So you want to make some sourdough.
Sourdough is an age old method of using naturally occurring yeasts to make breads rise. Using a base yeast “culture” called a starter which is a symbiotic culture between natural occurring yeasts and Lactobacillus, which is added to the standard flour/water/salt combination to make a bread. Lactobacillus becomes the dominant bacteria within the dough which is what separates it from traditional yeast breads. As a result, sourdough produces a more tangy or sour taste (hence the name) due to lactic acid produced by the Lactobacillus.
Why use sourdough?
- Well, no need to buy yeast for one however due to the fermentation process and enzymes produced by the Lactobacillus there appears to be some nice health benefits.
- An Increase in Lactic Acid causing a decrease in phyates which can block the uptake of beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
- There is a pre digestion of the starches through the bacteria/yeast culture making it easier to digest.
- Gluten is broken down more.
- Acetic acid produced along with the lactic acid prevents mold.
- There is emerging evidence that sourdough allows for better blood glucose regulation, not only immediately but for several hours afterwards and even into the next meal.
A simple sourdough starter.
- What you need:
- A larger glass/ceramic container with a wide mouth (I use a 2 quart pickle jar).
- A ladle of 1/3, 1/4 cup size that will fit into the jar (this will be for retrieving the starter for bread making)
- some white flour (Or whole wheat or Rye)
- Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
- Purified water (Just leave tap water to sit out for an hour)
Steps to make a starter:
- 3-1/2 Tbs flour mixed into 1/4 cup pineapple juice – cover and set aside for 36-48 hours. (stir 2-3x a day). Add to the mix 2 Tbs flour and 2 Tbs pineapple juice – cover and set aside for 24-48 hours. (stir 2-3x a day)
- You should see some bubbling/fermentation starting by 48 hours- if you don’t you may want to start again.
- Add to mix 5-1/4 Tbs flour and 3 Tbs purified water – cover and set aside for 24 hours.
- Add to ix 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup purified water. Sourdough should be bubbling and doubling regularly now – It can then be used as starter.
Care and feeding:
Now that you have a starter, keep in mind it is now a living thing and as such it needs to eat and be cared for. I will usually feed mine once a day if its out of the refrigerator or feed it once before i refrigerate it.
1 part flour to 1/2 part water, which means 1 cup of flour to 1/2 cup water then mix and add to starter. (or 1/2 cup flour to 1/4 cup water).
Refrigeration slows the metabolism of the starter down considerably so unless you want to be feeding/removing starter constantly you should place it in the fridge. Then take it out and feed it the night before you want to use it.
If you want to leave it out, you should be either using the same amount of starter as you are feeding it – or throwing it out before feeding, as it will grow increasingly becoming to much.
A thick pancake batter is a good consistency I use, however people have starters near the texture of actual bread – both have advantages.