Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 5 years ago
If anybody needs a starter, Carl Griffith's family brought one with them across the Oregon Trail in 1847. His family has shared it ever since.
There is now a network on the web that keeps his family tradition alive.
I believe that it is a SASE, and one of the members will send you a start.
They have distributed ~29,000 starters through the site:
It's not hard to make and maintain your own sourdough starter. You'll find tons of recipes online, but I keep it real simple:
- mix whole rye flour with water to the texture of a thick pancake batter and let sit at room temperature
- stir multiple times a day
- once you start seeing bubbles, every day discard half the starter and replenish with fresh flour and water
- continue until you have an active starter that smells pleasantly sour and fruity
If you want a wheat starter, simply start with a rye starter and switch to feeding it just wheat. Rye works best for starting a culture from scratch.
Starter will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Then you'll need to bake with it or refresh it to keep it viable.
Unless you take special precautions, any starter will eventually become adapted to your locally prevalent strains of yeast and lacto-bacillus. So that 1847 starter will eventually taste just the same as one you started yourself.
Hi Daniel, I'm also interested in this. I would check Weston A. Price Foundation. I found some recipes there which are simple but require a few day leavening process. They give you reasons why this process should be followed. I think sometimes quick and easy recipes should be avoided.
I have read a ton about making starters, caring for starters, etc. For some reason, when I went to make my own, I completely forgot/disregarded the step where you are supposed to discard/use some of your starter everyday. Instead, I just feed mine everyday (100g water, 100g flour) and when I need it I use it (usually about every 3-4 days). Or when it is threatening to spill over the edges of my 80 ounce jar (I noticed a large pickle jar at my grocery store and knew I would have a use for it, the pickles inside it, however, were not quite as useful as the jar. They actually made one of my sons refuse to eat pickles for a while.). I have not noticed any oddities with it, it makes wonderful breads, cakes, pancakes, waffles, etc and it is always bubbling and active.
Here are two recipes I like to use when my starter begins to get out of hand, you can make double/triple batches to use up the starter then freeze the extras you are not going to use right away. Freeze the crusts with or without toppings, either works.
Sourdough Waffles (Use regular milk if you don't want to use coconut milk)
Sourdough Pizza Crusts (1 big crust or 2 smaller crusts)
1 tsp salt
Mix everything in a large bowl and let sit 6-8 hours. Refrigerate dough for 1 or more days. Remove from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza tray. Shape the dough on the tray (this is the easiest way to do it, once the starter has been eating at the flour, it doesn't really hold its shape well). Bake at 500° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Top with toppings, bake for another 5-7 minutes until your toppings are heated through.
If you are used to making dough with commercial yeast, you may notice a bit of a difference when it comes to using starter instead. First off, those commercial yeasts are called quick rise for a reason, sourdough usually takes a good amount of time, not just to rise the bread but to ferment it. It takes time, but in that time, good things are happening to your flour. Next, the dough is a different consistency. It is generally much wetter and much stickier. The wetter your dough (to a point) the more the dough can rise. If you want large holes in your sourdough bread, you will want a sticky, wet dough that may seem pretty unnatural if you have ever cooked bread using commercial yeast. (Don't add more flour, trust me, it won't come out very good.)
If you want sour sourdough, you want to let the dough rest in the refrigerator. From what I have read, when you refrigerate the dough, the bacteria is able to continue to make the dough sour while you are not in danger of the yeast overproofing the dough. (If the yeast overproofs the dough before you bake, it will fall and leave your bread flat) The longer in the refrigerator the more sour. One day gives it a bit of tang, whereas 3+ days makes the bread noticeably tangy. I made a batch of sourdough english muffins that I left for 4 or 5 days before I was finally able to get around to baking them. Even with butter and jam added to them you could still taste the tang of the sourdough starter. If you do choose to refrigerate, make sure you factor in the time it will take for your dough to come back to room temperature before you can start to use it again (around 2 hours).
Hi Daniel, I love all things fermented. You should check out http://www.culturesforhealth.com/free-ebooks-fermented-cultured-foods. They have 6 eBooks on fermentation and one is on sourdough and they are all free. I consider these books to be just as good as anything you could buy and they are filled with great recipes. Sourdough has been a great way to make sure the carbs I eat are as healthy as possible. I make a lot of tortillas, pancakes and pizza crusts with sourdough. I don't make a lot of regular bread though. But you should definitely check out the cultures for health website. Lots of free info from people passionate about fermentation.
