Friday, June 1, 2012

Sourdough Summer: Catching a Starter

Today's the day: I'm going to attempt to catch wild yeast to be a sourdough starter. It turns out it is actually very easy. According to Sourdough International, you don't need potatoes, grapes, or any of the other additives that some cookbooks recommend (and should NOT add them, as bacteria and other organisms that feed on grapes, potatoes, etc aren't what you are trying to catch!). All it takes is flour and water. So here's how I'm trying to do it (according to their method).

What you need:
  • a 2 qt glass or plastic container
  • 2 cups of flour (unbleached, any type)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water (chlorine-free, tap or filtered)
  • cheesecloth or some other covering that will keep bugs out but let yeast in
What you do:
  • Mix the flour and water in your 2 qt container
  • Cover with your cheesecloth  and place outside or by an open window
  • Stir at least twice a day and check for bubbles
  • Retry in a new location if no bubbly layer appears after 3 days
Tips:
  • I used a reusable produce bag for my covering and it worked perfectly!
  • This will work best in warm weather as yeast grows and reproduces best in warm temperatures, but bring your yeast inside if temps reach over 100 degrees
  • Most other bacteria and such won't grow well in just flour and water; the ones that might will produce a foul odor, not a yeasty one, so throw it out it that develops
  • You can also buy sourdough starters online or in some health food store (and maybe at your local farmer's market), so if catching it pioneer style isn't your style or doesn't work, feel free to do that!

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