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Kitchen Corner: Sourdough Starter

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Kitchen Corner: Sourdough Starter

On your marks! Get set! Bake! Learn all about making the ever-ambiguous sourdough starter.

Monday, November 17, is Homemade Bread Day. What better time to get inspired to make your very own sourdough starter?

This way you can combine delicious, delicious bread with nutritious, nutritious fermented loveliness.

Fermented foods

You’ve probably noticed an upsurge in fermented foods lately. Things such as kefir, kimchi, and sourdough breads are becoming more commonplace in supermarkets as well as natural health retailers. Eating the live bacteria, micro-organisms, and probiotics found within fermented foods can help to keep digestive and immune systems in tip-top condition. These all-round bacterial good guys even have anticarcinogenic properties.

Getting started

But how to make a sourdough starter? It’s a bit of an ambiguous term that can seem a little scary. Does it come from fruit? Yogurt? Does someone need to pass one down to you like an heirloom? There are many ways to make sourdough starters, but this one is as simple as it gets.

All you need is flour, water, and five days. Really.

Method

The type of flour you use really depends on your own personal preference. Your starter will draw from the “wild yeast” found in the air and in the flour. Feel free to experiment with organic whole wheat flours, gluten-free blends, or whole ancient grain flours—we’d love to hear how you get on!

The recipes available use a variety of quantities, but they all follow this basic method.

Whisk together 3/4 cup (180 mL) your chosen flour and 1/2 cup (125 mL) water in a glass container. Loosely cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Tip away half the mixture and add another 3/4 cup (180 mL) your chosen flour and 1/2 cup (125 mL) water and whisk well. Set aside for another 24 hours.

Repeat for the next four days.

The mixture should smell sweet and yeasty and be forming bubbles on the surface. If it starts to smell nasty, sadly you will need to start again.

Get baking!

Now you are ready to start baking! If you’re not using your starter right away, you can cover it and store it in the fridge. Just make sure sure to bring it back to room temperature before using. If it appears to be inactive, give it another “feed” with flour and water as above, and it will soon come back to life!

Don’t forget to show us what you’ve been creating by tagging your photos with #aliveathome.

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