On January 5th, I watched one of Noreen’s (atticus9799) video on YouTube where she talks about making a sourdough starter. If you remember when I first started my food storage journey, I tried to make two sourdough starters. I eventually threw them both away because I didn’t think I was getting a starter and I was a little overwhelmed by everything I was doing. So, when I saw Noreen’s sourdough starter I was willing to take her challenge and make one along with her.
I started mine with a combination of 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/2 cup grape juice and 1 cup of wheat flour. My pineapple juice was not “fermented” like Noreen’s but she stated that fresh would work fine. I used a small coffee filter under the mason jar ring so the starter could breath while it is fermenting. Noreen has a special screen insert that she uses when fermenting her starter. (Keep reading… I have done away with the paper coffee filters and made a reusable lid to fit into the ring.)
After a few days, a few more feedings and a few more videos, I attempted my first sourdough bread. And… well… I guess I should say that I attempted to make my first sourdough dough. I didn’t get to the baking bread phase because the first two mixtures of dough didn’t rise. Bummer!
But I’m learning not to give up! So I fed it and stirred it for a few more days. And let it ferment some more hoping that would give me the natural yeast needed to make the dough rise. I stored the starter jar in the microwave hoping the enclosed space will keep it a little warmer. And then one day, when we returned home from church, I opened the microwave to discover that my sourdough starter was truly “alive”.
It had bubbled over and out of the jar. That was one mess that I was “happy” to clean up. And fortunately the glass insert in the microwave kept the mess contained. After cleaning up the mess, transferring the starter to clean jar with a clean ring and a new coffee filter, I decided to feed it again and try to make some bread the next day.
I would say… it was a SUCCESS…
… until we tasted it… so very pretty but so very bland… and so very sad!
But I still wasn’t giving up… I was headed in the right direction, I was one step closer to getting sourdough bread… I got it to rise! Now, I just needed to get some flavor. At this point I was thinking that maybe the lack of humidity in the desert had something to do with the lack of “sour” taste. The best sourdough bread I’ve eaten is in San Fransisco… it’s very humid there and they have the ocean too and I think that makes a difference. But maybe if I let it “ferment” some more I could get the flavor I was after. So my journey continued for a few more days.
And finally after four more days of feeding/fermenting/stirring, I got two loaves that didn’t look so pretty, but they DID rise and tasted so much BETTER than the last.
Even hubby agreed that these loaves tasted better. We’ve eaten most of the two loaves by toasting them and spreading some nice creamy peanut butter on them in the morning. Makes a perfect breakfast for me with a glass of milk or juice. Yummo!
My sourdough starter now permanetly resides in the microwave (in a bowl, just in case) and I feed it every morning with a couple of tablespoons of flour and stir in a little water. It always has bubbles and looks really happy. I know that most recipes talk about feeding it with a cup of flour, a cup of water and storing it in the fridge… but that didn’t work for me. What I’m doing works and I’ll continue doing it and keep you posted on future sourdough bread baking.
I feel like I’ve accomplished a major hurtle in my food storage journey by being able to make a sourdough starter from scratch, keeping it fed and successfully making a loaf of bread without commercial active dry yeast!
I have change the recipe I was using to make the sourdough bread. One thing that I learned from SIL that if you can “remember” your bread recipe, it will be so much easier to feed yourself in a crisis situation. One day I stumbled upon some information (sorry, can’t remember where) that sourdough can be made by remembering 1… 2… 3… that’s 1 cup of starter, 1 cup of water, 2 tsp of salt and 3 cups of flour. And that is what I used to make the last two loaves. I am now fully confident that I can make bread anywhere or anytime as long as I have water, flour and salt.
Okay, so now that you’ve patiently read to this point, I’ll show you how I made a reusable “screen” for the lid of my mason jar. I picked up a sheet of Darice plastic canvas from Michael’s today. It is 8.25 x 11 inches in size and the mesh is size 14. I cut out a circular piece that fits perfectly under the rim of the ring. (I’m wondering if I should make some more for when I get around to sprouting seeds?)
Now my question to you… Have you tried to make a sourdough starter? If not, go over to Noreen’s YouTube channel (atticus9799) and watch her videos on sourdough starter, bread and oh yes, PANCAKES!!!
And… if you have any questions for me… let me know. I’m not an expert but I did learn some things along the way that I’d be happy to pass along to you.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”
John 19:28 (NKJV)