I am also trying to mostly eat bread that is fermented. My wife also makes sourdough pizza crust. Yummy and healthy. I am slowly learning how to make sourdough bread. I 'm sure it will be easy once I've made it a few times.
This was my "go to" recipe but I don't make it too often as I try to be as low carb/paleo as possible. The nice thing about this recipe was that you can make the starter (biga) each time. I would often grind up to 1/3 of the wheat that day, the texture was good. More than 1/3 whole wheat wasn't as successful.
Also, it's much better to weigh ingredients then to go by volume - especially for bread. And grams is better than Imperial but I've include all in the recipe.
A Rustic Italian Loaf Makes 1 large loaf, about 2 1/2 pounds -
Start 24 hours before eating
For the biga: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook combine:
315g (11 ounces (2 cups)) bread flour - if using whole wheat - do it now
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
240g 8 ounces (1 cup) water, room temperature
Use beater on lowest speed (stir on KitchenAid) until it forms a shaggy dough, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer biga to oiled medium bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until beginning to bubble and rise, about 3 hours.
Refrigerate biga at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
For the dough: Remove biga from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while making dough.
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook combine:
470g 16.5 ounces (3 cups) bread flour, 1 teaspoon instant yeast
300g 10.7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) water, room temperature
Knead on lowest speed until rough dough is formed, about 3 minutes.
Turn mixer off and, without removing dough hook or bowl from mixer, cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap;
Let dough rest 20 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap, add:
15g 2 teaspoons salt FORGETTING THE SALT IS THE ONLY WAY I EVER SCREWED THIS UP!
Continue to knead on lowest speed until ingredients are incorporated and dough is formed (dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to very bottom), about 2 minutes.
Increase mixer speed to low (speed 2 on KitchenAid) and continue to knead until dough forms a more cohesive ball, about 2 minute.
Transfer dough to large bowl (at least 3 times dough’s size) and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise in cool, draft-free spot away from direct sunlight, until slightly risen and puffy, about 1 hour.
Turn dough. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise 1 hour.
Turn dough again, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise 1 hour longer.
To shape the dough: Dust work surface liberally with flour.
Gently scrape and invert dough out of bowl onto work surface (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up).
Dust dough and hands liberally with flour and, using minimal pressure, push dough into rough 8- to 10-inch square.
Shape dough and transfer to large sheet parchment paper.
Dust loaf liberally with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let loaf rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. If using baguette pan divide into 2 loaves.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
To bake: Using a lame, single-edged razor blade, or sharp chef’s knife, cut slit 1/2 inch deep lengthwise along top of loaf, starting and stopping about 1 1/2 inches from ends;
spray loaf lightly with water.
Slide parchment sheet with loaf onto baker’s peel or upside-down baking sheet, then slide parchment with loaf onto hot baking stone in oven.
Bake 10 minutes, then
reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and quickly spin loaf around using edges of parchment; continue to bake until deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 210 degrees, about 35 minutes longer. (Only 25 minutes if divided into 2 loaves)
Transfer to wire rack, discard parchment, and cool loaf to room temperature, about 2 hours.
I was actually able to find a pic from 5 years ago!
My project thread Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
1 cup ripe (fed) sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 to 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of standing mixer, kneading to form a smooth dough.
Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
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 and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
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.
Also do several different things with my sourdough starter-- naan, pizza, crepes, bread, primarily.
For bread, our primary bread has been greatly improved by starting with a very wet dough-- around 3.5 cups whole wheat, 1 cup rye, 3 cups water, left overnight. The wetness softens the bran of the wheat, which helps to improve the rise (no sharp bran bits popping yeast bubbles and deflating the dough). I then add a bit of white flour the next morning (1 or 2 cups).
sortof-almost-off-grid in South Africa: www.concretegardener.com
Pancakes, pitas and other flatbreads. I don't think it is a good idea to purchase a starter. You should cultivate your own with the yeasts in your area. I tried a San Francisco starter in Ohio a few years ago and it didn't work that well.
