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Saturday, November 19, 2011

No Yeast? No Problem...Try Sourdough

So what happens when SHTF and you run out of yeast? Well there is yeast in the air we breathe all around us as well as in the flour we use to bake bread. All you need to do is set out a bowl of food to capture and grow it. This is called sourdough. To make sourdough bread, you need a sourdough starter.

Here is what you will need...

Flour

Water

A glass bowl to keep it in...clear glass with a lid will be best as you can use this to keep your starter in.

Yup, that’s it.

In your bowl, mix

· ½ cup flour

· ½ cup water

Day 1

Combine the flour and water in the container until all the flour has been absorbed and there are no more dry particles. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and cover. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 2

· ½ cup flour

· ½ cup water

Your starter should be fairly thick and soupy. You may see a few small bubbles here and there. This is good! The bubbles mean that wild yeast from the air and the flour itself have started making themselves at home in your starter. They will eat the sugars in the the flour and release carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and alcohol. They will also increase the acidity of the mixture, preventing other "bad" microbes from growing.

Add the fresh water and flour. Stir vigorously to combine everything and incorporate more oxygen into the mixture. Scrape down the sides, cover, and let it sit for 24 hours.

Day 3

· ½ cup flour

· ½ cup water

By day three, your starter should be getting nice and bubbly (see below), be the consistency of pancake batter, and have roughly doubled in size. If you taste a little (Go on! Try it!), the mixture should make your mouth pucker with sour and vinegar flavors. It will also smell musty and fermented, a bit like grain alcohol.

Go ahead and mix in the fresh ingredients as with Day 2, cover, and let sit for 24-hours.

Day 4

Repeat day 3.

Day 5

By day 5 (or even day 4) your starter will be ripe and ready to use. The surface will look frothy and fermented (see below), and if you've been using a clear container, you can see an intricate network of bubbles when you hold it up. It will smell and taste very pungent and tangy like, well, concentrated sourdough!

At this point, your sourdough is ready to be used, or you can cover and store it in the fridge for up to one week. After a week, you'll need to refresh the starter by taking out a cup or so of starter (to use or discard) and then "feeding" it with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water. Likewise, after using some of your starter in a recipe, you can replenish what's left with equal parts flour and water.

Starter will keep indefinitely as long as you feed it every week or so. Treat it like a household plant that needs to be watered and fertilized regularly. It's very hardy and will even perk back up with a few daily feedings if you've neglected it too long. If a clear liquid forms on the top, just stir it in (this is actually alcohol from the wild yeast). The only time you should throw away the starter completely is if that liquid has a pinkish hue, which indicates that the starter has spoiled.

To use your starter, simply replace ½ cup flour and ½ cup water in your favorite recipe for 1 cup of starter and forget about the yeast. Then, replace the used starter with ½ cup four and ½ cup water to keep it up.

1 comment:

Real Survival said...

I do a lot of baking, I did not know this!! thanks for the great info!