My Collection of Mothers

sourdough starterI am sort of a self proclaimed mom collector. I have a biological mother, a stepmother,and a mother in-law. I’ve decided to add another mother to this equation becase well, 3 just isn’t enough. This one is unique in that I created it. It’s my mother sourdough starter!

I became really intrigued with bread starters whilst working in a cross continental restaurant back home. I had been tinkering with bread making and was wanting the pastry chef to tell me why I kept failing. The chef showed me his mother and told me about it’s story. Oh, you didn’t know that bread starters have stories? Oh yes. They have stories. Tales of being born in a great great great somebodies kitchen. Tales of traveling the world with their owners. Tales of feeding interesting people. I suddenly felt cheated that no one had passed one down to me. But the buck stops with me. My daughter will not have to do without because her mother has made a mother! 🙂 Can you tell i’m excited about this?

If you have fond memories of sea monkies then this will be right up your alley. (I would know. I had sea monkies) Basically what you’re doing is capturing the wild yeast in the air and then cultivating it. What’s so great about this is that since the wild yeast in the air is so varied from place to place, each starter is unique and will make a bread with subtle nuances all it’s own. Once it’s established it’s virtually indestructable. I’ve heard that you can even dehydrate it and freeze it. Who know’s. Maybe i’ll dehydrate it and give it to kids as holiday presents instead of those useless sea monkies. Sea monkies can’t make bread. I’ve also researched and found that this is not just for sourdough bread. You can use it in place of virtually any recipe calling for yeast. There are also some recipes floating around about using sourdough starter in cakes, pankcakes, and cookies.  Convinced yet? I thought so.

What you’ll need:

Clean non metal container- metal reacts with the starter. use a plastic container or mason jar

Unbleached wheat flour

Filtered water- I’ve heard that some waters can have too much chlorine which could kill it. I have used tap water at times without any bad effects

Roughly 2 tbsp. granulated sugar- to kickstart the starter with lots of yummy sugar to eat.

Day 1: combine 1/2 cup flour with apx. 1/4 cup water and sugar. Stir well to combine. The consistency should be that of a shaggy dough. Cover with a kitchen towel or I put a paper towel under the rim of the canning lid. I kept my starter on the top of the fridge where it was nice and warm.

At least once a day and as much as every 12 hours for the next 7 days: dump out 1/2 of the starter and add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water. Stir well. Be sure to always use clean utensils. You don’t want to introduce any harmful bacteria that could kill it. During this time you will see bubbles rising from your starter and it will smell sour maybe like rotten milk. This is good. Right now it’s just bacteria. Not yeast yet.

On about day 4 things will look pretty lifeless. This is the bacteria dying to give way for the yeast to spring to life.

On roughly day 6-8 (the day really depends on your climate) the mixture will suddenly spring to life and you’ll see lots of bubbles and it will smell yeasty. Congratulations! You have a mother!

From this point, you can make bread but it’s best to continue the process of feeding it (dumping 1/2 adding the flour and water) to build up the flavors for at least another week. When it can reliably double in size a few hours after each feeding then you have a strong robust starter.

To store starter: If using a plastic container put the lid on or if using a jar you can put saran wrap with a rubber band on top and place in the fridge. If you seal off the container with a tight fitting lid the gases won’t have anywhere to escape and you’ll have a mess. Unless you plan on using it weekely, feed roughly once a week.

sourdough bread

Keep posted. I will be posting the recipes i’ve used with it so far and believe me. They are delicious!




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