So I will start with my usual apology for not having posted in months. I have been busy with work and keeping myself sane, so I am not sure why this didn’t occur to me earlier. So lockdown has continued, working from home is still a thing, and leaving the house has not been a major focus. With this in mind, I have turned to one of my favourite pastimes, finding ways to get fatter. So I have purchased KitchenAid stand mixer, in the first instance. this is to facilitate cake and cookie making, when I feel the call of sweetness. I have also put shelves all over my tiny little kitchen so that I can store stuff, as there is very little cupboard space available. But I am sure that nobody is interested in my DIY skills, or even my outlandish purchases. What you are here for is sourdough.
This is such a simple idea that I am shocked that I have no fallen into this before, although I did have an attempt at making sourdough a year or so ago, and what I ended up with was a jar of mould that refused to shift, and is probably now taking over a landfill somewhere. I have read hundreds of different recipes and suggestions for how to make your sourdough starter or mother, and have condensed all if these differing ideas and theories into a simple concept which anyone can try. I have found it to be not only successful, but damned tasty too.
What you will need:
Well that was simple. You can experiment with whichever flour you usually use, but I use strong white flour, as that is what I like. Apart from those you will need something to put it in, so any old jam jar or glass container will suffice, size dependant on how much sourdough you feel you are likely to need. I also use a secondary jar for what most sites will call the discard.
This is not a quick process, in fact not much involving sourdough is, so be prepared to find your happy place and remember that things you wait for are way better. Except trains, and test results. Also worth noting that everything here is done by weight. When it comes to baking, weight is way more accurate than volume, which is how the real bakers do it.
- I will start with 30g being the magic number, as this is where I started. Start with this as your magic number and amend this if you need once you are up and running.
- Get your jar, and pop it onto your scales and set it to zero.
- Pop in 30g of your flour.
- Top up with 30g of water.
- Mix together into a thin paste.
- Put to one side. Do not seal the jar, put a lid resting on it so elves don’t fall in, but allow air to get in and out.
- Go to bed. Unless you did these first steps in the morning in which case do other shit until it is bed time, then go to bed.
- Wake up. Lament the lack of sourdough bread for breakfast, then remember that you are just starting to make the stuff and do that.
- Add another 30g of flour and 30g of water and mix it all up. You now have 120g of gunk in a jar. Congratulate yourself and go back to bed.
- Wake up on day 3 and it is now the dawn of a new age where you will own sourdough.
- You now need to pour away half of your gunk. You can either dribble this down the toilet (do not pour gunk down your sink, I guarantee you will regret it at some point), or you can use the secondary jar, and pour off half your gunk into your ‘discard jar’.
- Now put another 30g of flour and 30g of water into your original jar and mix it all up again.
- Return to bed.
- Repeat from day 3
So that is the basics. I personally leave the discard jar to get sourer and then when I have enough, make a loaf out of it. So basically every day you chuck half of your starter away and then top it up with new. By keeping your chuck away, you are being less wasteful and making yummy stuff all the time. I regularly make crumpets, bread, pizza dough, pasta and am always looking for new things to make with it.
There are loads of other sites that will tell you more about the science behind this and how it works and recipes with what to do with your sourdough once you have it, so I will leave it to them to give you ideas on what to make once you have extraneous gunk to use up. I might include the sourdough crumpet recipe someday, as this is so simple it is amazing. In the meantime, feel free to post pics of your gunk.