Introduction: Ferment Yourself Some Food!: Making Sourgough Starter
Do you like sourdough bread?
Do you like fermenting sweet stuff and watching it bubble?
Do you want to be able to make your own bread and become less reliant on destructive food making techniques used by large scale producers?
Then hopefully I will be able to show you how to make your own sourdough starter.
There are families that still pass down starters created over a 150 years ago! Your starter may end up a generational legacy past down over the generations!....... but probably not. At least you can enjoy it for as many years as you recondition and feed the sweet, sweet sludge.
***Disclaimer: This is my first experience making it myself and hope that the experiment is successful, so that I reap the benefits of tasty bread and also am able to teach others. This is also my first instructable so let me know of anything I can do to improve it. Thanks!***
I learned how to make sourdough starter from a zine called Wild Fermentation: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Cultural Manipulation. One of my favorite zines (and zine names) available from:
Sandor Ellix Katz
247 Santuary Lane
Liberty, TN 37095
Also, if you live in the greater Portland, OR area Multnomah County library has a few in the periodical section.
Almost all of my knowledge comes from this great zine.
P.P.S.- Mark_In_Hollywood showed me a great article he wrote about making sourdough starter and reconditioning. Its an interesting and informative read- check it out!
Step 1: Mixing the Ingredients...
-quart size jar (or larger, I used a reclaimed spaghetti sauce jar)
-4 tablespoons of honey or molasses (I used honey because I already had some)
-1 cup flour
Fill the jar with 2 cups of warm water.
Add the honey/molasses and flour and stir vigorously.
Cover the jar with cheesecloth or another porous material (old fabric is free and omnipresent).
Step 2: Time to Do Some Serious Voodoo Chillin'...
After vigorously stirring your concoction, you need to put the mix in a warm place.
70-80 degrees is ideal, but if you don't have such a place (I don't thanks to the rain gods that dump buckets of cold rain and kick up wintry breezes all over Portland despite June's arrival), make do. I move my jar around to warmer places (an oven after you're done cooking and its cooled down a bit, a steamy bathroom, etc).
Now make a mug of mate, read Robert Anton Wilson, start more instructables, listen to Dr. John. Do whatever pleases you most.
Step 3: Giving Your Mix Some Love...
Stir your mixture at least once a day when it comes to mind as you wait for the wild airborne yeast to find its way into your jar. The more you agitate the stuff, the more exposure it has to the yeast that will transform it. I've been stirring about 4 times a day (this is probably excessive).
It takes 3-4 days, maybe more depending on the state of your ecosystem, for the yeast to become active.
When the mix becomes active it will start to bubble- that means the mix is fermenting.
If you're tired of waiting for some action, you can add a pinch of yeast; some think of this as cheating however and I plan to avoid it for as long as possible.
Step 4: Day 2: Waiting
So, I've been making sure my mix has some time in a heated environment and have stirred about 4 times a day.
Not a whole lot going on at this point, so I made some mung sprouts.
I do want to mention that when you stir the mix you'll notice large bubbles forming.
Hurray! Your done!
*NO*...those are air bubbles and the formula is still not ready.
We're looking for smaller and more numerous bub's.
Step 5: Day 3: Progress!
This morning I woke up and wandered over to my jar.
I took off the cheesecloth and......... Bubbles!
Lots of small bubbles on the top of the mix (as you can tell, the heavier portions (flour + honey), spend most of their time on the bottom) around the edges of the jar.
I'm stirring more frequently now and doing whatever I can to insure the warmth.
***It is difficult to take pictures of very small things on a camera phone- don't hate.***
Step 6: Day 4: I Cheat--->great Success!
LATE in the night on day 3 I become desperate for an increase of bubbles and add prepackaged yeast.
Not a lot- hardly any at all actually. The picture illustrates the minute amount added...
Do I regret it? No. Do I feel guilty? A little.
Anyway, I woke up a while later and found that the bubbles had increased immensely.
My mix has fermented and smells sour and lovely! All thanks to a tiny pinch of yeast to move those airborne slowpokes along.
Next step- feeding and preparing the starter for completion.
Step 7: Day 5: Feeding the Ferment...
As the bubbles continue to increase and your mix becomes more pungent the yeast will need to snack every so often.
Add 1/4 cup of flour (I've heard oats or millet work as well, but I didn't want to risk ruining my 5 days work) to your starving yeast prison once a day for 3-4 days.
After adding the flour be sure to mix. In case you haven't noticed by now mixing is vital to this whole process.
If your concoction begins to drift to the DARK SIDE (solidity) you need to add more water. Because of the flour your starter will get thicker and start to rise to the top of the jar because it will hold some of the gas that the yeast releases. Try to pursue integration by rapidly stirring away any signs of solidity via your LIGHT SABER (spoon).
Remember: stir often and try to keep your jar in a warm place.