One of my daughters has several kids that don't handle gluten well, even from fresh ground flour (so no additives). One of her friends told her that her kids had a similar problem, but they could handle sourdough bread. My daughter tried it and reports her kids are fine on sourdough. Not a scientific study, but the kind observation that leads to studies.
On an different note, I read a long time ago about people starting sourdough starts by dropping some juniper berries in the water/flour mix (it was in the southwest). The claim was that the "dust" on the outside of the berries was wild yeast. (Take the berries out once things start making bubbles). I'm pretty sure that the dust on local blueberries, grapes, etc will also turn out to be wild yeast.
My daughters theory about why the sourdough was good for her kids was that maybe the extra time, maybe higher acidity, allowed the yeast to do something the gluten that it can't do in the normal, quicker rising, lower acidity bread making environment. Sounds reasonable to me given the little I understand about the process.
Location: Oregon Coast and Cascade Range, valley side, ~44 N
posted 7 months ago
I'd second that the often encountered instruction of using/disposing of a portion of a starter every so often (every 3 days, every week, etc) is something I have found to be not really necessary, with rye at least.
I tend to make batches as large as my equipment can handle, because more food less cleaning and time. Although I guess I don't really make bread, it's more of a cracker.
As a result of this, I commonly keep my sourdough starter for 2 to 3 months, in a pint jar in a fridge.
The pint Jar must be mostly full, so that when retrieving it months later for a new batch of bread, you can dispose of the blue green fuzz mold topping and about the top inch of somewhat darker and off-smelling starter, and still have about a half cup of the bright good stuff left in the jar.
After going on two dozen rounds of leaving the starter untended in a fridge for months, one time I disposed of a jar of starter. Not sure what happened, maybe I didn't add enough salt, or something new happened to contaminate it, but the starter had lost its bright color to the bottom of the jar, and the smell was not so familiar or pleasing---> garbage.
I also started salting the top of the starter pretty heavily because it seems to really reduce or eliminate the blue green stuff you get growing on top of the mixture when left untended for months.
1/2 C caraway seed
1/3 C rye starter
2 T molasses
1 T salt (I think most people would prefer another teaspoon or 2)
1. Add ~2.5 C water, 2 T molasses, 1/3 C sourdough starter, about half the salt, and stir to combine. Then stir in the rye flour, make a dough and ferment it until it's real bright and sour. I usually let it ferment for 5 or 6 days at about 60-65 F (I must stir it each day or I'll get unsavory fuzz on top.)
2. Sprout Chickpeas (3-4 day process.) Another common and wasteful instruction I encountered online, I have not found it necessary to rinse sprouting grains or beans repeatedly, daily. The first step of a malting process I found online seems to work well with everything; soak for 24 hours, rinse very thoroughly, drain thoroughly. Let sit in a covered but not airtight container which has a maximum depth of the thing being sprouted of ~1.5 inches, for 24 hours. Submerge again in water for 8 hours. Rinse briefly, drain thoroughly, return to container, place them in a mostly dark, cool place (I think 50-55 f is ideal.) Mist them once per day, until they are as sprouted as you want them. I stop when I see the first bits of yellow/green (which must be chlorophyll and not mold. HA)
3. About 48 hours before Rye and Chickpeas are done, combine flax and sesame seed, add water until the seeds stop absorbing it when left for hours and the mixture can be stirred easily. I should be able to be more precise than this, but I don't measure here.
4. Food process chickpeas and seed mixture with remaining salt. Grind the caraway seed in a spice grinder. Combine all ingredients.
5. If you thought that was a way too involved and complicated process, wait till you try to cook this stuff. It's more of a "frustratingly sticky paste which tears with ease" then a "dough" This batch makes 5 flat breads I can fit on my cast iron pizza pan.
A.) preheat oven to 450 with caste iron pizza pan inside.
B.) Flour surfaces liberally, and press ~20% of dough out to ~1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness on pizza peel. Slide into oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Repeat 4 more times (unless you happen to have a really big oven and lots baking pans or something.)
C.) at this point, you can eat it and its delicious and nutritious, but texture is still more like doughy mush in the middle. No matter how I tried, I could not press or roll this dough any thinner on a peel and then get it to slide off the peel in an orderly fashion. So there's more steps...
D.) as soon as the flat breads can be handled, cut them in half though their thickness. Sounds difficult, but its easy and quick because the outside surfaces are pretty solid, and the middle is still pretty pasty. I rip off about 1/4 of a flat bread, and then so halve it with a butter knife.
