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On the rise: Starting my own Sourdough Starter

by on December 22, 2008

I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately, and I decided that it was high time that I had my own starter.  Having a wild yeast strain grown from the air would allow me to save money on buying dried yeast and will ultimately make for tastier bread.  I’m following the instructions for a Sourdough Starter in The Cheeseboard: Collective Works.

You start with 3/4 cup rye flour and 1/2 cup cool water

Day 1

After 48 hours, the yeast has begun to form:

Day 3

Day 3

Add 2/3 cup of bread flour (I used King Arthur All Purpose White), and let it sit for another 48 hours

Day 5

Day 5

On Day 5, remove 1/4 cup of the starter and discard the rest (we tried to make bread from the remainder, with mixed results).  Add 1/2 cup of water and another 2/3 cup of bread flour.  Cover and let sit for another 48 hours.

Here’s the bread we tried to make from our “discarded” starter:

It looks good on the outside, but the inside had not risen and the bread was too dense to bake properly.

It looks good on the outside, but the inside had not risen and the bread was too dense to bake properly.

Day 7

Day 7

On day 7, repeat steps from day 5. From here on out, reserve 1/4 of the starter for future use, and use the rest for your recipe.  Feed the reserved portion as per day 5 instructions.

Day 9

Day 9

Day 11

Day 11: You can really see the yeast working!

We tried again to make some bread from the Day 11 starter, but it still ended up a little flat:

We split the dough and made two loaves

The crust was good, but there wasnt enough air inside to make a good crumb.  I guess the yeast didnt have enough rising power yet.

The crust was good, but there wasn't enough air inside to make a good crumb. I guess the yeast didn't have enough rising power yet. It's also been cold here, so the yeast might have never "woken" up.

A couple days later, we tried again, using King Arthur’s recipe for Pain Au Levain, and we let it rise overnight.  Whoah, nellie.

Its ALIVE!  Its ALIIIIIVE!

It's ALIVE! It's ALIIIIIVE!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Its HUUUGE.

It's HUUUGE.

First Slice!

First Slice!

First Bite!

First Bite!

The crumb is much lighter on this loaf than the rest.  The yeast is finally doing its job.

The crumb is much lighter and airy on this loaf than the rest. The yeast is finally doing its job.

Success!

Success!

From here, we are going to try Sourdough Pancakes, maybe some Sourdough Baguettes.  The sky’s the limit!

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2 Comments
  1. I would like some of that starter!!!!

  2. you’ve become more productive ever since you’ve married Christina. 🙂 haha

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