Corn Free and sometimes Dairy Free cooking

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sour Dough Lesson 1

You will need, a container. A large bowl, a plastic pitcher, or a crock.

The crock from your crock pot is a great choice (if you will not be using it for a while, they are often for sale very cheaply in 2nd hand stores). The even temperature maintained makes a crock a great place to feed and develop your sour dough starter. If you do not have a crock available, fear not! Over the years, I have used a plastic 12 cup tupperware bowl, a large glass mixing bowl, a bean pot, etc. The vessel/bowl you use must not be made of any kind of metal the heavier the better. You will need a lid/cover of some sort, the lid needs to have a place for air exchange. If it's a pitcher put the lid on with the pouring part open as though you are going to pour. If it's a bowl cover with plastic but allow for air exchange (I use a disposable shower cap type thing). Using tupperware? Just leave a small portion of the lid unsealed. The crockpot will get enough air through the lid, it does not make an airtight seal. The container needs to be large enough to hold the approximately 3 cups of starter and allow space for it to bubble up. One person, living in Florida mentioned to me, a concern about bugs. If this is a concern for you and the bugs are creepy crawlies, place this vessel (described above) on a glass plate or in a pie plate and then pour a small amount of water in the dish creating a moat.

You will also need water, it is best if the water is not full of chlorine (standard tap water). So, filtered water, good quality spring water, or tap water that has sat out overnight allowing the chlorine to dissipate are all good choices. If you have difficulty growing a proper starter or getting your breads to rise, the first thing you should look at is the water being used.

baking yeast - dry active yeast. I know it all contains some corn but, we will be diluting this while developing the sour dough starter, so it will be nearly non-existent by the time it is used for bread making.

It would be good to have at least 10 pounds of good whole wheat flour on hand. Hard whole wheat is best for this. For some, white wheat may be better, than red wheat especially if you are not accustomed to eating a lot of whole grains. The flavor is lighter and the grain is a bit softer. I used King Arthur White Wheat for my experiments.

Note: Mentally prepare yourself to throw out food, you will be throwing out a good bit of this "starter" as you develop it. It is hard for me to throw out "good food", I have had to get rid of too much stuff because of allergies to be very comfortable with tossing out much of anything. Also, I'm cheap. If I got over it you can too :).

The Starter:

2 c safe whole grain flour (preferably hard wheat, I used King Arthur white wheat flour)
2 c. warm water (105* - use a thermometer)
1 T. or, 1 packet yeast

Before bed, combine ingredients. stir well but don't get too worried about lumps, the fermentation process will break them down. Cover container and place container in a place with a constant temperature, preferably 85*, I use a corner of the kitchen, it's never 85* there. 85* is optimal. In the old days I used an empty drawer in our water bed base.

Next morning it should look different, there may be bubbles, it may be separate with most of the flour floating on top of a watery substance. Stir and leave it alone for the day. (go to step 2)

That night, remove 1 cup of this batter. Toss the rest in the trash, down the drain, whatever. Place the reserved cup full into the bowl. Add 2 cups flour and 2 cups of water, warm is nice, if warming it is too much trouble, room temp will do. NEVER ADD HOT WATER! Stir, cover, allow to rest overnight. (If you forget to tend the starter one night it's okay, just pick up at step 2 the following evening.) Go to step one)

Repeat these 2 steps for about 5 days. If you are worried and want it diluted more, keep going for a few more days. The longer it sits, two nights without "feeding" at a time, the more sour it will become. more than 24 hours without food and in less than optimal conditions may not serve it well. When it's where you want it, put it in a jar in the fridge. Make sure the jar has lots of empty space left in case it bubbles up. Also make sure the lid on the jar can breathe, the jar can break if the seal is air tight. Tupperware works good as it will burp itself :). I save mine in a special sour dough container I got at a thrift store. It's a small, generic crock with a lid that had a rubber gasket on it. I was able to easily remove the gasket, allowing it air space, so it can breath.

This is lesson 1. Easy Cheesy! If there are questions, let ‘em rip! I'll be here to answer. I will be providing a couple of simple recipes in a few days for you to try this stuff to make sure it's diluted enough for you before you go to the trouble of making bread with it. Please feel free to post here or at the Delphi list site, using the subject header, Sour Dough.

Good luck!

No comments: