I have the best luck with the sourdough starter from The Tightwad Gazette. I've had my starter going for years now, and it makes wonderful breads, pancakes, etc... It does start with commercial yeast, so if you want a starter from wild yeast, this won't be the one.
Mix 1 TBS yeast with 2 cups of chlorine free water and 2 cups flour. Combine them in a glass or plastic container; cover loosely; and let it sit at room temp for at least 48 hours. It should be foamy and have a pleasant, sour smell.
Store starter in a cool place (refrigerate).
This is the TWG sourdough bread recipe that I've been making for years. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour for all of it, but the original recipe says you can replace 1-2 cups of the white flour with whole wheat. This dough makes a good pizza crust, too.
For 2 loaves of bread:
5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups starter
1 TBS salt
1 cup water
Dissolve the salt in the water. Stir in the starter and then the flour. Stir and then knead into a ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rise overnight.
In the morning, punch down the dough, divide it in half, and shape it into loaves.
The traditional loaves are round with an X slashed in the tops. I've done rolls, loaf pan shaped, pizza crusts, etc...
Let the dough rise for about 4 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Heat oven to 400F and make sure you put a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf. Bake loaves for 35 minutes (they'll sound hollow when you "thump" them on the bottom). Rolls and pizza crusts take less time.
Everytime you use starter, you have to feed it (replace what you used). If you use 2 cups of starter, replace by stirring in 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water. After you mix it in, let the starter sit at room temp for a few hours.
You should use and feed the starter regularly. Sourdough pancakes or biscuits are a good way to use sourdough starter without the rise time.
Dawn, whenever you use some starter, you need to add more non-chlorinated water and more flour to what's left of the starter. This is "feeding" the yeast that's in the remaining starter. The yeast will feed on the new flour and multiply.
I just used the first 2 cups of my sourdough starter. I am going to make the soup bowls like you get in the restaurants. I set it out to rise last night, punched down this morning and will bake this afternoon around 11:00. I will let you know how they turn out this evening or tomorrow morning.
Hi, Deb! When the flour and water are mixed together, it equals the volume of what you took away from the starter. I guess the flour dissolves a little -- or at least compresses in volume? -- when mixed with water.
Odilia~ Thanks a bunch, that's what I thought it might be but wasn't real sure. Another question I now have is what do you store your starter in? I mixed mine up in what I THOUGHT would be a big enough glass bowl. When I went back into the kitchen it was already starting to come over the bowl rim LOL! Would a half gallon canning jar work and how do you cover it loosely so it stays that way in the fridge without picking up odors etc.
VVC~ With the sourdough starter I used at one time (one where instant potato flakes are used) it was kept in the fridge. I've read where old mountain men years ago, actually brought it into bed with them to keep the starter from freezing LOL!
After the initial fermentation period (needs a BIG bowl, as you found out! ), I keep the starter in a quart glass jar with cheesecloth held on by a canning lid. If I'm using it several times a week, I'll just leave it on the counter. I use it a lot more in winter because I just bake more in the winter, so my starter is in the fridge most of the summer and on the counter most of the winter.
Sas58 - I'm sorry I didnt write back sooner. My bread has turned out wonderfully. I have made two batches. My third is rising today/tonight for baking for tomorrows lunch/dinner. It is really easy to use/keep so far. Also, are the dogs in your picture great pyrennes? I used to have one. She was wonderful. I miss her tremendously. Her name was angel.
My starter worked!!! I baked some bread yesterday and I thought it was pretty good. DH seemed a tad disappointed, he thought it was gonna have a slightly sweet taste like the bread I used to make with the potato flakes starter. Oh well he can just put some honey on it for sweetness LOL! I'm looking forward to trying out different ways of using it.
Any recipes for pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, etc. using the starter would be much appreciated!!!
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