Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sourdough Start to the New Year

I knew I could get your attention. . . 

If you're going into the New Year and your familiarity with sourdough is the occasional store bought bread, you owe it to yourself to try the real thing.  There are as many starter recipes as there are cooks.  One that is popular is a sourdough starter made with mashed potatoes and potato water  from a well known celebrity chef.  A great recipe to be sure, but also much more labor intensive.

A number of other starters require one to constantly "feed" the starter, which results in a really distinct taste over time, but for those that may not bake regularly, or get all distracted out in the shop, your sourdough starter will end up as dead as your house plants and if you've used a recipe that takes a lot of time, you're not likely to start another one.
This recipe is easy enough that you can start one over easily, and with the help of the potato that jump starts the yeast, it ferments quite rapidly so you can make your bread just a day after you have started it, though longer time gives a more noticeable "sourdough" taste.

1 package (or cake) active dry yeast (not the instant)
4 cups warm spring water or quality tap water (my tap water tastes like someone soaked a deep sea diving suit in it).
3 tablespoons sugar
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I'm a fan of King Arthur' flour for general baking)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm (not hot) water (about 3 minutes), then stir in the sugar and the flour. To help feed the fermenting yeast  I add one medium sized Idaho potato, washed, peeled and cut into quarters. Place mixture in a pottery bowl, cover with a clean  kitchen towel and let stand  8-12 hours in a warm place, free from drafts, stirring occasionally. Then keep lightly covered and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.   If you do wish to "feed" the starter, rather than start the recipe over each time, replace used starter by adding equal parts flour and warm water with a couple teaspoons of sugar (i.e. for each two cups starter used, add in one cup flour, one cup warm water and the sugar).

Sourdough is obviously good for baked bread and biscuits, but it has other uses, a great batter for chicken fried steak (that recipe another day), waffles and corn bread.

Yes cornbread.  Sourdough Cornbread
It's got a slight tang and a much softer texture than regular cornbread while maintaining that tender crumb. 
Serve it with some HOTR King Ranch Chicken made with lime marinaded chicken, Penzey's Chili 9000 and Indiana's own Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke Hot Sauce.
Whatever the New Year has on your horizon, it can't hurt to face it with a really good meal.

7 comments:

  1. I love me some King Ranch Chicken!

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    Replies
    1. My husband polished off the leftovers like there was no tomorrow.

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  2. Now that is an easy start! How long have you kept it? Have you experimented with different types of potatoes?

    Merle

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    Replies
    1. Merle - this starter was about 3 years old, but it suffered an untimely end during the move from crash pad to home, so I'm starting a new batch now in the New Year. I only tried it with the one type of potato.

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    2. Merle - this starter was about 3 years old, but it suffered an untimely end during the move from crash pad to home, so I'm starting a new batch now in the New Year. I only tried it with the one type of potato.

      Delete
  3. Time to pull out my grandma's dough bowl! : )

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