Sourdough

Once again I’ve revived my Sourdough culture.  It’s so exciting!  Over the last few days it’s gone from being a dried out puck in a glass at the back of the fridge to being a living bubbling yummy-smelling goop that will make deee-licious bread!

I was inspired this time by The Urban Homestead, a fantastic book about growing your own food and generally being an eco-radical, in the heart of the city.  They made some great points about sourdough:

– Sourdough is cheap!  You don’t need to buy yeast or any fancy ingredients; just some good flour, salt and water, and a bit of extra time.

– Sourdough is healthy! Because it is slowly lacto-fermented, more nutrients from the grains become accessible than in regular yeast-risen bread.

– Sourdough is magical!  How else can you describe the alchemy of flour, water, invisible beasties, and time that creates good things to eat?

– Sourdough is old-school!  Bread is the most basic of foods, and thousands of years before yeast was isolated and made into little beige granules that you buy in a supermarket, it was the wild organisms in the flour and in the air that raised our bread.

I’ve cut my sourdough teeth with the help of Peter Reinhart‘s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and the rec.food.sourdough newsgroup.  Their somewhat scientific, but very reliable help file is available here.

So, the “firm starter” is rising . . . I’ll report back on my progress later today or tomorrow!

Update: I made the bread in one day, and it turned out very very tasty, but as flat as a shoe!  I’m a bit uncertain about this flour I have, which is called “white” but has the germ added back in (??) so it’s not truly white flour.  It never seems to quite “get there” when I’m kneading it, and then I’m afraid I’ve over kneaded it.  

Perhaps I just need to get used to it, but in the mean time I’m going to try to source out another organic bread flour.  If I can find one–this is the only kind I’ve seen in downtown Ottawa!

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