I have seen lots of recipes for sourdough using yeast in the recipe. This is not "TRUE" sourdough. True sourdough is when grain and water left to naturally ferment and collect wild yeasts from the air. This creates an all natural starter - the old fashioned way. This is how we make our sour dough. Now, for those of us who try to keep the Biblical Feasts...we get used to starting a new sour dough culture (at least) one a year. Every Spring, as a part of the Feast of Matzah (Unleavened Bread) YHVH's (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) people are instructed to "get the leaven out" of their homes for the week of Matzah (which follows the day after Passover/Pesach). For those of us who like to use leaven as our foremothers did...this means we get proficient at starting our sourdough from scratch, year after year in the Spring after this Feast has past. There are many variations on how to start a sourdough culture...and we have tried quite a few...but this is our favorite...this is the one that "stuck" in our home and the one that will be handed down in our family cookbook for generations to come!
This method was learned from http://www.gnowfglins.com/ . Since we don't use rye regularly, I was excited to learn that the starter could be made with wheat alone. This process takes a week, of feeding the starter twice a day (every 12 hours).
The Beginning: Put 1/4C water plus 1/4C + 1/8C flour in a pint jar. (We use red wheat.) Stir vigorously, scrape the sides and cover with a cloth. Let sit on the counter for 12 hours.
Feeding 1: (12 hours later) Watch for bubbles (activity). If you don't see life (activity); stir well scrape the sides and let sit another 12 hours. If you DO see life, repeat the beginning step (adding 1/4 C water and 1/4c+ 1/8C flour), by adding the same amount of flour and water. Set aside for 12 hours.
Feeding 2: (If no activity has become evident, dump the starter and start from scratch.) If the mixture shows continued activity, remove 1/2 of the culture and repeat the beginning step.
Feeding 3: (Assuming activity is continuing) Remove half of the starter and feed 1/4C water, plus 1/4+ 1/8C flour, stir, scrape, cover, allow too sit 12 (or so)hours again.
Feeding all week long: Continue the process of "Feeding 3", all week long, twice a day (about 12 hours apart). It's bubbles will increase and it will double in size each day. After a week's time, it will be ready to be used for baking. You expand the starter to match the amount needed in for each recipe, always leaving enough left over, to "add too"...keeping the starter alive and growing for continuous use.
To expand your starter: We often make large recipes, so we often have to "grow out" our starter. A good formula to follow is this. If you are expanding the amount of leaven you need for larger or multiple recipes, do not exceed double the amount of expansion. In other words. If you have 1C of starter, you can add up to 1C of water and flour to it at a time. (This will make 3C of starter.) Stir and let sit for about 12 hours until it shows activity throughout the starter. Then you can use it, or continue to increase it by adding as much as 3C each of flour and water (or less - but no more).
Storing your Starter: If you are not using your starter daily, you can refrigerate it, which slows the activity. It still needs to be fed (as described above) once a week. If your starter gets a brown liquid that separates on top, it is OK. It is called "hooch". This is showing you that your starter is hungry and needs to be feed. You simply mix it up and feed it flour and water. OR you may pour it off and feed your starter. Mixing it in, will encourage the "sour" flavor in your dough, while pouring it off, will give you a milder flavored starter "sponge" to work with.
Another way we learned to store our starter from a friend was to add enough flour to it, to roll into firm "meat ball sized" balls. Bury in flour and store them in a container in the fridge. This is a nice way to travel with sour dough. This also stores for twice the time of a wet starter in a jar (2-3 weeks) which is very nice if you go away or take a sourdough break. To reactivate the starter, simply cut the ball in half and discard. Add flour and water (each item) equal to it's amount in size. Once again, add enough flour to make a stiff ball, bury in flour in jar or sip lock bag and label, date and refrigerate.
Tip: If you have ever had trouble getting a sourdough starter going, you might consider your water source. Do you have chlorinated water? If so, I would recommend using bottled or filtered water for (all) cultures. The natural fermentation process can be prohibited by the chemicals in chlorinated water.
Welcome to Home Shalom!
Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!