I had a strange thing on my bucket list. Ever since I heard about sourdough cultures, I always wanted to raise one. That odd little dream has been realized and it was easier than I had ever thought it would be. I busted several myths, too.
First of all, I’d thought that if I didn’t have access to a sourdough starter that was old and pedigreed, my bread wouldn’t be very good.
“Bob” is about three weeks old and is producing delicious loaves and rolls.
Then I thought that if I DID want an old and pedigreed starter, I’d need to pay a lot for one or know somebody.
Thanks to the fine folks at Carl’s Friends, you can get one for the price of postage.
I thought you’d need a bunch of fancy equipment and materials.
WRONG there too! I was able to do it with nothing but flour, water, time, and the warm spot on top of my hot water heater.
I am not going to tell you how to make a starter other than to say that it’s actually pretty easy. I’ve included the article I used at the bottom of this post.
However, there is something so amazing about mixing flour and water, feeding it every day, and after a couple weeks of waiting having a wonderful, bubbly, symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria ready to lift my dough. That’s why I’m calling my second culture (the one from the Carl’s Friends site) “SCOBY-wan Kenobi.” I named my own culture, Bob, after my coworker’s split personality. Long story.
The bread from this process has been light, wonderfully flavored, and filled with bubbles to an extent I haven’t been able to achieve with yeast. Having “Bob” to feed every day has been oddly like having a pet – or an alien creature that bubbles energetically when I Feed it flour and water. It has rhythms and behaviors, of a sort, all within its little plastic crock. I can even refrigerate or freeze it if I want the culture to cool its jets a bit and give me some breathing room.
So far, baking sourdough has been a fun and rewarding project! Here is my latest bake. If anyone wants to know where I got those rings, here is where I got them.
When I bake sourdough, I don’t think it’s all just my doing. It’s a partnership between me and my starter. As with anything, if I treat that starter well, I’ll get great results. If I neglect it or don’t understand it, my efforts will fall flat. Maybe it’s just the culture getting to my brain, but I get philosophical when I bake.
For those who want to join me in this wacky, bubbly journey, here are my sources:
Carl’s 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter: http://carlsfriends.net/
How to make a Sourdough Starter in 7 steps: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/7-easy-steps-making-incredible-sourdough-starter-scratch/
Where I bought my rings and other kitchen equipment: https://amzn.to/2HYDwKH