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I have been wanting to start some sourdough for a long time now. I think about the yummy aroma, the soft, chewy texture, the crusty outside… Ah, it is just delicious goodness. I have started sourdough on my own in the past using just flour and water. I have never been very pleased with the end result smell. I mean, I know that sourdough smells sour but what I cultured was pretty potent.
I decided to give sourdough another try but this time I ordered an Alaskan Sourdough Starter Culture from Cultures for Health. The description sounded good to me…. mild, pleasant, sour flavor and smell. I received my culture in the mail and carefully followed the directions. I started by pouring the culture into a mason jar and mixing in 1/4 cup of room temperature water. I then vigorously stirred in 1/4 cup of flour. I covered with a coffee filter and jar ring and left it sitting in a warm (73ºish) place for 12 hours.
After the first 12 hours passed I fed the starter by adding 1/2 cup of room temperature water and a scant 1/2 cup of flour, stirring vigorously, covered as before, and left for another 12 hours. This time I discarded all but 1/2 cup of starter and fed by stirring in 1/2 cup of room temperature water and a scant 1 cup of flour. I repeated this process for 7 days until my starter was actively bubbling.
My starter is doing great and it smells so good. It has a nice, delicate, sour flavor to it. Before I feed my starter, I put the discarded portion into a bowl and stick it in the refrigerator. It can be used for many different baked goods. I reserve the fresh starter for bread making. I have started reserving and feeding 1 cup of starter every 12 hours instead of 1/2 cup. It works out to be 1 part starter, 1 part room temperature water, and a scant 2 parts flour. My starter requires white flour, so I use organic unbleached flour. When I am baking with it I use freshly ground whole wheat flour with it.
I have enjoyed having this sourdough at my fingertips. It does require much more preparation and thinking ahead than yeast bread but is a far healthier option for our family. So far, with my starter I have made bread, rolls, pizza crust, pancakes, muffins, cinnamon buns, and chocolate chip cookies. Sourdough pretzels are definitely in the near future as well. Y’all, that’s a whole lot of yumminess.
I am certainly pleased with my decision to purchase the culture and get started with my sourdough endeavors. I believe my family is pleased as well. The house now has a pleasant aroma of sourdough and all of the goodness that goes with it.