How to Create and maintain a Bread Starter
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So how do you create and maintain a bread starter? is it as easy as it really sounds? Can anyone do it? The answer… Yes!
Where was the first starter culture discovered?
Bread making has been around for thousands of years and it will never go away, but how long have we been using a starter? The earliest I could find was around 1500 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Some historians believe that the bakers in ancient Egypt came across this find by simply leaving dough out overnight and coming back to find that it had risen over the time. So technically the Egyptians were the first to discover sourdough!
The “Mother dough”
Some bread artisans call their starters the “Mother Dough” why? Well you see the starter is an ongoing process of yeast eating the flour and water as a nutrient. As the yeast eats it basically farts out carbon dioxide, but that’s not what makes it sour! don’t worry you don’t have yeast farts in your bread! The actual starter turns sour as time goes on from lactic acid bacteria.
You can begin to smell the sour around day 3-4 depending on the type of flour you are using. As you begin to incorporate the sour starter into your bread recipes you only want to use so much. The culture of yeasts will provide a taste of sour and rise your bread enough with just a cup! Plus, who wants to start over every three days?
This is where the term “Mother Dough” comes from because you always just use a little bit, after you return her to the container and feed it to double your initial amount.
So, as you begin to use your starter remember to only use what you can spare if you are in a bread baking mood all day you better make sure you have enough starter to not exhaust your resources.
How to Create a Bread Starter
So, you may have begun thinking that you want to start baking your own bread instead of using the grocery stores loafs. What better way to find out How to create and maintain a bread starter than from someone who has done it? Let’s be honest what’s the tastiest way to save a little money than to just dedicate 1 day a week to baking a loaf for yourself and family.
You cannot begin until you have a suitable starter culture though so how do you make one?
1 Cup Flour and 1 Cup Water
Try out this bread flour! it is highly recommended by many different chefs!
What?! Is it really that simple?!
Yes, yes, it is. I also decided to add about a Tablespoon of dry-active Yeast to my original concoction just to kind of give it a jump start.
If you want to purchase a 1-pound bag of active-dry yeast click here, I also store the open container of yeast in the freezer, so it doesn’t spoil.
How to Maintain your Bread starter
It seriously takes only 5 minutes to feed your new starter. What I do is I weigh out how much starter I have obviously tare out the weight of the container. you take that weigh and divide that by 1/2. and mix the starter and starter feed together.
So, you have 100g of starter? add 50g filtered water and 50g of flour.
you have 1 Cup of starter? Add 1/2 Cup of filtered water and 1/2 Cup of flour.
Note: Weight is more accurate. So, if you are interested click here to purchase a great scale, electronic is the best and this one is waterproof!
After feeding your starter I will cover it with a cheese cloth to prevent unwanted mixes with substances and allow the starter to breathe.
Does it matter what flour I use?
No, absolutely not. although I have read that bleached flour is harder to start the culture because the chemical process is initially used to kill microbes not sustain them. I recommend King Arthur unbleached flour; it is also recommended by many other chefs!
I started my bread starter with all-purpose bleached flour, and I had no problem. Over time though I have transitioned over to using a Wheat flour and maybe down the road I will transition to a Rye flour because I have only heard great things about Rye.
How to store and keep your starter alive
As time goes on the little culture of yeasts and other microbes become more complex. The flavor changes as its placement location changes. Changing flours will change the tastes. So how does one keep the starter alive?
Wait a second, it can die?
Yes, it can. The culture is a living breathing organism and it will die if you don’t take the proper precautions to keep it alive. Don’t worry its incredibly easy.
step 1: Feed your starter and refrigerate it for a week.
Step 2: Pull your starter out and feed again, let it sit for 8 hours. 24 hours before you need to use it for another recipe.
If you plan on taking a vacation and are worried about the culture dyeing freeze it! or if you can you are welcome to dehydrate it on a flat surface and crumble that up into chips. If you need to use it again simply add it to the water part of the feeding process before mixing it all together.
I hope this helps you on how to create and maintain a bread starter no get out there and become the bread artisan you always wanted to be because it is incredibly easy to have a bread starter of your own. Be your own baker and create complex and great tasting loafs for the whole family!
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