Cre­at­ing a sour­dough starter

The Denver Post - - LIFE&CULTURE -

Cre­at­ing a sour­dough starter re­quires time and at­ten­tion. Here’s how Grate­ful Bread’s Jeff Cleary rec­om­mends do­ing it: WHAT YOU NEED: Whole wheat flour Un­bleached bread flour Fil­tered wa­ter Glass jar or non-re­ac­tive con­tainer DI­REC­TIONS: 1. Mix flour (prefer­ably or­ganic, freshly milled) and wa­ter to­gether by hand or with a stand mixer on low speed un­til well blended. Leave for 24 hours at room tem­per­a­ture in a food-safe con­tainer such as a glass jar. 2. Dis­card half of the mix­ture and stir in an­other 4 ounces of wa­ter, then add 6 ounces of un­bleached bread flour and mix thor­oughly. Let sit for an­other 24 hours. 3. Re­serve 4 ounces of the mix­ture and re­peat the process of adding 4 ounces of wa­ter and 6 ounces of bread flour. Con­tinue “feed­ing” the starter ev­ery 12 hours, re­peat­ing the same amounts of flour and wa­ter each time. 4. Af­ter 1 week, the starter should smell slightly acidic with a no­tice­able amount of bub­bling. 5. Mix 2 ounces of the starter with 5 ounces of wa­ter and 8½ ounces of bread flour. Store on a door shelf in­side the re­frig­er­a­tor to ma­ture for 3 days (the back of the fridge can be too cold). 6. Af­ter this, the starter should be ready to use in your bread for­mula. Al­ways re­serve enough starter to feed for your next batch or you will have to cre­ate a new one from scratch. To main­tain the starter, feed it 1 cup of un­bleached bread flour and ½ cup of fil­tered wa­ter about once a week go­ing for­ward. NOTE: Sev­eral vari­ables will af­fect how a starter per­forms: tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity, and brand and type of flour. No baker can tell you ex­actly how to make your starter per­form best. Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence will be your great­est teach­ers. Try dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of vari­ables to find what works best in your kitchen. King Arthur Flour of­fers a staffed hot­line for an­swers about starters and bread bak­ing 855-371-BAKE (2253) or on­line at kingarthur­flour.com.

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