.  You will waste so much flour if you do that.  I do between 1 T and ¼ c most of the time.

You’ll have times where some water will kinda separate out from the overall mix.

It’s called “hooch” and it always happens to mine, and the bread still rises.  You didn’t ruin anything.  Just give it a stir when you have time.

Here’s the beauty of sourdough-when your starter begins to smell bad you DID SOMETHING RIGHT.  How often can you say that?   It takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week for this to happen.

The first time I made the bread I was worried about knowing for sure, so I put a rubber band around the starter jar-you move it to what level the starter is at right when you add things, and then if in a few hours the liquid is above that line you know it’s active, because the bubbles from the bacteria are increasing the volume in the jar.

If you’re me you’ll then gleefully make people smell your starter and go “see!  It smells funny!”

They might judge now, but trust me, feed them the bread, and they won’t judge again.

Actually making the bread is a long process.  I will tell you how I did mine, but there are tons of varying methods, and you’re ok with any of them.  The key things are to have the right hyrdation (ratio of water: flour) levels, and to make sure you’ve got a fully active starter

For mine, the first morning I made what’s called the sponge.

No, not like that.  But think about how a sponge is all full of air holes.  You want your sponge to be a flour water mix that’s got lots of natural yeast in it to make little bubbles.  Good bread sponge looks like this

See how it looks, well, sponge-y?

To make the sponge I mixed together 1 c starter, 2 c whole wheat flour, and 2 water.  Made sure all were well Incorporated (no lumps, starter not chillin at the bottom of the bowl, you get the idea), covered with a towel, let it sit.  It needs 6-8 hours, or just do it before bed, and you can do the next step in the morning.

Have a great monday!  I’m going to be working on unpacking this house…. ugh… but yay!



8 responses to “Sourdough-part 1

  1. Wow! I am so impressed! It looks great!

  2. Haha, I wonder how a starter would make my dorm room smell… Happy Monday!

  3. Wow, I didn’t know making sourdough was such a long process. It is one of my favorite breads.

  4. Wow what a looooooooong process but well worth it!

  5. Evan, I tried baking sourdough for the first time in a college dorm. Everyone thought I was a boring bookworm, but the scent of strong alcohol wafting around my room soon revamped my reputation :p

  6. Awesome! Do you think I could use Whole Wheat flour for my final product? Or would it kill my sponge?

  7. wow who knew sourdough was such a process looks fun tough!!

  8. Wow – you’ve got baking skill girl!! This sounds complicated, but awesome!!!

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