I love sourdough bread. One of the things on my bucket list has been to learn to not only make great sourdough bread from scratch, but make the sourdough starter from scratch. That’s the tricky part. Well, apparently it is a bit tricky for other people because I have created a sourdough starter that is threatening to take over my entire house. I think it also has plans to take over the entire world! Yeah, it’s that devious!
Last week I finally decided it was time to start a starter. I knew I’d be home for at least a week and could feed my starter twice a day for the first week. This is very important. I also knew that as soon as I had a good starter going I would have time to make some bread and maybe some rolls. Apparently, it takes quite a long time to allow the bread dough to ferment properly, so timing is crucial. I say, apparently, because I haven’t gotten to that stage yet. I’m planning on sharing my sourdough successes, failures, and recipes once I have a few batches under my belt. You’ll have to wait for that.
So, like I was saying, I started my sourdough starter a week ago. I found a great tutorial from The Pocket Farmer. If you’re interested her directions are here. I thought they were the most detailed of any sourdough starter recipe I’d seen to date. I especially liked how she talked about the correct consistency of the starter. It is more than just measuring water and flour and mixing together. She also mentioned the temperature, another key component.
Day One I mixed the water and flour in a mason jar. Twelve hours later I fed it again. I had bubbles within the first 12 hours! This is great news. The next morning, approximately 12 hours later my starter had already doubled in size so I scooped out half of the starter and added the water and flour. Twelve hours later the same, and so on…… Now you know why it is important to be home during this time. This little starter has an insatiable appetite!
According to most directions, it takes at least one full week of daily feedings to get your starter strong enough to use for breads and such. Two weeks is actually the optimal time needed to ensure a starter that can be put in the refrigerator and fed once a week. Well, my starter obviously had other ideas! On days three and four I woke up to find the sneaky little beast overflowing its bottle, obviously intent on spreading across my countertop to devour everything in sight! By day five I had to corral my yeasty pet in the refrigerator to keep it locked down in maximum security. I didn’t want to be smothered in my sleep.
Yesterday I kept the refrigerator tightly shut! I didn’t have time to be scooping, stirring, feeding, and watching. I could do the other stuff, but the watching part would take too much diligence on my part and I was too busy. This morning, feeling sorry for the little guy, I decided to let him (how did an “it” become a “him” all of a sudden?) out in the open air to warm up and enjoy the nice day. I watered and fed him (sounds like a pet!) and walked away for a little while. When I looked again he had already started to rise and bubble. The red rubber band is where he originally started. This is less than an hour later!
Did I mention that this thing is devious and bent on world domination? While sitting at the computer for half an hour – that’s 30 minutes folks! – my starter continued to double in size! Check out this picture!
If that’s not enough, here is what he looked like just 10 minutes later!
I will now cover him with muslin and stick him back in solitary confinement! I don’t have plans to make bread for a couple of days yet and can’t have a potential terrorist yeasty beast on the loose.
Whew! I just covered him up and stuck him in the refrigerator. I swear I could hear a Dr. Evil kind of laugh as I placed him on the bottom shelf. Who knows what nefarious plots he is hatching up in the darkness!
I plan on starting my dough on Friday night and allowing it to ferment overnight so that we can have beautiful, hot, sourdough bread (or maybe rolls) for breakfast on Saturday morning. I’m looking forward to my first “from scratch” bread ever! I’ve made yeast bread before, lots of times, but never have I made my own yeast! At least not on purpose.
I will keep you informed as the saga continues. If the bread tastes great, then I will just have to learn to live with a pint-size dictator who would like nothing better than to escape from the bonds of his jar and wreak havoc world-wide! For the sake of humanity and all that is tasty, I pledge to continue to fight the good fight to keep this little guy from making the FBI’s list of the Ten Most Wanted in order to bring you outstanding recipes for sourdough loveliness. I know, so much self sacrifice on my part. You’re welcome!