Bread Making Part 3: Loving Your Starter ~ Mountain Mama

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bread Making Part 3: Loving Your Starter

So now you have a lovely little starter percolating (or you will in a couple days). I don't know about you, but after all that work, I want this guy to stick around for a while.

Remember, this isn't scary. Your starter is simply a way to store and have a steady supply of yeast. Sure it's futzier than those packets of yeast, but it's just yeast.

Yeast that either needs to be fed constantly, or forced to take a nap.

Ideal situation: You use part of your starter to make bread, then you continue to feed the remaining starter until you make more bread (in a day or two).


You make up a batch of dough using all your starter and break off a lump of dough (before you shape your loaves but after the first rising) which you pet and love and call George and knead into tomorrow's bread. When I try to do this, I usually forget to pinch off my George and he ends up in the oven. One sure way to kill George is to bake him.


You make your bread using some of your starter. Feed the remaining starter and stick in a jar (I use a pint jar) in the fridge where it will gradually cover itself in grayish liquid and go dormant. You can keep it dormant for months this way, but when you need it again, it will take a couple days of room-temp feeding to wake up.

And for the adventurous among you: If you fiddle with your flour to water ratios, say two parts flour to one part water, your starter will become less sour. If you leave it as a dough, it will be even less sour.

The kitchen is all about chemistry experiments.

Tomorrow, or once I remember to take pictures, we will make our first loaf of sourdough bread.

Well...I already ate my first slice with dinner. Then I toasted some the next day. But you can make your first loaf.

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