Sour Dough Beginnings

Left – Tassajara Bread Book, Right – Bread Alone rye starter

I have a scientific experiment happening in my kitchen right now. I am trying to “grow” yeast or “chef” from which (if I am successful) I will create my sour dough starter that I will be able to “feed” weekly and maintain a constant supply of “starter” to make sour dough breads. Whew!! Sounds complicated, but this isn’t my first rodeo with using a starter to create sourdough bread. Back in the 60’s I was a hippie chick and we hugged trees, recycled, reused and cooked a lot from scratch which included making my own bread. But throughout the ensuing 40 years or so, I discarded my starter so I am beginning anew. Some sour dough starters have been maintained for 100 years, passed down through generations. I myself shared portions of my starter with friends and family way back when…

I have two different concoctions growing right now from two different book recipes. One was simple to mix and only requires that I stir it once daily for five days. This recipe came from the Tassajara Bread Book…1 tablespoon dry yeast, 2 1/2 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 1/2 cups flour mixed together, covered and left to brew for five days.

Active yeast development

The second comes from the Bread Alone book by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnik. This starter recipe is slightly more labor intensive but still easy. 1/2 cup spring water, 2/3 cups stone ground rye flour and less than 1/16 teaspoon yeast (pinch). Combine, scrape down sides and cover with tightly fitting lid. This process is repeated (minus the yeast ingredient) for 4 days. I am on day 3 as I write this. From this rye “chef” I should be able to make a rye sourdough starter. Both of these recipes are not labor intensive but do require a small amount of time daily to continue the growth or fermentation.

My quest is to make bread from each of these two starters and thus determine which one I want to continue to use and which one will be unceremoniously dumped down the drain.

Each day and with each feed it gains strength and vitality

More of this experiment later…


One thought on “Sour Dough Beginnings

  1. I can’t help but remember that bread starter you had as a “hippie chick” (noticing the pun on word chick) in those early years and shared with me. I too, baked from that starter for a “long time”. It was perfect. I must say though I am soooooo glad you are persuing the rye bread trials; perhaps a little more yeast might help it along. Hang in there! LG


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