Sour Dough Starter

The foundation of a simple diet begins with homemade bread.  Beginning bread with a sour dough starter is the way to go for daily, reliable and affordable breadbaking that can even be handled by young (responsible!) daughters from the age of 8 and up.  Here is our recipe that is used daily in our kitchen.

Sour Dough Starter

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups white flour

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water.  Add flour and stir until well blended.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Allow the mixture to sit in a warm place (about 80 degrees) for 3 days.  (a warm kitchen or a stove with the pilot light on works well).  Stir twice a day.
  • The mixture will rise at first and then separate.  A yeasty smelling grayish liquid will rise to the top (called hootch) and a heavier paste will be on the bottom.  Just stir them back in together and don’t worry about the grayish color of the liquid–it’s working!
  • The starter is ready to use after 3 days.  It can be stored in a glass, ceramic or plastic container with a lid that is not fastened tightly.  This is very important.  The bubbling yeast could explode the jar if the lid is put on tightly!  (We store our starter in a mason jar in the back of the refrigerator covered by a coffee filter fastened on with a rubber band.)

There are a couple of important things you need to know about this starter:

  • Always replace what was taken out.  This can be done in a couple of ways.  After some starter is used, add equal amounts of flour and water back to the jar to replace what was taken or after letting the sponge sit overnight, take out one cup and add it back into the starter in the morning.  The amount of starter can be doubled by adding 2 cups of warm water and 2 cups of flour and letting the jar sit in a warm place overnight.
  • Use the starter at least every 2 weeks.  Remember that yeast is alive and needs to “eat”.  It’s food is the flour added to the starter.  If fresh flour is not added often, it will basically starve to death!  If the starter isn’t used often, feed the yeast by adding 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup flour and letting it sit in a warm place overnight.

What to do with the starter?  The answer is coming next!

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