If you follow my Instagram account, you will have seen that I started a sourdough starter about a week and a half ago.
This was quite the learning experience! I had NO IDEA that you could just start the starter without yeast. Since I am a big fan of King Arthur Flour, I used the method on their website. I started out following the recipe exactly. After the first 24 hours, I had the picture below:
After that, I kind of fell off the wagon a bit with following the directions exactly. For the first few days, I fed the “beast” twice a day. I discarded all but 4 ounces and added 1/2 cup water and just short of 4 ounces of flour and then let it sit out. The recipe states that by day 7 it will be ready… well… it took about 10 days for mine to get ready. After the 5th or 6th day, I thought all was lost, so I started feeding it less often, only once a day. On day 9, the magic happened!! It started to rise and bubble – the “beast” is alive! So for the next two days I kept feeding it once a day.
After doing some more reading, I realized that since we keep our house at about 68 degrees, this is probably why it took longer to get the “beast” going. So, if yours it taking it’s sweet time, don’t fret.
Today I baked my first sourdough loaf in the breadmaker and to my surprise it actually tastes like sourdough, but better because I MADE IT! There is a sense of accomplishment that I started the “beast” from just flour and water and took care of it and fed it and now it grew up into a nice sourdough loaf. Yum.
After I added the “beast” to the breadmaker pan, I was a bit scared that I had taken too much and ruined it, but I fed it just like I had before and it rose nicely. Now, the “beast” is sitting in the refrigerator waiting for the next time I make some sourdough treats. I will be following the directions here to maintain my starter. This will be an adventure.
For my first loaf of sourdough, I decided to start working with the recipe that is in the instruction booklet that comes with the breadmaker. I improvised on the amount of starter so I will post what I actually did.
I found the finished product to be dense, but in a good way. It had a good sourdough flavor so I was pretty proud of myself that it actually tasted like sourdough! It made for really good sandwich bread. My only tweak is that for next time instead of setting the machine for “medium” crust, I will set it for “dark” crust as I thought it could have used a bit more crunch on the outside.
Classic Sourdough (1.5 lb loaf)
- 6 oz starter
- 1/2 cup + 2 tsp warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cup + 2 tbsp bread flour
- 1/4 tsp yeast
Put all the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed above. Start the machine. Use the “crusty loaf” setting if you have it.