Sourdough starter made simple – 3 Key principles, and establishing your own starter!

The starter will bubble away as the yeast release Carbon Dioxide.

Since meeting John I have got really into sourdough. He introduced me to the concept, and I dipped into my housemate’s copy of Andrew Whitley’s ‘Bread Matters’ to establish my own starter and learn a basic sourdough loaf recipe. The idea is to allow wild yeast to colonise some flour/water mix, which, once well-established, can be used as a raising agent in cooking. It also has the benefit of adding a distinctive (and delicious) sour flavour to your food.

It’s been more successful (and tasty) than I could have imagined! The sourness (caused lactic bacteria that co-exist with the yeast in your starter), gives things a really unique flavour, that I just can’t get enough of!

Sourdough is really versatile, and now, in just a couple of years, I find I’m dependent on it, even taking it on holiday with me recently so that I didn’t have to miss out on my favourite dishes! Loads of my best recipes use it, for example our yummy vegan pizza, cheeky spiced garlic bread, and ethiopian sour injera pancakes.

As you can expect to keep seeing posts from me that use it, I thought I’d better tell you how to make your own! It’s really much simpler than I was expecting, and after daily attention for a few days at the beginning to get it started, it has been really low maintenance – I keep it in the fridge and only bother to feed it when I’ve used some. I’m really slap-dash with my techniques and quantities, but the yeast seem to be quite happy with this semi-neglectful arrangement and continue to thrive (I suspect it may even make them tougher).

If you’ve been put off by overly-complicated sounding processes in the past please read my method and consider trying again. Wild yeast are fairly simple little microbes and with a few very basic principles you can easily start your own colony! Don’t be intimidated, give it a go.

Three main principles of yeast-keeping are explained here, to enable you to keep your starter going indefinitely with minimal effort, as well as a simple technique to get your starter established.

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Sourdough Spicy Garlic Bread

We often have a bit of sourdough pizza base left over when making vegan pizza, when I trim around the edge to get the right size of base, and as we’re usually desperate to start eating the yummy food by then I tend to make it into a garlic bread that we can nom down while our pizza is in the oven!

This recipe includes spices, inspired by one of John’s Native American bread recipes, but you can use just the garlic powder, salt and olive oil if you prefer a more simple flavour.

Best eaten fresh out of the oven.

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Sourdough Pizza Base

Probably my favourite and most used recipe for my sourdough starter is pizza base, which I have made at least 50 times since discovering this recipe by Sue Lau, for yummy vegan pizza, my fusion creation, quizza, or quickie garlic bread.

Ready to go into the oven.

 

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