Remember how we started Get Skinny Saturdays a few weeks ago? Remember how I told you that there is no way on God’s green earth I am ever giving up carbs? Don’t worry, I’m still never giving up carbs.
But I am trying to be very careful lately about not eating white flour or white sugar.
It’s not as bad as it sounds because I have a WonderMill- magic, this thing is- and a gigantic 33 lb bucket of wheat berries in my pantry.
I also have my trusty honey wheat bread recipe.
And now I have the best thing of all!!!
It took a while to get started, but I have my very own sourdough starter. I have done this once before about ten years ago, but I didn’t stick with it very well and eventually I forgot to feed my starter and it died. Not this time!
Look at that gorgeous, bubbly mess!
I am in love with it.
I treat it like a pet.
A pet that I can use to make bread and pancakes.
The good news: All you need is flour and water and a little bit of patience. Once it is established, it will literally last you a lifetime. This is the way that people used to make bread way back when before there were grocery stores and commercial yeast available. The older it gets, the better it is, like wine.
The bad news: It takes at least a week to get started and you are going to have to throw half of it away every day during that time. If you forget to feed it, it will die. ::sad trombone::
- Use a glass container. It really has to be glass so no chemicals leech in and so that you can see the sides. I started mine in a 2 cup mason jar.
- Mix 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of very warm water in the jar. My flour was hard white wheat ground on the pastry setting in the WonderMill. I always sift my flour before using it.
- Stir it well and scrape down the sides.
- Cover it loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
- Keep it in a warm place, away from drafts. Mine just sits on the kitchen counter. Do not refrigerate it yet.
- Every day for the first week you are going to pour half of your starter in the trash can. It is sad, but necessary. There might be a layer of liquid on the top. That is okay. Just pour it off at this stage. We’re getting the yuckies out. (That’s the scientific term, obviously)
- After you discard half of the starter, feed it with 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of warm water. I find that it works best to bring some water to a boil, then let it cool slightly so that it is still very warm, but not hot enough to kill the starter. Sometimes I just skip that step and use hot tap water, but boiling the tap water first really does seem to benefit the starter.
- Do this every day for at least a week.
- After a week, your starter should start to double in size after each feeding. You might have to move it to a bigger container. (I now keep mine in a quart-sized measuring cup. I like keeping it in a container with markings on the side so that I can keep track of the growth.) Once it has doubled in size several days in a row, you can start to use it.
- Keep it on the counter for at least a month, feeding it every day.
- Discard one cup every day and continue to feed the starter with 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. (Otherwise it will keep growing and get out of hand) After the first week, you no longer need to throw away the portion you discard, you can start to use it in recipes or give it to a friend so that she can start using it. The older it gets, the more flavorful your recipes will be.
- After a month, you can store it in the refrigerator and it will stay dormant. You will need to feed it at least once a week to keep it alive.
- Transfer it to a clean container weekly.
Cool Things I Learned About Sourdough:
- It is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It is believed to have started in Ancient Egypt.
- Sourdough starter was considered to be just as important to a miner as his rifle during the Alaska Gold Rush.
- There are Amish recipes that use sugar and potato flakes to make starter. My aunt makes bread with one of these recipes and it is delicious, but since I’m avoiding white sugar right now, I’m going with the traditional route. All you truly need is flour and water. After all, 3,500 years ago they didn’t have refined white sugar, but they could still make sourdough.
- Creating Naturally has put together a great series about sourdough.
- It is easier to digest. Many people who are gluten intolerant do not have issues digesting true sourdough bread. (Bread made the traditional way, not the kind you buy at the grocery store that has chemicals in it.)
- My kids LOVE sourdough pancakes. I wasn’t sure how they would go over because they taste more like bread, they are not as sweet as regular pancakes, but Abby ate FOUR gigantic whole wheat sourdough pancakes this morning. I’ll post that recipe soon.
Let me know if you try it.
And if you have any sugar free sourdough recipes, please share! (Otherwise, I have just been substituting honey.)