sourdough starter

sourdough starter

mother sourdough bread

MOTHER

Sourdough breads have been around for many centuries, and all of them start with a 'mother' or starter. It's simply some flour and water that has already been colonized by some yeast. These starters create breads which have a lovely tang to them, and produce really crunchy crusts. Making one of these 'mothers' is easy, and will use yeast that is floating in the air in your kitchen, so your sourdough breads will be unique to your home. Homemade, indeed!

Ingredients:
4 cups of white all purpose flour
3-4 potatoes
4 cups of water
2 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of salt

Equipment:
A medium sized bowl ( not metal), a cup, spoons, a basket that can fit over the top of the bowl, a jar that can hold 8 cups of fluid, a refrigerator.

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The Recipe



The first step is to create 4 cups of potato water. Wash the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Chop them into three or four pieces each, and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the water cool until it is no longer to hot to touch. Strain the water, placing four cups of the potato water into the bowl. You won't need the potatoes for this recipe.



Now add the rest of the ingredients. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring. The result will be a mixture the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. If it is too thick to stir with a wooden spoon, add some more potato water or plain water.



Capturing the Yeast



Now we need some yeast. Fortunately, yeast is pretty much everywhere, literally floating in the air in your kitchen. However, there's also lost of dust and other stuff in the air, so it's wise to cover the bowl with a porous lid. I use a basket since the yeast is so small it can fit through the holes.



Place the covered bowl somewhere warm in your kitchen - beside the stove, on top of the fridge, or just on a counter. Now you can walk away for a couple of days, giving the yeast time to find the flour.



It's Alive!



On day two, lift the basket. If the yeast has colonized the starter, there should be bubbles and some extra liquid on top. It may also smell bad, which is just the side effect of the fermentation process. If you don't see these signs, put the lid back on and check in the next day.( If you want to see what this should look like, watch my video).



Once the starter has been activated, place some plastic wrap on top, and leave out for one more day. Then pour the starter into a jar and place it in your fridge. Congratulations, you have given birth to a mother!



Feeding Mother



To keep mother alive, she will need to be fed weekly. One cup of flour is all it takes, and you just stir it in and place it back in the fridge. If you're making bread every week, you won't have to do this since you'll be replenishing the starter anyway.



Now that you have a starter, it's time to make some sourdough bread. Please check out this recipe and video to become a sourdough baker!



The Recipe



Printer friendly recipe

Getting started



The first step is to create 4 cups of potato water. Wash the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Chop them into three or four pieces each, and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the water cool until it is no longer to hot to touch. Strain the water, placing four cups of the potato water into the bowl. You won't need the potatoes for this recipe.



Now add the rest of the ingredients. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring. The result will be a mixture the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. If it is too thick to stir with a wooden spoon, add some more potato water or plain water.



Capturing the Yeast



Now we need some yeast. Fortunately, yeast is pretty much everywhere, literally floating in the air in your kitchen. However, there's also lost of dust and other stuff in the air, so it's wise to cover the bowl with a porous lid. I use a basket since the yeast is so small it can fit through the holes.



Place the covered bowl somewhere warm in your kitchen - beside the stove, on top of the fridge, or just on a counter. Now you can walk away for a couple of days, giving the yeast time to find the flour.



It's Alive!



On day two, lift the basket. If the yeast has colonized the starter, there should be bubbles and some extra liquid on top. It may also smell bad, which is just the side effect of the fermentation process. If you don't see these signs, put the lid back on and check in the next day.( If you want to see what this should look like, watch my video).



Once the starter has been activated, place some plastic wrap on top, and leave out for one more day. Then pour the starter into a jar and place it in your fridge. Congratulations, you have given birth to a mother!



Feeding Mother



To keep mother alive, she will need to be fed weekly. One cup of flour is all it takes, and you just stir it in and place it back in the fridge. If you're making bread every week, you won't have to do this since you'll be replenishing the starter anyway.



Now that you have a starter, it's time to make some sourdough bread. Please check out this recipe and video to become a sourdough baker!



SOURDOUGH

you can do this sourdough bread sourdough

sourdough tradition

Mother

sourdough is sweet

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The return of the Mother

When you create a sourdough starter for the first time, you are reviving an ancient tradition. It appears that the use of a starter, or 'mother' goes back to the ancient Egyptians. It probably started by accident - someone left some flat bread dough lying around too long, and came back to find it bubbling. Some bacteria in the dough or the air had come to life, eating the carbohydrates in the flour. Instead of using all of the dough, bakers realized that if they saved some for the next day, they could keep a constant supply of yeast on hand. This practice continued for millennia. Some cowboys became known as 'sourdoughs' because they passed their starters to each other, so men could bake bread in the wild.



The sourdough era lasted into the 19th century when the secret of yeast was finally discovered. Some Viennese scientists isolated yeast bacteria for the first time, finally honing in on the secret ingredient that makes bread rise. The discovery led to the creation of concentrated yeast cakes, and later, an American Viennese family created what we know now as Fleishmann's instant yeast. With these quick yeasts available to all, sourdough starters no longer seemed worth the trouble. So home bakers lost touch with the tradition.



Today many of us like the idea of making bread that is truly native not just to our state or province, but to our kitchen. What you start at home is truly yours, since at least some of the yeast comes from your air. Better still, the taste of these sourdoughs are a wonderful alternative to the breads that are sold in stores, where sugar is always high on the list of ingredients. The resurgence of sourdough bread is a chance to reconnect with an ancient tradition of bread made at the speed of life, not the speed of a factory.