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
My honeysuckle is blooming this year! Now to fertilize this tiny ad: