Sourdough 101

I made the decision - I am going to bake with my sourdough starter! There are bubbles all the way to the bottom, and it has risen convincingly... ish. Just in case, I have fed the starter again and left it on the bench. If tomorrow's bread doesn't work out, I can always make another loaf the next day, and so on and so on until we have perfection in a loaf...

Posy put a moustache on my sourdough baby. No, I don't know why. Would you look at the bubbles on this baby, after just twelve hours. It's going crazy.

After looking all over the web world of sourdough, I have decided to use this recipe, solely because it features a bread sponge, and I have wondered for years what one of those was. They feature in old novels, when the thrifty housewife sets her bread in the evening for the morning's baking. Even yesterday, reading Swords and Crowns and Rings by Ruth Park (love her novels, read them, read them), the camp cook in a drover's camp sets his bread in a Dutch oven overnight to be ready for baking in the morning. I never realised until I started this little baking project that everyone made sourdough bread until recently. Baker's yeast is such a modern phenomenon.

So here is a 'sponge'. This recipe uses a cup of starter, three cups of flour, one and a half cups of water, all mixed together. Here it is when I mixed it.

And here it is, two hours later. One bubble!

I know, such excitement. I can't think why anyone is still reading, except out of sheer kindness.

When I go to bed, it will go in the fridge, and tomorrow morning, when everyone has gone out, and I have cleared up all the mess, I will start kneading, then letting it rise. I do have to go out twice, so I hope it isn't at any critical point. I am hoping it will rise, and I won't have a very flat loaf to show you tomorrow night. Or a burnt one. Or one that is so acidic it is inedible...

Fingers crossed!


Anonymous said…
I already made the vinegar bricks so it's up to you to have a loaf that rises and is edible ;). Fingers crossed and can't wait to see how it goes. It might not have all that much "lift" yet and if that is the case, maybe you should start making muffins, pancakes etc. from the excess starter each day? They are much easier to get to behave until your starter is 100% happy and ready to rumble. Good luck with your loaf today and here's hoping that it is both risen AND edible :)
Anonymous said…
Rye flour is the best for making starter as there seems to be something in it that just promotes bubbles and wild yeasts.
I've been baking sourdough for about 2 years now and I still get frequent failures. It's usually as hard as a rock. *sigh* Still tastes great though and the kids love it. We just end up eating 1 slice each for breakfast instead of 2 (used to be 4 of the supermarket fluff bread). Best of luck.
As for yeast, it is very new and not so good for us. I'm reading a book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (read it read it! ;) ) and she has little positive to say about bakers yeast and raves about wild yeasts. I still have yeast here for those last minute "oh crap I have visitors so lets make scrolls" moments.
Jo said…
Fran and Jessie, this morning my starter has foamed up enormously! I think I may have jumped the gun by a day. Rats! Still, I'll make the loaf today and see how it goes. I have friends with chickens if the worst happens...
And Jessie, I have that book on my list of must-reads. Will crack on and get my hands on a copy.
Jen's Busy Days said…
Jo, you can borrow my copy. Great read but not a regular reference here.

Best wishes,
Jen in NSW
Still reading... It's like catching up with a friend. And I know I'm known for my tangential flights of fancy on my blog, any wonder anyone comments when I weight trash weekly!! I hope the bread worked, as I've said, i'm not use in this :p
Jo said…
Jen, thanks hon! Such a sweetie. A friend round the corner has a copy that I have been promised... whenever I get a minute to walk around the corner!
Sarah, thanks for still reading. Even though photos of sourdough bubbling must be the back end of boring!

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