Intelligent Biped is a forum for discussing ideas, issues and solutions with a focus on our inherent human characteristics of cleverness and kindness. This forum is called "intelligent biped" because I believe kindness and cleverness to be interdependent at a biological level. Simply put, bipedal animals can't have big brains without fundamental kindness and nurturing. This forum will share and discuss issues, ideas and solutions that use and enhance our inherent cleverness and kindness amongst the chaos of everyday life.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Easy-As Sour Dough Starter

The first step to delicious, healthy sour dough bread is the, aptly named, Starter!

After trial and error, here's my formula for your own yeasty, bubbly tub of goodness to fuel your future adventures in sour dough ....


Now, making a sour dough starter is a process of fermentation and growing your own yeasts (as opposed to buying yeasty critters from the supermarket). It takes a few days to get going and I find it easier to think of the instructions in terms of days rather than hours.  You'll be making bread on day 6, by which time, I'll have instructions for sour dough bread up for you, too!
Day 1:

  1. Get a suitable container. I've used a glass jug here, so you can see the bubbles, but a 2L plastic icecream container is fine.  You want to be able to cover it, but not seal it, so if you use a plastic container, just sit the lid on top, instead of sealing.
  2. Into the container, place 5 tablespoons of unsweetened yoghurt and 175 ml of warm milk.
  3. Mix
  4. Cover (but don't seal) and leave for 24 hours (I just pop it in the kitchen pantry - just somewhere that's room temperature).
Day 2:
  1. Add 120g flour (white or wholemeal, it doesn't matter)
  2. Mix
  3. Cover (but don't seal) and leave for 48 hours
Day 3:
  1. Do nothing
Day 4:
  1. Add 180g flour, 100ml water and 40 ml milk
  2. Mix
  3. Cover (but don't seal) and leave for 24 hours
Day 5:
  1. Remove 1/2 the mixture in your jug or container and discard (chickens love to eat this, so if you have chooks don't waste it!)
  2. Add 150g flour and 150ml water
  3. Mix
  4. Cover (but don't seal) and leave for 24 hours
Your starter should be beginning to have visible bubbles from the fermentation
Day 6:  Ready to use for bread!
Use the required starter for your loaf then feed the remainder:
  1. Add 150g flour and 150ml water
  2. Mix
  3. Cover (but don't seal) and leave for 24 hours
Tips on caring for your sour dough starter:
  • Any day that you don't make bread, treat the starter as per Day 5 above:  remove half and feed with flour and water.  With time and practice, you become familiar with the amounts will not need to worry about measuring and weighing.
  • The starter responds to heat and cold and you can use these to your advantage.  Your starter will work more quickly if it is warm, but I find this provides a more sour taste than we like.  So, in hot weather I put the starter in the fridge during the day and in the pantry at night.  In winter the starter just lives in the pantry.
  • If you are going away and won't be around to feed your starter, pop it in the fridge for up to a week.
  • If your starter has been in the fridge, leave it out at room temperature until it looks bubbly again before you use it.
  • You'll find that over time old starter builds up around the top of your container, every now and then swap the starter into a new container and wash the old one. 
Happy Sour Dough Adventures, People!

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