My Sourdough Starter
I once thought sourdough was just a flavor choice, but as researched it more, I discovered that sourdough really is a superfood. It helps with gluten sensitivities, has it’s own probiotics, and really enhances the nutritional value of any bread. But when you combine it with Ezekiel Bread made with sprouted legumes and sprouted grain flour – MAGIC!
I’ve tried different methods for sourdough starter and it’s been quite an adventure! You can check out my previous blogs on those experiments here. After all of that, I’ve found a happy place where the sourdough and the Ezekiel recipe work together very nicely and create a light, fluffy loaf that has yet to disturb a stomach yet.
Aside from all the amazing health benefits of sourdough in your diet, I really do love it as a baker. I still use commercial yeast, but adding 1/3 to 1/2 cup sourdough starter to my Ezekiel dough makes it twice as fluffy as a usual batch. Considering the fact that Ezekiel bread can be pretty heavy, adding that extra lift really makes for a beautiful bread.
Here’s the Sourdough Starter Recipe that I use:
TO BEGIN YOUR STARTER
- 1 cup whole rye or whole wheat flour (The organic ones work best)
- 1 cup cool water
TO FEED YOUR STARTER
- 1/2 cup whole rye or whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup cool water (if your house is warm), or lukewarm water (if your house is cool)
- Combine the flour with the water in a non-reactive container. Glass, crockery, stainless steel, or food-grade plastic all work fine for this.
- Stir everything together thoroughly; make sure there’s no dry flour anywhere. Cover the container loosely (I use a piece of fabric from an old tee shirt) and let the mixture sit at room temperature (about 70°F) for 24 hours.
You may see no activity at all in the first 24 hours, or you may see a bit of growth or bubbling. Whether you see growth or not, discard 1/2 cup of starter. I like to plan to bake on this day so I’m not wasting anything. Don’t throw it away, just add it to a batch of bread. Then add your daily feeder portion to the starter (1/2 cup Flour + 1/2 cup water).
- Mix well, cover, and let the mixture rest at room temperature for 24 hours.
- By the third day, you’ll see some activity — bubbling; a fresh, fruity aroma, and some evidence of expansion. King Arthur Flour recommends two feedings a day at this point, but I like to go with just one since I bake with whatever I discard. (I don’t bake around the clock!)
- The starter should have at least doubled in volume by day 5. You’ll see lots of bubbles and the starter should have a tangy aroma — pleasingly acidic, but not overpowering.
- Remove however much starter you need for your recipe but be sure to always leave at least 1/2 cup in its permanent home: a crock, jar, or whatever you’d like to store it in long-term. Store this starter in the refrigerator, and feed it regularly; at least once a week.
It’s pretty hot in Texas this time of year, so I’m holding off on baking and only doing it on the occasional cool day. That doesn’t leave much room for sourdough so I haven’t been using it. As soon as the weather cools and my air conditioner isn’t fight off 105 degree heat, I’ll get back to my regular baking again – besides, baking gives my heater a break in the winter.