“A Journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.”
Whenever I start a new project I like to reflect on this quote just before I plunge ahead. Most of the time I will spend countless hours planning, doing research and worrying over all the details, but there comes a time when you must start. Most of the time all my planning can be derailed by a simple but not accounted for circumstance. Okay, sometimes I forgot to think about one thing or another but as I begin the journey and get down the road a bit, things become clearer and necessary course corrections are easily made.
And so it is with sourdough. As much art as it is a science, you must gather your materials and equipment, some recipes, a “can do” attitude and just begin. There are many different methods, recipes, suggestions, tips and techniques in books, the internet and from your all knowing friends and family. Many make sense, some can be attributed to old wives tales or the phases of the moon, so don’t think you must treat your sourdough as old Uncle Wily dictates. My starter comes from a good friend and this starter has been in his family for around 80 years. He absolutely shutters when I tell him how I feed my starter and make my sourdough because I weigh everything and follow my recipes to the letter while he subscribes to the old school method of a little bit of this, a pinch of that and oh well, I forgot that, let’s see how it comes out. Once I’ve worked my sourdough for a few years, (I’m thinking maybe 10 years) I too should be able to chuck the recipes and create truly original creations of sourdough greatness. So if you are still with me, let’s begin.
“In the beginning…”
There are two steps that can happen at the same time. First, you need a kitchen with basic cooking equipment and an oven/stove that can maintain a constant cooking temperature. There are lots of cool accessories and tools that can make your adventure easier and less stressful. We will cover many of these as we go along, but you can start with basic stuff. The second step is to secure a sourdough starter. Don’t get your starter before you know you are ready to bake something. I’ve given starter to well meaning friends and family and they just weren’t ready to take care of this new pet. There‘s the rub, sourdough starter should be considered a new household pet. It needs care and feeding or it will die. The good news is you can forget about it for a few days to a month if it is in the refrigerator and when you remember it, you can nurse it back to health. In order to get you going right away, there will be another section on what is sourdough starter and why is it so good for us.
Getting Sourdough Starter
There are several web sites that sell starters and even one where they give their starter away. The absolute best way is to cozy up to a friend or family member that has been working with sourdough for a while. They will be a great resource and will share their favorite recipes as well as some of their well maintained starter. Unfortunately, there are not as many sourdough cooks these days. That is the great focus of this effort to provide instructions and a place to discuss our successes as well as our failures in order to create a whole new generation of folks that can scratch together some wonderful, wholesome bread with just a few basic ingredients. Most breads can be made with starter, flour, a little bit of salt and water. That’s it! No chemicals, ingredients you can’t pronounce and you will know when the bread was made and where it came from.
Get starters here: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/sourdough-starter.html
Make it Happy, Make it Sour!