Whenever I try something new in my garden, kitchen or handcraft I have a few concerns...what if it doesn't work? Then I have wasted time and money. Or, what if my family doesn't like it? What if its a complete flop? I must say that this week long journey into creating sourdough starter was full of these sorts of questions. You will have to wait til the end of this post to find out which way it went - success or failure :-)
I have always been keen on trying sour dough, but it's taken me a long time to try it out. Buying Nourishing Traditions has rekindled this interest and all the whey that was produced with the cheese making meant I had an opportunity to try.
The principle of sourdough is to allow a natural fermentation to take place which creates the necessary leaven to develop. Most bread makers use brewers yeast as it acts faster and makes a lighter loaf than sourdough.
Here's what you need to do...I used Rye flour as a starter as I want to make a soft Rye bread.
Mix 2 cups of flour (freshly ground or at least stone milled)
I cup distilled or spring water
1 cup whey (can use a second cup water instead)
A piece of cheese cloth
2 bowls (second bowl used tomorrow)
Mix the flour with the water - makes a sloppy mixture.
Cover with cheese clothe - this prevents bugs getting in but allows the yeasts and bacteria to get to the dough.
The next day and for the 6 days after that you will add once cup of flour and as much water as you need to get back to the sloppy mixture. It's easiest to transfer the first dough to the new bowl, add the flour, mix then add the water. Cover and keep doing this.
My dough started really bubbling on day 4, day 5 and 6 it outgrew its bowl!
Yesterday I was ready to try it in a rye loaf.
I took half the starter and mixed some water and salt into it and then added some rye flour until I got a dough I could shape. I did this at about 9 am.
By 2 pm it looked like this....
Then I baked it when dinner was in the oven and it looked like this....
It tastes delicious and while the crust is tough, the inside is soft and moist. For South African readers - almost like the Woolies Rye!
I also used another cup of starter to make these Sourdough English Muffins. Once they had gone through the initial rising stage I shaped them and placed them in the fridge over night on the baking tray.
This morning I baked them for breakfast and they were served with overnight cream cheese and homemade lemon curd. Scrumptious!
I feel like this was a week long labour of love...one I will repeat. I have two cups of starter left which will stay in the fridge until I need to grow it again via the same process as I listed above.