Thursday, 20 October 2016

Sourdough 'restarter'


On our return from holidays I decided it was time to start another sourdough starter. I had made an attempt at this in the past, but something went a little wrong. So before the weather heats up too much I thought I'd best get 'start'ed.

In baking terms sourdough is the ultimate 'make your own', especially if you start your starter from scratch. And I am assured time and again that it's very forgiving- many neglect it for weeks (or longer) and it will still come back. 
Believed to be the oldest form of leaven bread, possibly dating back to ancient Egyptian, sourdough would have been the primary method until the introduction of commercially produced yeasts in 19th century. So you can understand its appeal... we love all thing heritage here!   

So what do you need for this ancient tradition of capturing "wild yeast"?


Well the easiest method would be to use an established starter (and no I do not mean from a packet). And users/enthusiasts are generally happy to share, as they need to regularly "use" or split their starter anyway. (You usually use this for baking) Alternatively making your own involves very few ingredients, the main one is patients!
The interesting thing with sourdough starters is that no two batches will ever be the same. As the yeast is captured and matures within its environment, and will reflect this.

Sourdough starter- RIVER COTTAGE HANDBOOK
Ingredients
·         As per book

Directions
  1. As per book
  2. Note how I adapted using mixer and bowl cover for first week. Then storage methods, jar, how I use pudding bowl with lid.

Sourdough "terms" and tips

Hooch: Watery liquid on surface ranging from clear to yellow or dark brown.
This liquid contains alcohol that forms on your starter. This is a normal by product of the fermentation process. Pour off the liquid if the starter is thin or stir it in if the starter is thick. 
*Note this may mean your starter is ‘hungry’.
Proofing: Allowing your starter to ferment and become active.
Sponge: An active starter, ready to use.

Storage:  
Never use an airtight seal, as fermentation does produce gases, so there maybe a risk of explosions.
Once established you can keep in the fridge (so I am assured), just leave out prior to use and feed, so the starter is active. This maybe in form of a sponge for use and feeding the starter before returning to storage.
Consistency
  Ieal consistency for starter is like a thick pancake mix, but this varies from person to person.