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There is no secret to a great sourdough starter, we are not creating the yeast or sourdough starter, we are cultivating the yeast by creating an environment in which the yeast will not only survive but thrive.

 The starter on the left is a combination of scalded milk fresh ground whole wheat flour and to ensure a good start a hand full of local hard spring wheat berries, the thought here is to promote the local variety of yeast that grows on the whole berry to grow in our starter, after all, it's the regional flavor were looking for.

It is also thought, no matter where the starter comes from the local yeast variety will eventually take over the colony, so we stick with local fungi.


The fastest and easiest way to make the sourdough starter is to use yeast, some call it cheating, others will say its not a true sourdough starter, I say it is an inexpensive way to produce yeast, and its fresh! Once you get this going you will never need another bag of dry yeast again.

1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 pack dry yeast

Feed it often, as much as twice a day, it will be a fast and aggressive starter, your bread will rise to match any dry yeast, this will give you a fast rising dough with no sour flavor, depending on your feeding style the sourdough starter may pick up some distinct flavor as it ages, remember to give it a chance to sour if you like the sour in sourdough bread keep the mix thin & at room temperature.

 


The sourdough starter images above
Top image, straight from the refrigerator
Bottom image, 1 hour later then feed
With 1/2 cup scalded milk and 1 cup whole wheat flour.


Feeding the sourdough starter

We do a lot of baking, bread, buns, biscuits & pizza, at any given time we have 2 gallons of starter available, the feeding process for the sourdough starter will differ for everyone, some like to feed it at its peak of activity, others at the bottom, some don't feed it at all they replenish it at each use with a fresh dough ball from the loaf. This is a small list of what we feed our sourdough starter, gluten (protein), fresh ground whole wheat, rye, molasses & fresh non citrus fruit, fruit will not add flavor but gives the yeast/sourdough starter carbohydrates to eat.


For the best flavor we have found if the starter is kept thin like a thin pancake batter the flavor is stronger and much easier to maintain. The thicker starter seems to be better as a rising agent with less flavor. Our active batch of sourdough starter is kept active all the time and fed 2 times daily.
The amount of starter you maintain depends on the amount of baking you do, when baking bread we use 10% to 50% starter the remainder flour, But sometimes as little as 1/2 cup sourdough starter to 8 cups of flour , We then replace the amount of sourdough starter used with whole-wheat flour & scalded milk to replenish the sourdough starter. The next baking time we use the 2nd batch of starter this gives the 1st batch a day to get going with 2 feedings.


The 2 loafs of bread above are our favorites with 2 very distinct flavors & textures, These breads are made with 2 different starters, one is the milk and flour, the other is the water and flour. with our trial and error method, we have found we can achieve a smoother tangier taste with the milk and flour mix, this may be attributed the the effort we put into the starter maintenance being a dairy product and the concern we have for spoilage, we watch the milk and flour mix more closely.
 

To start a sourdough starter

 1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1 hand full of local wheat berries
this one will fool you, after a day or so it will be full of bubbles and omitting gas, this is not yet the starter were wanting, a good guess would be its bacterium most likely from the wheat, feed it, and in a few more days you will start to get discouraged and start to think it has died off but, keep it stirred everyday it needs to breath the oxygen!, it could be 1 week or as long as 4 weeks, and if all has gone right a sweet smell will develop, with a clear liquid on the top (see 1st image on the top of page) at first it will be a very thin clear layer because your keeping it stirred, and bingo that's what were looking for, feed it again and give it time, let it rise again, after it doubles or there about, feed it again don't allow a new batch of sourdough starter to go hungry, feed with 1/2 cup scalded milk and flour make it like a thin pancake mix. if you fined that scalded milk is not for you, you can use water and flour to replenish with no harm caused.


Another way is to use flour and water and only flour and water. I have found this to be a slow process and relies on the yeast in the air and what may be in the flour, as this ages it seems to pick up strength and vigor and a nice sour flavor depending on your care.


Sandwich bread with a substance

 sourdough breads makes a great sandwich, hamburger & hotdogs  There are no rules or an end to the different styles of bread you can make.
If you don't like the sour make the French style,  no sour included, use the sourdough starter at it's peak feed twice a day keeping it thick, keep the sugar & starch level high, this will keep fermentation at its peak & will keep the sour at a minimum.

Sourdough starter is another faze in cooking and timing
is critical to achieve any particular flavor your looking for,
some store sourdough in the cooler and some don't, some feed and throw
the excess away, other's instead of feeding and throwing, use the
sourdough starter to make bread then replenish the starter and wait until
it's ripe enough to cook again. we all have our own style. Enjoy!

  Meet The Family

mushrooms, molds, morels, puffballs, smuts, truffles, yeasts
there are more but they don't stop by vary often.

 
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