Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Versatile Sourdough

by Lynn at Viggies Veggies

When I got started making sourdough this summer, I was expecting lots of sourdough bread like the kind you'd buy in a store. I was surprised to find just how versatile sourdough really is. It's not just the type of bread I had in my mind, but a method of growing your own yeast and being dependent on one less store bought perishable.

A starter is begun with just 1 cup each flour and water. During the first week half is discarded each day and it is fed back up with 1/2 cup each flour and water. This gives your growing yeast colony plenty to eat. Once you get going you may want to start with recipes like pancakes and biscuits that will perform well even without a good rise. Your little yeast friends take some time to grow up. I started baking bread right away with mine and they were good tasting but not big fluffy breads until the starter had matured for 2 months or so.

sourdough pancakessourdough biscuits

Once the first week is over, you don't need to keep discarding. But if you do you can save and use that discard in recipes. I cook once a week so I just feed every day and let my starter grow. That way by the end of the week I have plenty for all the recipes I'm making. If you don't bake that much you could also put the starter in the fridge. It doesn't need to be fed in there and you can take it out a day before you do want to bake.

sourdough muffinssourdough french bread

Sourdough can greet you at breakfast with delicious muffins or rich pancakes. Neither of which are sour in the least. It can bake up fluffy Italian breads and very filling biscuits. I've really enjoyed learning to make novel things like bagels and hamburger buns. Well veggieburger buns in my case :)

sourdough bagelsourdough hamburger buns

The sky is really the limit with what you can do with your sourdough once you've got it going. If you want someplace to start, I've been working off of these recipes. I've done most of them already and they are excellent.