E.) After all of it is now about 1/8 of an inch thick and looking more like irregular crackers, dehydrate it until it's all got a hearty crunch. It can stab your mouth if you bite it wrong. HA.
Your done! Bag it up, and eat it with stuff. I think I've got this down to about 3 hours of total hands on time, I probably make it every month. Packed with protein n' nutrition compared to most breads and crackers. They can make you almost Bruce Lee shredded, but only if you also do Gong Fu. HA
MMMMMmmmm Sourdough! Love it. I hope to plunder all of the recipes on this thread.
I'm pretty much addicted to sourdough rye. A super great resource for this is: The Rye Baker:Classic Breads from Europe and America by Stanley Ginsberg. I haven't yet tried every single recipe in the book, but I'm well on my way.
Oh, I also love Shannon Stonger's 100% Rye. If you are keeping your starter going, this book provides a great way to use starter you may have "thrown away" otherwise. The book's got: Pancakes, focaccia, crepes, brownies, clafoutis, and other interesting recipes, as well as a sourdough bread, boule, and soda bread.
Last night I used my starter to make cornbread, a first for me, and it might be one of the best breads I have ever made, not even kidding, and without sounding too jerky we make a LOT of bread.
This sourdough cornbread recipe I used almost as written, except I used half whole wheat and cut the butter by half (it is a lot of butter), and instead of the maple syrup I used maybe 1/3 cup of sugar (no maple syrup where I live). It was an amazing thing, highly recommended.
(only caveat- it overflowed as soon as the pan got hot and made a mess on the oven floor. put something under your skillet if the dough is within a cm of to the top)
The sourdough keeps killing it!!!
Last night I made steamed Chinese buns. The northern Chinese have a sourdough tradition, which I only learned about recently. We eat a lot of steamed buns, but I am branching out into baked Chinese breads as well, and from what I understand this is the traditional use for "sourdough" (often translated as "old yeast dough"- sometimes started from flour, other times from glutinous rice). Even though I have only read about using an "old starter" in steamed breads from one source, I figured what the heck, I have the starter, why not.
So I made these steamed scallion buns last night and instead of using the recipe I just sort of eyeballed the flour and my starter (maybe 1/2 c of the newly fed starter). I might have forgotten the salt. I let it proof all day while I worked and then made up the buns in the evening (correcting the amount of flour as I kneaded and rolled out, I make a lot of these so you kind of get to know the "right" texture). Then I let them sit an hour before steaming. They didn't really rise in the second proofing but they did when they were steamed, and were fabulous.
I am really, really glad to see that sourdough can work in so many different areas. I kind of got excited about sourdough when I had my stomach/IBS issues this year. I cut out wheat (and a bunch of other things) for about 2 months and when I reintroduced it I seemed to do okay so it's not critical, but sourdough is supposed to make wheat more digestible, so I'm glad to see I can use it some of our most favorite foods.
(PS. I love Chinese food, and then moved to a place where the only good Chinese food I can get involves a plane ride-- but thanks to the internet, that has changed. The more permie I get, the more I go down the rabbit hole of home-style Chinese cooking, particularly from northwestern China, where they have a lot of veggies and foodways that are familiar and accessible to me, and I get to use my produce and eat like a king. The blog cited above is a major source for food in my house, probably a full third of what we eat came in one way or another from her recipes. Very heavy on fresh produce and basic skills that really, really are not that hard in the grand scheme of things. Highly suggested!)
Finally made a proper sourdough loaf, it was marvelous. Mild taste (I like mine more sour, but the husband doesn't), recipe was easy enough. Hardest part quite frankly is figuring out why the photos don't want to post.
Before taking off the lid:
Straight out of the oven:
I used the recipe from Artisan Sourdough Made Simple found here
This dough involved minimal kneading, did a 14 to 16 hour bulk rise, and pretty much did not rise at all in the second proofing stage. Recipe also did not require preheating my dutch oven, which was nice.
The only thing was I used cornmeal on the underside and when I removed the loaf to do its last 10 min on the oven rack, it was right above the gas flame the cornmeal burned, but I was able to grate off that part easily enough.
It was a marvelous accompaniment to a beef stew on a cold winter night here in the Southern Hemisphere.
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