Friday, 29 June 2012

Sourdough Starter

Meet the most recent addition to the house. Apparently I should build a relationship with this and treat it as a pet. Well it should be with us for some time and I have to nurture and feed it- so I can see the comparison.
 This is my sourdough bread starter. We are following the recipe/instructions from our favourite series/author Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall and River Cottage. (We have follwed this from the first series on Channel 4 in the UK, and is available on lifestyle on Austar for anyone in Oz. I actually booked Matt into a day course at River Cottage HQ, on our visit home last year.- but now I'm going off track. But basically if you get chance to look this up; there's a website, books, DVDs TV series I recommend it!)

Anyway, from the series and the Bread handbook (3), we have started our own sourdough bread starter.
Basically this will produce live yeast that we will use for our bread in the future. With each batch you use half your starter and then feed it, to replenish the stock for the next.

To start we have used 150g of wholemeal flour and 250ml of warm water, whisked and left to develop. Cover with a lid or Clingfilm (this isn't clear initially in the instructions, so ours took 2 days to start developing). Then when you can see some action (bubbles and the beginning of a fermenting smell) add a further 150g of flour and 250ml warm water, whisk then recover. On the 3rd
day you now discard half the starter (or use it to start a second) then add 150g flour and 250ml of cold water. This process is continued for the remainder of the week. At this stage it should be ready to use for baking.

At this stage we are at day 5. Am hoping to use this starter on Sunday, if not then I should have time next Friday, so it should be beginning to develop its own flavour and aroma; As each starter will be individual to its environment.

I was initially concerned (as we live in the tropics- not that is an
 issue at the moment, as its winter) that the starter would become too active or smelly, but if your only planning on using it once a week or less, then the activity can be reduced by keeping it in the fridge (you can even freeze it). So I am hoping this system will work for us. As a batch (or ½ the starter) should produce 2-3 loaves (depending on their size etc), which would be ample for us.

So meet our sourdough starter, its 5 days old…   

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