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Thursday, May 05, 2022

SIMPLE & EASY SOURDOUGH non-anal way to do sourdough starter & breads - How to adapt recipes

 So, someone gave you some sourdough starter. Now what?? 


The internet is full of recipes from crazy people who have a hygrometer to measure the humidity in their starter & their dough, who insist on weighing the flour and water, not using measuring cups. Just remember sourdough is over 3,000 years old and the Egyptians didn't have digital scales. The covered wagons going across the prairie didn't have hygrometers ...  (read more)

Your sourdough will survive and if it's not the greatest outcome, it makes good dog treats. Woof!

As soon as you can ...


When you get the sourdough, put it in a jar, (preferably glass). Add about as much flour as there is sourdough starter, and some water. Mix it up, If it's too watery add more flour; too stiff, add more water. Make it similar to pancake batter.  DON'T WORRY! IT'S FINE! 


IF YOU WANT TO BAKE TOMORROW 


You can put it in the refrigerator until the day before you're ready to bake, or if you want to bake tomorrow, add enough flour & water to make as much starter as you will need. Most recipes use at least 1/2 cup. Most instructions say to double the starter every time you feed it. This is not necessary and you can add more or less flour & water depending on what you want to do with it and how soon.


IF IT WILL BE A FEW DAYS (OR WEEKS) BEFORE YOU BAKE 


If you are not going to use it right away, make sure you put it in the refrigerator. This will slow down the yeast so it won't get hungry too soon. Adding flour/water is called 'feeding the starter'. It really is feeding, because it's living yeast and it eats the flour. 

If you keep it on the counter, you will have to feed it every day, and will end up with a LOT of starter. 


FEEDING YOUR STARTER


When to feed your starter - Starter is flour full of active, living yeasts. As it eats the flour, it expels gas. Yep, yummy yeast farts. It will bubble up and rise in the container.  When it stops eating, the batter will shrink back down and you'll have to feed it again. 

So - If you keep it in the refrigerator, you only have to feed it about once a week, or even less. If it gets liquid on top, it just means it's really hungry. It will even get alcoholic if you forget about it and don't feed it for a long time. Sometimes the liquid turns gray. All of this is most likely fine, just pour off the liquid and feed the starter. Feel free to text me to ask questions :)

If you keep it on the counter, you have to feed it every day. You will end up with a lot of starter. Don't throw it away!! If you can't use it all, start keeping your starter in the refrigerator.

Most instructions say to add enough flour to 'double' the amount of starter, but really, you can add as much or as little flour/water as you want. If you add a lot, it might take a little longer to get really bubbly, but shouldn't take more than 24 hours on the kitchen counter in any case. 

If it gets moldy, or smells strange and bad, throw it out and start over. 

THAT IS IT -
THAT IS ALL IT TAKES TO KEEP YOUR STARTER ALIVE AND HEALTHY. 



Now I use all organic whole wheat, but when I first started, I made some good sourdough bread with all purpose flour.  Here is the website where I got the original sourdough starter from http://www.carlsfriends.net They have been sending out free sourdough starter for over 20 years. Their recipes are simple and good. 


(I did learn something really good from the internet - GET ONE OF THESE - they are called a Swedish or Danish Whisk - they are very inexpensive. They make mixing batters and doughs so easy! Easier than using a mixer actually.)


HOW TO TURN ANY RECIPE (EVEN QUICK BREADS)
INTO A SOURDOUGH RECIPE


This is how I substitute sourdough starter in any old recipe that I already use - 

Original recipe - 1/2 cup liquid + 1/2 cup flour = 3/4 sourdough starter. 

For example if you have a recipe that calls for 1 cup milk and 4 cups flour, 
you use instead: 3/4 c starter 1/2 c milk 3 1/2 c flour 

Then let the batter ferment overnight at least. Even if it has eggs in the batter, you can ferment on the counter, or in the refrigerator. 

IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE SOUR TASTE


When you ferment on the counter you will end up with very sour dough. Since everything I eat is fermented, I get tired of the sour taste. If you ferment the dough in a refrigerator, and add about 1 tsp baking soda, it will not taste sour at all and will ferment and rise just fine. 

I will be posting some more recipes soon, including how to adapt for a bread maker! Since I live in a tiny travel trailer, I don't have a big enough oven to bake bread and have been looking for a way to make loaves instead of english muffins which are very labor intensive.

HOW TO MAKE QUICK BREAD RECIPES INTO SOURDOUGH RECIPES


I have to ferment all the flour I eat. This includes, biscuits, quick breads, etc. I use the above measurements to substitute some sourdough for some of the flour/liquid in the recipe. (as little as 6 Tablespoons in a loaf of banana bread) I also add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Sometimes I add the baking soda and let it ferment, sometimes I add it at the end to help the quick breads rise. It depends on how thick the batter is and whether I ferment it in the pan. Lately I've been fermenting it for a day in a bowl (stirring & folding once in a while) and then putting it in the pan that I will bake in to ferment for another day and so I try to keep all the bubbles intact and not add anything at the last minute. 

Make sure you sign up for email notifications so you know when I post the ACTUAL recipes with real instructions and real measurements and everything  :) 

Just don't let the internet crazies intimidate you, it's really very simple

LIVE CREATIVELY!

- Liz

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