Well, Hello! I know it's been a while since I have written a post and for that, I apologize.
I have let life get in the way of doing some of the things I had planned to do, like writing on my blog. It's a new year and I have set goals, and one of my many goals is to write more often on my blog. Soooooooo, here I am.
I contemplated what exactly it was I wanted to start the new year out with on this blog. Do I continue with the financial posts? Or move on to another area... I struggled to find a direction.
While I struggled to find interesting content for y'all, I was being asked by many people in my circle of friends, how I make my sourdough bread. I have been making 1 to 2 loaves of sourdough bread a week. I have been doing this for 2 years now. So I figured the subject of my blog chose me.
Making homemade sourdough bread is, actually, quite simple and very much worth the work. The bread tastes much better than store-bought bread. I find great satisfaction in creating nourishing food for my hubby and I. Plus it is made with the care and love you and those around you deserve.
Bread dates back about 30,000 years ago. The first signs of people making sourdough bread were about 7000 years ago. It is thought that they first used the foam from beer to make lighter breads than the hard flatbreads that were eaten previously.
Sourdough bread uses a fermentation that is steeped in history and one that is common in many civilizations the world over. The fermentation process used to make sourdough bread is called the starter. Sourdough bread made with this fermentation process is richer in nutrients, less likely to spike your blood sugar, contains lower amounts of gluten, and is generally easier to digest than bread made with baker's yeast.
As a side note, don't be fooled by store-bought breads that are labeled sourdough as they are often times NOT true sourdough and lack the advantages listed above.
To start baking sourdough bread at home you will need a wild yeast starter.
A sourdough starter is a living culture of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria that is used to make bread rise. It is created by combining flour and water and allowing it to ferment giving the bread a tang that is distinct to sourdough and the flavor we all love.
Let's get started.
First, you will need a couple of jars to store your starter in. A wide-mouth jar is best. I use one from Weck Jars, (https://amzn.to/4aNf9x5). This one is the perfect size for storing and feeding your starter. You will also need a kitchen scale, I like and use one from Etekcity, (https://amzn.to/3RSqCCV)
It is best to measure your flour and water in grams rather than cups. This gives you more accuracy and takes into account the humidity in the air.
Next, you will need whole wheat flour and water to start the process. Whole wheat flour is used just in this 1st step to give the starter the most "food" for fermentation getting the wild yeast started.
Mix 50 grams of whole wheat flour and 50 grams of lukewarm water in your jar. Cover the jar with a cloth. I use an old t-shirt cut into small squares and secure the cloth to the jar with a rubber band. keep things out
Let this mixture sit in a warm-ish place for 24 hours.
Now, just look at your mixture. Does it have small bubbles on the top? If so, great! If not, no worries, you might have missed this exciting part of the process while you were sleeping so don't panic.
Also if there is a dark liquid on the top of your mixture again don't panic and for goodness sake don't throw it out. It's all good. This liquid sometimes forms on the top of the starter and is called "Hooch". I might smell and look bad but it is just a by-product of the fermentation process and is in no way, shape or form bad. Any time you see this liquid, it’s best to pour it off, along with any discolored starter present. However, in this part of the process, just leave the hooch alone; you can get rid of it tomorrow when you start the feedings.
Let the jar sit as it is for another 24 hours.
Ok, now, this is the 3rd day, and whether you see bubbles or not it's time to start the feeding process.
Spoon out about half of the starter and discard this. I know this sounds wasteful but it is just how the process is. Once you have an active starter any discard can be used in other recipes or given to friends. (Yes if you know someone who has done all this hard work of getting a starter going and is willing to give you some discard you can give them a hug because they have saved you all this hard work, hahaha)
To your jar, add 50 grams of all-purpose flour and 50 grams of lukewarm water and stir with a wooden spoon or small spatula. The mixture should look like a cake batter or plain yogurt. If not add a touch more water to make it so.
Cover and set in a warm place for 24 hours.
Repeat this process of feeding your starter daily for another three-ish days.
As the yeast begins to develop, your starter will rise, and bubbles will form on the surface and throughout the culture. When the starter falls, it’s time to feed it again.
Tip: Place a rubber band or piece of masking tape around the jar to measure the starter’s growth as it rises.
After about 7 to 10 days you should start to see plenty of both large and small bubbles in your starter. The texture now will be spongy, and fluffy. It should also smell pleasant and not like stinky gym socks. If these conditions are met, your starter is now active. Congratulations a starter is born!
The very last step is to transfer your sourdough starter to a nice, clean jar, cover it with a lid, and place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
In keeping with tradition, you can also name it (and please do!). My starter is called Matilda, for no particular reason. The name just seemed to fit.
You are now ready to make sourdough bread, sourdough pizza crust, sourdough cinnamon rolls, and much much more!
Wahoo!! You now have a starter to love and care for. It will return the favor with many years of great-tasting sourdough products.
Next blog: How to love and care for your newborn starter.