What better way to start the year than with some good, old fashioned sourdough starter. I always keep a jar of sourdough starter in the refrigerator. I got mine "started" over three years ago and it is still going strong. Here's a recipe from Sourdough Cookery by Rita Davenport. It's available at Amazon.com for over $10.00, but maybe you can find one at your favourite used book store like I did. It's a great little paperback with 220 recipes from starter to breads to cakes to main dishes.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
Do not use metal bowls or utensils. Mix dry ingredients. Add lukewarm water (I used skim milk) and stir to a smooth paste. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place (85°F/30°C) to sour. Stir several times a day. In 2-3 days, the starter will be ready. Store in a heavy plastic container with a hole in the lid to allow gases to escape (I use a small plastic bag instead). I also use a bowl underneath to catch any drips. Wayne says my starter is "alive" (actually the yeast is), especially when it bubbles over in the fridge.
When using your starter, always reserve at least 1/2 cup. Replenish it with 1/2 cup water (again, I use skim milk for a tangier flavour) and 1/2 cup flour. Leave out overnight, stir down and return it to the refrigerator. They recommend "feeding" your starter once a week if you don't use it, but mine has remained in the fridge for 3-4 weeks and still revived. If it doesn't bubble enough, add a little extra dry yeast and lukewarm water for a boost. Sometimes a clear liquid will form on top. This is OK, just stir it back in. If the starter or liquid turns pink, it needs to be discarded.
I like to add starter to my pancake mix for an extra special taste. Also, here are two of my recipes that use sourdough starter:
Sourdough Wheat Bread
Do you have any favourite sourdough recipes? I'd love to hear them. -- Margy