The Dish: Sourdough Edition
- 1 piece of old dough (dough leftover from a previous batch) left out at room temperature for at least 8 hours
- 1 cup plain flour, such as unbleached all purpose flour, bread flour, rye flour or ideally a 50-50 mix of Organic whole wheat and Organic white flour
- Non-chlorinated water room temperature, the harder the water the better, sourdough likes lots of minerals!
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 2 cups water, room temperature (see notes above)
- 2 cups flour (see notes above)
For the easy or quick sourdough starters, mix the ingredients together by hand and place in a clean glass, ceramic or plastic container and cover loosely. Let sit for 3 days (2 days for the quick), stirring daily. The mixture should look active and bubbly by day two. If the mixture turns pink or shows mould, throw out.
After three days, its time to feed your starter. Use a ratio of 3 parts starter to 5 parts water and 5 parts flour. So, for example, measure out 3 cups starter and add to this 5 cups flour and 5 cups water. Mix well by hand.
Do this daily for at least 2 days (the longer the better). You are now ready to use your starter!
You can keep the sourdough alive by feeding in the same proportions at least once every five days. OR you can freeze it and use it at a later date by feeding it and letting it have at least 2-3 days to start working.
Traditional (but more challenging!):
Locate 2 cups of organic grapes, bury these carefully in a glass or ceramic bowl with 2 cups of organic white flour for two days, mixing occasionally, but be careful, do not break the grapes, it is the yeast on the outside of the grapes we are after. On the third day, remove and discard the grapes. Add 2 cups of water to the flour (you can also use half of the flour and add 1 cup of organic whole wheat flour for even more chances of success!). Blend carefully but thoroughly.
Cover this mixture with a dishcloth or cheesecloth and leave in a warm place for a day or so. Check regularly. If the surface looks dry, give it a stir. It should start to work within 24 hours, if at all. Let the starter work for 3 to 4 days, stirring at least daily, but do not stir it more than twice a day. After 4 days you should have a yeasty and active starter ready to use.
If at any time the mixture goes pink or shows mould, sigh heavily and throw it away, start again from the beginning.
- 3/4 cup sourdough starter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup non fat dry milk powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the sourdough starter, egg, water, and oil.
- In a separate bowl, combine the non fat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Stir to blend dry ingredients. Add to sourdough starter and mix until batter is smooth.
- Bake on a greased 350 degree F(175 degree C) griddle until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and bake on opposite side.
Rustic Sourdough Bread:
- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups flour, preferably hard bread flour or organic flour, but unbleached all purpose flour will do in a pinch
1) Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
2) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
3) Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
4) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
5) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
6) Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, or a clean utility knife wielded firmly, works well here.
7) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack. Alternatively bake the bread directly on a pizza stone for an all over crunchy crust.
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