Health & Medical Eating & Food

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough is a kind of bread that is made without the use of baker's yeast, it leavens by growing natural yeast which gives it its distinctive sour taste. Sourdough has been made for thousands of years before there was cultivated yeast, likely originating in Ancient Egypt. A sourdough starter that will be used for making the dough later on needs to be made to grow wild yeast.

You will need: water, flour and a container for the storage of your sourdough starter. First select a container with a seal, products like Tupperware are good but a glass jar with a seal can be used just as well.

NOTE: Avoid using metal containers as they can change the taste of the sourdough.

When you have a container for your sourdough starter get a cup of warm water and a cup of flour and pour them together into the container.

The sourdough starter should be kept at room temperature, under these conditions the yeast can grow best, be careful not to expose it to temperatures over 90°F (32°C), that could kill the yeast and prevent the bread from rising later on.

Every day take half of the sourdough starter and throw it away and then add half a cup of water and half a cup of flour. Keep doing this for the next few days, after a couple of days there should be bubbles forming, accompanied by a sour smell. When the surface of your sourdough starter becomes covered with bubbles your sourdough starter is done.

To store your sourdough starter put a lid on your container that won't completely seal it off and store it in a dark and cold place, ideally a refrigerator. When the sourdough starter is cooled adding water and flour doesn't have to be done more than once a week.

If you keep your sourdough starter in the fridge there is a high chance that a dark liquid will build up. This liquid contains alcohol and has a somewhat beer like smell. If your sourdough starter looks dry you should mix it back in, but if it looks wet enough you can just pour it out.

After you made the sourdough starter you will also need to make a bowl of batter. When you want to make it you should take the sourdough starter out of the fridge a few hours earlier and put it in a bowl. When the container you used for the sourdough starter is empty you can wash and dry it so it is ready for use next time.

Now add another cup of water and a cup of flour to the bowl and mix it all together. When you are done put the bowl with the dough in a warm place and allow it to ferment for several hours. When the surface of the dough gets covered with bubbles and there is a sour smell it is done. The taste of the bread will depend on the length of fermentation, the longer you let it ferment the sourer the taste will be.

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