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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!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Starting Sourdough

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.


abrianna said...

One of these days I will have to try this. Thanks for the tips.

I have also started blogging again.

Hannah Marie said...

Quick question ... when you say "remove half of the starter", are you talking about discarding it completely?


MommySetFree said...

Hannah Marie, That is a good question! That always bugged me at first too. :-) Yes...you disgard it completely. However, if you are really thrifty, you could always throw it into a quick bread batter you might be making that day or feed it to the chickens or compost it. :-)

Hannah Marie said...

Thanks so much! I plan to start some later this evening so that I can feed it tomorrow morning and not in the middle of the night :)

I had sourdough starter awhile back ... I think it was before last Passover (2011) ... but I believe I had made it with yeast. I've been wanting to start more since then so I'm looking forward to trying this.

Do you have a bread recipe that turns out somewhat like normal whole wheat bread? My recipe would always make loaves that were pretty dense and heavy ... and my younger siblings weren't completely thrilled about that :) I'd love to try some new recipes though ... I remember having some sourdough pancakes somewhere that were absolutely delicious!

MommySetFree said...

I have an outstanding bread machine recipe for a ww bread, that uses yeast...but I have never done sourdough in it before. There are lots of great ways to use sour dough. We keep learning and growing. I fantasize about giving up commercial yeast and ONLY doing sourdough...but I have so many amazing yeast bread recipes we like..that I don't know if that will ever happen. :-)I'll just keep plugging away at using sourdough for more things and maybe it will just naturally happen. The trick will be to get so good at sourdough, that I will never miss the yeast or other "quick breads". :-)

Josee said...

I started this recipe this week and it is working out wonderfully. Now I guess my question would be do you have a recipe for a sourdough bread? I've googled a recipe but keep coming up with recipes that include the sourdough starter and yeast. I thought the point of sourdough starter was so you don't have to use yeast. Or am I completely out in left field on that one?

MommySetFree said...

Hi Josee,
I agree with you 100% about the yeast with sour dough thing. I suppose they are just adding it for the flavor?? In my eyes it is a counterfeit. I have a friend who is so annoyed by the prevelance of the counterfeit sour dough method, that she won't all hers sourdough, she alls her natural leavened bread to distinguish the difference. Anyway...I am hoping to post some sourdough recipes this week. I do have one posted for Sourdough Challah http://homeshalom.blogspot.com/2010/12/sourdough-whole-wheat-challah.html. I will also try to make a "link post" for some of the blogs/resources four sourdough reipes for ya.

Layah Pontiff said...

Could you feed the other half instead of discarding it? Then give that one away? As a family of soon to be eight, the starter would have little problem getting used. Pancakes, muffins, breads.... Layah Pontiff

MommySetFree said...

"Everyone" always says no. Why? I have no idea. I have never tried it. I don't see why not - though. If you experiment with it. Comment back here and let us know! :-)

Sarah said...

So do you happen to have a sourdough bread recipe you can post other than challah? You mentioned back in April you might be able to post one. Why do you remove 1/2 the culture? One websites instructions were to just feed everyday and never remove.

MommySetFree said...

Hi Sarah,
You only pitch half the culture when you are developing your started from scratch. Once you have your starter established, you do not need to discard portions any more. You may always use and add to the starter to KEEP it going. Since we throw out our leaven every spring at Pesach (Passover), it is necessary for us to start this process over from scratch each year. However, there are cultures that have been said to be kept alive in a family or business for hundreds of years.

Why do you need to discard it while it is first being established? I am not positive - but I think it had something to with it's strength and volume. I always thought it was strange, but just followed the instructions since it was new to the process. This method has always been successful for me over the years - so I never had a need to part from it. It is a simple and effective way to restart my Sourdough culture from scratch without purchasing it.

I am sorry that I have not posted any further sourdough recipes. I have many. I will try to post my easiest bread dough for you this week.

Michelle said...

Hi Pamela
This is by far the easiest sour dough starter instuction I have come across. I have always wanted to "do" sourbread but was put off a bit by the complexity of it all, bit like when you make soap for the first time, some people want to scare you off and appear to be the only ones capable of it,but others like yourself make it seem more like real life, have a go and keep at it.
The best teachers are those who give and receive freely,thanks this is my project for tomorrow
Blessings from Australia.

MommySetFree said...

I know what you mean! I was in that place for several years. Then I dove in and weeded through all that silly elitist stuff and dug around until I was able to find nice "down home" style techniques. Bread baking has been (and is) done in the most simple homes and cultures for hundreds of years. There is no reason to get all hoyty toyty about it! :-)

I hope you are truly inspired and get over the hump of "newness". It is always the hardest hurdle to get over. For me, the first few times I try something, I am a bit "hyper sensitive about the details" - but after a few rounds I relax and except how simple things really can be! :-) Ahhh...I don't know why I put myself though the ringer first. I guess it might just be how I am wired. :-)

Be sure to check out my other sour dough recipes, once you get your starter going. You have inspired me to post more...when I can. Blessings and Shalom.

Erin H. said...

I am so excited to have found your blog! I stayed up too late browsing last night :) and I am so encouraged! I have a question regarding sourdough starters.

I was recently given a 20-yr-old starter. However, it is a "potato flake starter." The instructions my neighbor gave me with the starter say to feed it potato flakes, sugar, and warm water. Do you know if I can start feeding the starter wheat flour and warm water as is done with traditional sourdough starters? Or do I need to start over from scratch and create my own starter using wheat flour?

MommySetFree said...

Erin, Thanks for your encouraging words.

That is a great question about the potato started. I am not sure, I have never worked (or heard of!) a potato starter before. However, if your don;t mind the possibility of loosing the starter - I would try it - and see what happens. Just know that it is VERY that it could get messed up. If you don't to take that chance you could build it up with potato, sugar and water as instructed, then take a sampling of it and play with that by adding the wheat flour to grow a portion of it. I am not sure it is the same organisms that field off the potato that do the wheat. The wheat started is pretty easy to do seperatly from scratch though. Keeping them seperate might give you two distinctly different breads - which might be nice if you don't mind managing two cultures. I am curious to know what you do and how it turns out. Please comment back with your decisions and results. Blessings, pamela

Erin H. said...

Thank you for your reply! I successfully swapped the starter over from feeding on potato flakes & sugar to just hard white whole wheat flour. I did this over the course of about 3 days, feeding twice a day while decreasing the potato/sugar and increasing the flour each time. I kept a 100% potato/sugar starter going as well as backup until I was confident in the flour starter. Once my new starter was up and going, I ditched the old one. I was not interested in all the preservatives etc. from the instant potato flakes making their way into my wholesome bread!