Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Going wild

Ok, so the blog got of to a really slow start due to me moving from my student apartment to my parents to live the life of a parasitic bum while I search for that dream job. Anyhow, I’m all settled in now and I can start to take over the kitchen like the megalomaniac dictator I sometimes turn into.

First of, some basics: No sourdough starter….what is this *shaking my head*. Oh well I guess that isn’t really a standard item for most, but it should be! It’s easy to make and HALLO those wild yeasties give great rise and a certain zing to nice things like baguettes, toast or fruitbreads YUM!

Ok, so wild yeast are floating around everywhere. Actually, it’s really fascinating; every strain of wild yeast is different and so will bring different flavour to the bred depending on where you are in the world. To harness the awesome power of these free roaming microorganisms (doesn’t that sound tasty ;) we need three things; water, flower and time. Now some people might say they don’t have time, but they are mistaken. Sure, building your starter base is going to take you four-five days but most of that time your starter can be left all alone without your supervision.

Here we go. To set your yeast trap find yourself a container of some sort. I used a plastic bucket type thing which I guess would hold a litre of water (guess that is about two pints of liquid). This is hardly ideal, and I personally prefer a glass jar so I can watch the action. The volume is pretty good though since the starter is going to rice about seven times its original size.

Wheat starter

Day 1

In your container whisk the ingredients into a smooth paste:

  • 200g of water (here in Sweden we have great water from the tap but if the stuff coming out of your tap is full of chlorine and other killers then use bottled since we don’t want any chemicals to kill the yeast that dive into our slurry)
  • 150g of flour (try to use organic stone ground flower because it contains more natural goodness which will give you a better sourdough)

Put the lit or plastic wrap on (but not air tight) and let your yeast spa sit, in a not to warm (about 18-20°C or 64-68 F) dark place, for two days.

Day 3

  • Add 100g of water and 80g of flour, and put it back for another day.

Day 4

  • Repeat the day 3 step and let the starter sit for yet another day and then your ready to bake.

This will produce more starter than you are likely to need for a single bakesession. This is good since we don’t want to repeat this process every time we want to make bread. The leftovers can be easily stored in a sealable container in your fridge, and when your ready to bake again reanimate your starter a day in advance by adding water and flour until it reaches the consistency of a pancake batter and leaving our container in room temperature.

Some of you readers (if there are any) might have noticed my use of grams, this is because baking is a bit of a science and although this starter can be made freehand once you have the feel for it, bread should always be made by measuring the ingredients. However for you people that wants to stick to measuring with cups and all those things 100g of water is one dl and 150g of flour is about 2.5dl. if your not on the metric system and don’t want to go convert the numbers yourself just leave me a comment and I’ll post this and continuing information in that other strange system, which is only used by the US, Liberia and Myanmar ;)

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