Friday, July 17, 2015

My New Sourdough Bread Starter

Well, the short story is, I have a new bread starter!
And it works!

The somewhat longer story is… 

My old starter is still in the refrigerator, waiting to be revived after being dormant for so many months.

I got my old bread starter years and years ago from a neighbor who brought it back for me from her aunt in Tennessee.  It made awesome bread and rolls, very yeasty and not sour at all.

Did I treat my starter right?  Did I feed him regularly?  No, I’m afraid I did not.  And he always forgave me and woke up, happy to have dinner.

But now it’s been so long that I don’t know if I can revive my old bread starter.  I was afraid that this would happen someday.  L

That’s the bummer thing about having a precious starter that I don’t know how to make, and fearing that someday it will die and I wouldn’t have it anymore.  And I can’t get anymore from my neighbor--she moved back home to Tennessee.

Well!  I decided to forget about the old bread starter for the time being, and to make a new one.  I was given a bread starter recipe awhile back from a fellow knitter who said that came from her German mother-in-law.  I hadn’t ever tried making it before because my own starter worked beautifully and I just didn’t need it yet.

Did I already own a good starter recipe and not even know it?  I had to try it.  After all, I reasoned, what if this recipe worked out just fine??  Then I wouldn’t even have to worry about my old starter.  It wouldn’t be so precious after all.  That would be perfect!

So I set out to experiment..  I made the new bread starter last Tuesday, fed it according to the instructions, and put him in the refrigerator for a few days.  Then on Monday, I got it out, let it come up to room temperature, fed it and made dough with it that evening.

Tuesday morning I couldn’t wait to see if my dough had risen…
It had!  Yay!  Success!

I shaped the dough into rolls and let them rise all day.  Then that evening I baked them and of course brushed them with melted real butter when they came out of the oven!

Did they taste good?  Oh yes.  Did they taste as good as the rolls that I made with my Tennessee starter?  We think so.  Without a side-by-side comparision, it’s hard to be precise.  But did they taste “good enough” to be declared a success?  Oh yes.

And, if I’m reading things right on the Internet, as you use it and it ages, the flavor should develop and grow deeper and better.  So, yay!  Even better!

Will I ever try to revive my original starter?  Probably so.  I do enjoy a challenge.  But at least I don’t have to freak out if it never bubbles again.  (a sign of it feeding)  (the yeast expels carbon dioxide as it eats)

The main thing I really liked about my original bread starter is… besides the end result, that is!  LOL  -- the dough doesn’t stick to my hands.  It’s very easy to work with because of that.  I don’t have anything on my hands after shaping 28 rolls except oil.  With my new starter, I had all sorts of dough stuck all over my hands.  What a mess.

And I think it may be because the old starter has me feed it with a sugar+flour+instant potato flakes combination.  The new one doesn’t have any flour in it, which makes it very runny.  And that just has to change the ratio of things, adding something so watery when I make the dough.

So I imagine someday (okay, okay, someday probably very soon), I will make the new starter recipe with 1 c. flour added to it and see if that does the trick.

For now, though, I’m very happy to be independent and not having to rely on something that was given to me, something that I can’t get anymore.

Plus, when people would ask me for my bread recipe, I would have to tell them, I’ll give it to you, but I’ll have to give you a cup of my starter, too.  (That works okay for locals, but not so much for my long-distance friends.)

Now, I can just refer them to my blog.  I plan on posting the recipe for both the sourdough starter and the instructions on how to use it.

Oh, and even though the recipe steps are spread out over a 2-day period, they’re easy to do.  And the easiest part?  You don’t have to do ANY kneading!  Zip, zilch, zero!  Time does all the work for you.

Lucky Dog

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