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Sourdough is it

I have to laugh at myself for thinking that keeping a sourdough starter on hand would be too complex and time consuming. It’s neither!

And the photo here illustrates the high rise this type of “starter” can provide for baked goods. Since I’ve had no experience with sourdough in the past, I still used commercial yeast in this loaf, too. In a few days I’ll try using just the sourdough starter. I think it will work fine!

Here’s the super simple sourdough starter recipe:

½ cup flour (any variety)

1/3 cup water (use filtered water or allow your water to sit on the counter overnight so the chlorine evaporates)

Don’t skimp on the water or your mixture will be too dry and not ferment properly.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the flour and water. Do NOT use a metal spoon. Silicone or wood is preferred.

Once mixed, place the flour/water in a glass container. A quart jar works very well. Wide mouth is ideal but regular mason jar works, too.

Cover the jar with either a paper towel or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band or the jar ring. I used a screen that fit inside my jar lid. You just have to keep the jar open so the fermentation can progress.

Leave the mixture sit for 24 hours. Then, on day 2 and 3, remove ½ cup of the starter (this should be about ½ of what’s in the jar). Store the starter you removed in a covered container in the refrigerator. Replace it with another well mixed batch of ½ cup flour, 1/3 cup water. Continue to store at room temperature.

On days 4-5-6, you can “feed” the starter 2x/day, removing half of it and using the same ½ cup flour and 1/3 cup water to replace it. On day 7, the starter will be ready to use to bake bread.

Use half the starter in your bread recipe (I will share mine next week), feed it and store it in the refrigerator. At this point you only need to feed it once per week if you’re not using any of it.

As you remove half the starter those first few days, you can use it in recipes such as pancakes or muffins. Here’s a delicious pancake recipe for two. If you need to make more of them, you can easily double this recipe. These were not only delicious but filling and made an awesome low-cost breakfast!

1 c. flour

¾ t baking powder

¼ t baking soda

¼ t salt

2 T sugar

2/3 c buttermilk (I use a powdered version)

½ c sourdough (let it come to room temperature or sit out overnight)

1 egg, beaten

2 T butter, melted

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix the buttermilk, sourdough, egg and butter. Combine the two mixtures. Take about ¼ cup batter per pancake as these really raise high and become thick. Cook until bubbly on top; flip and finish cooking. Top with syrup, honey, etc.

Over the coming weeks, I will share additional sourdough recipes and insights I gain through this venture.

Longtime journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!” and regularly shares recipes and information about bread baking on her website, www.bakeyourbestever.com.

You’ll find her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and at www.bakeyourbestever.com. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at “Mother Earth Living,” “Grit Magazine,” Facebook (Secrets to Baking Your Best Ever), Twitter @bakeyourbestever and Pinterest at “Secrets to Baking Your Best Bread Ever.”

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