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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wild Yeast Sourdough Bread Starter

I received the book, Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery, from a friend some time ago. About a month ago I finally decided to open and read it. I love reading cookbooks! I retread some so many times that I can't count. I don't really consider myself a baker but more of cook. Baking's just too methodical and precise. I love cooking from feeling & taste so I haven't done a whole lot with breads.

After a couple of pages of this book I was completely intrigued. Nancy talks about how the yeast and bread are alive and even react off your emotions, your house and your love. I like the sound of that!! All it takes is flour and water and the right conditions.

I also looked up several sites online about starting a wild yeast starter. Each one completely varies from the other. I used Nancy's book as a guideline but I did my own thing (of course). The results were amazing too.

So, here's what I did but read up on all the different ways that it can be done. That way you can create a system that works the best for you. Even the recipes to make the bread after you grow your starter varies.

4 cups lukewarm water
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 gallon pitcher
Wooden spoon
Heating pad

I mixed together the flour and water in my pitcher. You can use hands or a spoon. I put my heating pad near the mixture because my house is kinda cold. The ideal room temperature is between 70 F and 75 F.  Make sure the pitcher is clean. Put lid securely on pitcher.

On Day 2 & 3 there should be some bubbling even doubling in size from the gases. It will have a strong aroma.

Day 4. Feed the culture 1 cup flour and 1 cup lukewarm water and stir. Recover.

Day 5 - 9. Just check on it daily. A yellow liquid top layer will appear. That's called the 'hooch'. If mold appears, skim off promptly and give the mixture more flour & water (1 cup each). Mine didn't need this.

Day 10. This is the day that the culture begins it's process to turn into a starter. Mix the mixture well and pour off all but 2 cups. Put in a container at least 6 quarts big. You must be ready to feed & nurture your starter for the next 4 days!!

You will feed it three times a day about 4-6 hours apart.

1st - 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 1/4 cup flour, stir, recover
2nd - 2 cups lukewarm water, 2 1/2 cups flour, stir, recover
3rd - 4 cups lukewarm water, 5 cups flour, stir, recover

Each day you then pour off everything but 2 cups.

Day 15. Baking day. Your starter should be ready to go. It will have a pleasant, yeasty smell and have bubbles forming in it. You will use 2 cups of the starter to bake. Set aside 2 cups to maintain the starter. The rest you can dump or give to friends. I put my starter in a gallon ziplock and stuck it in the fridge. It will make my starter dormant until I want to use it again.

Next posts:
Baking Bread from your wild yeast starter
Maintaining your wild yeast starter

Link to Small Footprint Friday Link-up


  1. Replies
    1. I am baking my second loaf today! This one rose way faster than the first time. I am hooked!!


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