Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm making my own sourdough starter

I'm about 24 hours in on my sourdough starter.

But let me backtrack. What is a sourdough starter? Its referred to as "the sponge". I have posted about it long before how I thought it was a subject that should give you goosebumps.

A sourdough starter is usually a mixture of flour, water, and yeast. It is literally alive, and you need to keep it alive if you want to continue to use it. Kinda like a caged creature, you keep it alive by feeding it water and flour. And whenever you want to make sourdough, you take a little bit of it, and give it some time to grow back what you took.

So this means the sourdough we are sometimes eating is from a concoction of fermented flour that has been kept alive in someone's kitchen sometimes for years (and in extreme cases, it could possibly be from a famous sourdough lineage that is decades old).

After I made french bread a while back, I decided making french bread really wasn't for me. To be honest, I didn't like how long it took. I liked the kneading, but I didn't like the mess it made. French bread is relatively cheap $1-2 for a large loaf, and arguably, its cheaper to buy French Bread than to make it.

A good loaf of sourdough however seems to be a bit more expensive. Generally starts around $3 at Trader Joes. I even saw it for $8 at Ralphs. Totally outrageous. The irony of all this is it looks like sourdough is much cheaper and easier to make than french bread. So that's why I decided to investigate this further.

This video below shows you how to make a sourdough starter. The reason that this video inspired me was the simplicity of it. Just water and flour. How beautiful is that? Total work involved is a few minutes tops (although you let it sit for a day or two). It would be awesome to have sourdough year round for very little cost. I just need to go to Costco and buy one of those industrial sized bags of flour. Well, I won't go that overboard until I see if this starter can produce sourdough I want to eat regularly. I'm really hoping this works out. Plenty of people seem to say that this is definitely the right method, as simple as it is. There is another video on youtube that says you don't need to knead the dough before you throw it in the oven. That would be amazing if I can just have a fresh loaf with minutes of physically involved preparation (still need to let it rise for half a day) in a single shot. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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