Sour­dough lev­ain starter

Wine & Dine Cookbook - - WEEKEND BAKES -

Day one and two: Cap­tur­ing the wild yeast 200g bread flour

250ml wa­ter, at about 25°C 1 large bowl (prefer­ably glass) 1 piece of muslin cloth

1. On day one, place flour and wa­ter in the bowl, and mix to­gether to form a smooth bat­ter. Cover with the muslin and place the bowl where it will get plenty of fresh air but no di­rect sun­light.

2. On day two, af­ter 24 hrs, some bub­bles may ap­pear on the sur­face—this is a good sign. Use a wooden spoon to beat air into the mix­ture, then cover with muslin and leave for an­other 24 hrs. Days three and four: Breed­ing the yeast There should be bub­bles ap­pear­ing on the sur­face of the mix­ture. Start to build on the small amount of wild yeast present by feed­ing the starter.

You will need:

100ml wa­ter, at about 25°C 100g bread flour

3. On day three, pour half the wa­ter in the bowl and break up the cul­ture in the wa­ter. Add half the flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with the muslin and let it stand in a warm place. Leave the starter for about 24 hrs be­fore feed­ing it again with the same quan­ti­ties of flour and wa­ter. Days five and six: Con­cen­trat­ing the yeast

You will need:

100ml wa­ter, at about 25°C 100g bread flour

4. As the wild yeast spores mul­ti­ply, they start getting through their food a bit quicker, so you will need to feed them more reg­u­larly. About 12 hrs af­ter the last feed­ing on day four, pour off half of the cul­ture and dis­card. Feed the re­main­der with the same quan­ti­ties of flour and wa­ter as on days three and four. Af­ter 12 hrs, feed the cul­ture again. On day six, pour off half of the cul­ture and feed twice, as you did on day five. Day seven and beyond: Keep­ing the yeast alive This is where hav­ing a sour­dough starter be­comes a bit like own­ing a pet. Like a pet, yeast needs to be fed thrice a day if it is to thrive and do its job well.

You will need:

A starter con­tainer and lid with a small air hole

A rub­ber spat­ula (or your hands)

First feed of the day:

100g starter (dis­card the rest) 50g bread flour

50 ml wa­ter, at about 25°C

5. Al­low to fer­ment for about 8 hrs.

Sec­ond feed of the day:

200g starter

100g bread flour

100ml wa­ter, at about 25°C

6. Al­low to fer­ment for about 8 hrs.

Third feed of the day:

400g starter

200g bread flour

200ml wa­ter, at about 25°C

7. Al­low the starter to fer­ment for 8 hrs, then start again with the first feed. Af­ter a cou­ple of weeks, if all has gone well, you should have a happy and healthy sour­dough starter liv­ing in your home, as a new member of the fam­ily. From about day 10, it will be strong enough to make bread, and its strength will in­crease as it ma­tures. As your starter ages, it will develop con­sis­tency, bal­ance and, to a cer­tain ex­tent, im­mu­nity from for­eign in­vaders such as bac­te­ria.

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