Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sour Dough Starter

Because I was soooo happy with my homemade English muffins, I decided that the next thing I want to try is to make my own sourdough starter. Years ago, when I worked in non-profit environmental management, someone gave me a wonderful sourdough starter in a gallon-size plastic bag. We used it for a few years before it got trashed when we moved from Lake Placid to Jay, but sourdough bread is still some of my favorite bread.

The book that contained the recipe for the English muffins has a fabulous section on breads and bread dishes, and the directions for sourdough starter looked so easy! So, off I went, measuring the temperature of the water and measuring out the yeast and flour.

I put everything in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap, just like the directions said. As to putting it in a mildly warm (about 74 degrees F) place, that was kinda hard, since we don't use air conditioning in this house, and the whole place is about 85 degrees right now.

I guess I should have read those directions a little more carefully, since it specified a two quart glass dish. I walked away for about forty five minutes and came back to discover THIS.

The blob! The Sourdough Starter That Ate Jay! Whatever it was, the stuff just totally took off and was pouring out the bowl, as I watched! I guess the yeast is good!

I scooped out as much as I could from off of the plastic wrap (I hate that stuff - whoever invented it should be killed) and put it in a much bigger, deeper glass bowl. I stuck it in a darker, hopefully cooler, part of the kitchen, where it still sits, bubbling and frothing its little heart out.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I'm getting so pumped to try my hand at baked goods, I've started scouring websites like Pampered Chef and Amazon, looking for baking stones and springform tart pans. I've read the recipes for breads in this cookbook so many times, I feel like I've got them memorized.

And just in case anyone is wondering which book I'm using, it's this one:

This was one of the first vegetarian cookbooks I bought when I decided to go totally veg. It's a wonderful book, with loads of easy (and not so easy) recipes. Diana Shaw's Essential Vegetarian Cookbook has been a fabulous friend to me these last ten years. I used many of the recipes when I was pregnant with Colden, and I think what I like best about it is that the ingredients she calls for in this book are things that I keep around the house pretty much all the time.

So, now I just need to be patient for another four or five days while the sourdough starter starts, and then this weekend, I'll be dipping into it to make a few loaves of our own crusty sourdough bread!

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