Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sourdough Heaven – Part 1 – The Starter

Do you love sourdough bread? I know I do! However, I've been avoiding it in the store because it's all white flour, very expensive and has additives I don't want to eat. The March 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times has a very exciting article in their "Technique" section for quick start sourdough. You make a sourdough starter and it's ready to bake with in 72 hours! One thing I didn't know about sour dough breads is that you don't need yeast when you bake with it. Anyway, now I'm on a sourdough tangent. If you want to make a quick sourdough starter it's very easy. It has been so satisfying to make my own starter, keep it going, and bake with it. So far I've made two batches of sourdough wheat English muffins, and a loaf of sourdough bread. I will be making pizza dough very soon!

Okay, to make some quick sourdough starter, get the March 2011 issue of Vegetarian Times. It has other sourdough recipes you may want to try. However, if it's sold out, here's a mini-primer on quick sourdough starter. Further down I will have links on a couple other website with very useful information and videos to help you make incredibly good, wholesome, and tasty sourdough goodies of your own!

Quick Sourdough Starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp QUICK RISING yeast, such as Fleischmann's Rapid Rise
1 cup warm water (not hot!)

Combine flour and yeast in non-reactive bowl. Mix in water. Cover bowl loosely and let sit in ambient temperature – around 68-70 degrees – for 12 hours. After this time, it should be bubbly and smell yeasty. Stir starter, discard half, and mix in 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir well, cover and let sit again for 12 hours. Then stir, discard, add flour and water. Do this every 12 hours for a total of 3 days (72 hours). Now you have your very own sourdough starter. Keep it in the fridge, feeding once or twice a week. Here is a very good website for making, maintaining, and baking with sourdough starters.

Here's my sourdough wheat English muffins:

I put some Earth Balance margarine and strawberry spread on it. Doesn't it look delicious? It was! And I can't tell you how much better it was than the ones you buy in the store! The recipe is the next post.

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