There seems to always be some mystery around sourdough starter. I remember the sweet sour smell coming from a bubbling crock in a quiet corner of my Moms kitchen counter. Her measuring and caring for it like a little creature. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Very strange but very delicious! My Mom’s sourdough bread was wonderful, crusty and browned perfectly on the outside and warm and light on the inside! It had complex flavors mildly sour and yeasty with just a little sweetness. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
So what is this crazy concoction all about? Sourdough starter is a treasured part of many bakers’ kitchens, sometimes passed down through generations. Sourdough baking is as much art as science. What makes this bread so special? The breads seem to take on the essence of were they originate.
Well basically it’s pretty simple, flour, water, and time. There are many recipes online but I wanted to keep it simple. With so few ingredients it is essential to use the highest quality you can find. I use filtered water and unbleached all purpose flour. The wild fermentation of flour and water will usually yield beautiful results in about 5 days.
So here is what I did.
Mix 2 ½ cups of filtered water room temperature with
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
and I added 1 tbsps. Sugar
I mixed this all together with a wooden spoon in a ceramic bowl and took it out on my deck, I sat with it for about a 20 minutes, letting it gather wild yeast from the air, myth or not I wanted to do it. Then I brought it in, covered it loosely and let it sit in a warm, quiet corner overnight.
Right away it started with little bubbles coming to the surface, so exciting! It is a living thing that you must take care of, you must discard some and add some to keep it healthy. You are cultivating yeast and lactobacillus which must be fed if you want to keep it active. If you take proper care of it, it should be ready to use in 5 days.
Mystery or goo? I hope to be baking a loaf sometime next week. I will keep you posted!