Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Great Sourdough Experiment

I fed Virgil again last night, so I'd be ready to make another batch of Grace's Sourdough Bread. This morning, I mixed up the bread, but realized something. Virgil is about to outgrow his jar! I was sure I couldn't feed him again in the same jar, so I decided I needed to use another cup or so before I put him back in the fridge.

I was all set to peruse Grace's scrumptious recipes for muffins or bread or whatever-caught-my-eye. Then Number One suggested something.

Number One suggested I use Virgil as a base, a starter if you will, for another, different sourdough starter. MaryJane's traditional sourdough starter...intriguing, I know. The recipe below is from MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook.

I substituted Virgil where MaryJane calls for water. Number One's theory is since Virgil is already alive and working, MaryJane's starter will be that much better and faster, and may just yield a more traditional sourdough flavor. We shall see...

I hope regular whole wheat flour will suffice--I didn't have access to organic or "bread" flour of the whole wheat variety. I haven't decided if I will add water to the starter during the first 6 days or more Virgil. I do have until tomorrow to think about it.

MaryJane's Sourdough Starter
2 cups organic whole-wheat bread flour, plus 2 cups for adding
1 1/2 cups purified water (aka Virgil), plus 1 1/2 cups for adding

Place flour and water in a clean glass jar or bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover with a cloth and keep it handy on your kitchen counter. Each day, mix in an additional 1/4 cup water and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. This needs to be done for six days. On the seventh day, the starter will be ready. It should have bubbles and smell pleasantly sour, like stout beer.

Keeping Your Starter Alive
You must refresh your starter every seven days. Remove one cup of starter to use in a sourdough recipe, then replenish the remaining starter by adding 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour. It will then need to grow for at least 12 hours before you borrow from it again. If you can't use your starter every 7 days, get a friend hooked on sourdough by giving them one cup of your starter.


grace said...

that's a really interesting idea! i'm very curious to see how it turns out. good for you, min, and number one! :)

Dee said...

You make it sound so easy! No pineapple juice, no four-hourly feeds, no pumpernickel flour... I'm sold!

Min said...

Oh Dee, it is sooo easy! Science, schmience, just go for it! And come back and let us know!

Once you've "started," you might like to try our other fabulous sourdough recipes. (and be sure to check out Grace’s recipes too, she's a sourdough master!)

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