in Bread, How to

Sourdough

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sourdough

I am a huge fan of bread, and since I moved to Denmark I have really learned new skills in bread making.  One of my new passion is sourdough bread, I love the taste as I think it is more complex than in a “ordinary” bread. The sourdough also contains the bacteria Lactobacillus in a higher proportion than in other breads. And what does that mean? More mineral availability and easier digestion as the fermentation process increases the content of beneficial bacteria …… Healthy bacteria = healthy body.

When making a sourdough bread you first need to make a sourdough starter and that takes about 5 days, it is depending in the conditions in your kitchen and the flour you use. Each day you “feed” your starter with flour and water. As it grows stronger it will come more bubbly and sour-smelling. As long as you see bubbles and signs of yeast activity everything is good and you should just continue feeding it.

Once it reaches that frothy, billowy stage, the starter is ready for use.

Flour

You can use almost any flour, provided it is a grain-based flour for making a sourdough starter. As that said I have to say that for me it has absolutely worked best to use ecological stone ground flour. I typically use much more whole grain and spelt flour so I have two types of sourdough starter, one from rye and one from spelt. I have also tried using non ecological but I have to say that the result was not that good.

Water

This really depends on where you live and what the water quality is. Chlorine kills the bacteria and yeasts which are important to keep a healthy starter, so maybe it would be a good idea to use filtered water if you have a high level of chlorine in your tap water.

 

Day 1: Make the initial starter

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Water

Measure the flour and water, and combine in a container with lid ( I used a glass jar). Stir until combined and smooth, it should look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover with the lid or plastic wrap. It is a good idea to keep your starter somewhere with a consistent room temperature, the top of your refrigerator is a good idea, window shell is a bad idea.

 
Day 2: Feed the starter

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Water

Take you starter and give it a look. You may see a few bubbles here and there, and that is a good sign. Don’t despair if you don’t see it, depending on the conditions in your kitchen you starter might be a bit slow.

So measure the flour and the water and combine with your starter, stir until smooth batter. Put in it’s place and leave for 24 hours.

 
Day 3: Feed the starter

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Water

Today you take your starter and the surface should look a little dotted with bubbles and it should look a little larger in volume. If you stir it you can hear bubbles pop and it feels a little thicker, it should also smell a little sour. Again if it doesn’t quite feel and look like that don’t give up maybe it needs a little more time.

A good rule is that your starter should be the 50% and the feeding 50%. Well, it’s necessary for three reasons. First, unless you discard, eventually you’ll end up with too much starter. Second, keeping the starter volume the same helps balance the pH. And third, keeping the volume down offers the yeast more food to eat each time you feed it; it’s not fighting with quite so many other little yeast cells to get enough to eat. You don’t have to discard it if you don’t want to; you can give it to a friend, or use it to bake. There are quite a few recipes where you can use “discard” starter.

Now you throw away half of your starter and put the measured water and the flour in, and stir. Scrape down the sides and cover loosely with lid or plastic wrap. Put in it’s place and leave for 24 hours.

 
Day 4: Feed the starter

1 cup Flour

1/2 cup Water

Check your starter and it should be looking bubbly with large and small bubbles, and have doubled in volume. If you stir, it will feel looser. It should smell quite sour and if you taste it, it should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.

Throw away half your starter and add the measured flour and water. Stir well, scrape the sides and cover loosely with lid or plastic wrap. Put in it’s place and leave for 24 hours.

Day 5: Starter is ready for use

Today check your starter, it should have doubled in volume since yesterday and should be looking very bubbly. If you stir it, it should feel looser and it should be smelling quite sour. It should taste more sour and vinegary.

If everything is looking, smelling and tasting right you can consider your starter ready for use.

If your starter needs more time just keep in repeating day 4 until you have reached the starter you are satisfied with.

 
Day 5 and beyond: Maintaining your starter.

If you are using your starter within the next couple of days, just keep it on you counter but remember to keep throwing away half and feeding with water and flour daily. If there is going to be a longer time until you use it, it is best to close it tightly and keep it in the fridge. Remember if you keep it in the fridge you have to take it out once a week to feed it and then let it sit overnight on the counter before putting it back in the fridge.

When you decide to use you starter for baking simply take it out of the fridge one day before, use the amount you need and then feed it , leave it on the counter overnight and then back in the fridge.

 

 

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