A Wise Word:

Witchcraft is all about living to the heights and depths of life as a way of worship. --LY DE ANGELES

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sourdough and More Sourdough

A few years ago, I had a little homemaking blog that never took off.  It was a bit random and I didn't know how to do the networking involved in being a successful blogger.  That said, there were a few good posts.  The two I want to share with you today are my favorites.  I just recently got my sourdough starter up and going again, so this topic has been on my mind lately.  The witch is in the kitchen this week! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Just Like Grandpa's...

My kitchen is starting to smell like sourdough!
 

Sourdough flap jacks were the comfort food of my childhood.  My grandpa made them every morning for over 50 years and even when he traveled his crock of starter rode along with him in a red Coleman cooler.  I have kept a starter myself off and on most of my adult life and now that I am once again settled in to a domestic existence, I just had to get one going again. 

Growing a starter is a process that to initiate takes 5-7 days.  It also requires adhering to a few simple rules.

  1. Use clean, preferably seamless, metal utensils.  The spoon in the photo is NOT ideal because of the rivets and seam that can collect bacteria you wont want added to your starter. 
  2. Keep loosely covered.  I use a square of clean, light weight cotton secured with a  rubber band.
  3. Don't neglect it.  Feed your starter every evening and stir it down every morning.  If you are not going to be using it at least every other day, store in the refrigerator and remove 12 hours prior to planned use. 
  4. Keep the sides of your sourdough crock clean. 
With those few things in mind, the only materials required to get started are a glass jar or crock with a loose covering, a clean metal spoon, flour, and water.  Any kind of flour can be used in a starter, but for the initial week I prefer rye since it is less likely to mold than other varieties.  After the bacteria has taken hold and my starter is going well, I switch over to all purpose white flour. 

Day 1:  Mix 1 cup of rye flour with 1 cup water in your very clean container.  Cover loosely and set aside for 24 hours.

Day 2-6:  Stir down and feed your starter 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water every evening.  Over the course of this week you will start to notice first a sour smell coming from your starter and then see some bubbling activity.  The consistency of the starter should be like thick pancake batter and the ratio of flour/water can be adjusted to obtain this. 

Day 7: Use 1-2 cups of your starter today!  Stir it down early in the day and remove what you want to use. Good first uses for sourdough include biscuits and bread.  I usually give two weeks before attempting flap jacks. 
Tonight feed your starter as usual, but switch to white flour if you have been using rye. 

 
 
A well cared for starter can live indefinitely and with all the fun recipes to try there is little chance you will grow tired of it's use. 
 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


More on Sourdough

After posting what I thought was a fairly thorough article on sourdough starter, I started thinking about all the little details I take as a simple matter of course when working my "doughs."  Since I want the best out come possible for anybody who attempts a starter, I decided to expand this topic a bit and add a few more tips. 

-When feeding the starter, use room temperature to lukewarm water.  Hot water can kill the culture and cold will slow down its activity. 

-To keep the sides of the sourdough crock clean, use a sharp knife to scrape the sides when you stir it down in the morning.  The dried scraping will fall into the crock and be incorporated back into the starter. These dried bits end up on the side of the crock because after feeding the bacteria works on the added ingredients and will raise the content level slightly before settling back down. 

-Always stir the starter gently.  It is a living thing and does not like to be radically disturbed.  One thing I always remember about my Grandpa was how slowly and methodically he maintained his starter.  Everything was done carefully, properly, and with love. 

-A forgotten feeding or stirring down is not the end of the world.  It's not a good habit to get into, but on occasion it will do little to harm the starter.  Just resume regular care as soon as possible.

-Any sign of mold or black scum on the starter is a red light.   Throw it away, sterilize the crock, and start over.  Between workings the starter will separate with the ticker starter below and a light brown liquid on top, this is normal.  Any nasty growth is fairly unmistakable and is usually accompanied by an unpleasant odor. 

-After spooning out the starter required for cooking, use a just laundered dish rag moistened in hot water to clean any starter that may have dripped on the rim of the crock.  Do not let the rag come in contact with the remaining starter. 

Grandpa and I, the last time I saw him. 
 
 
 
***Please note: since my last post on sourdough starter, my sweet hubby bought me a proper sourdough spoon.