Monday, June 22, 2009

Making My Sourdough Starter

I recently received my Desem Sourdough Starter from Cultures for Health and I was ready to make my sourdough starter.

There were clear instructions and an expiration date on the package so I was sure to make the starter at the ideal time. Easy so far!

I gathered my ingredients: starter, water, sprouted whole wheat flour, giant jar (it doesn't have to be this large, but I'm ambitious), wooden spoon, Nourishing Traditions for inspiration and my pineapple top that I'm sprouting that hopefully will become a plant and will fruit in about three years... if I'm lucky. It's worth a shot.

Don't really need a sprouting plant when you're making starter, but it was there and it hurt no one.

You need flour, however, and I've found a great source for freshly ground sprouted flour. As if souring is not enough, the fact that the grain is sprouted makes it much more digestible--your body recognizes it as a vegetable and no longer a starch. The whole point for me in undertaking sourdough bread making and kefir making and raw milk yogurt making is to improve the health of my family. It's not difficult, but it does take a mindset that you're going to do it. And the more you know, the more you know, you know?

I put the starter in the jar and then my daughter helped me by stirring, as I poured in the water.

Once that was well blended, I added the flour and my daughter stirred.

I spilled some flour--my bad. But, my daughter enjoyed stirring and didn't spill a thing.

That was it! It couldn't have been easier. The starter from Cultures for Health had a great hearty, yeasty smell and I was hopeful that it would actually work. Would the starter develop? Would it create a frothy souring blend? I hoped so. It seemed promising.

I put a cloth towel over the top and held it in place with a rubber-band.

Now we would see how active the starter was. I couldn't wait to see bubbles.

I let it sit for twenty four hours and saw that it was beautifully bubbly. So I then again added water and flour to feed the starter. It's yet another living food, at least until it gets baked.

I have fed it diligently and will let it rest and then make some fresh starter from it that will get used in a recipe for bread.

I can also report that this is a very vigorous and robust starter, not easily messed with, even when someone is distracted by her parents who are visiting for the weekend to go to the kids' dance recital and she starts the oven to make something and then realizes that the emanating yeasty smell is her baking her starter which she had so cleverly put in the oven with the light on to nudge it along. Oh. My. God!! I fried my starter!!

It was OK, thankfully, and I will make a loaf of no knead bread this week.

A total success so far, but almost a total disaster... I dodged that one.

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