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Friday, February 7, 2014

sourdough starter; five years and counting



if you have been reading this blog, you know i am a bit of a gardener.  okay, i spend a lot of time in the garden.  more than once, i have spent entire mornings that stretched into the early afternoon working in a garden.  it isn't hard to do if you have the right company and the ladies i work with out at the demonstration garden make it fun to be there-no matter how muddy and buggy it can sometimes be.

mud and bugs; sounds heavenly after all of this cold, miserable weather!  to keep busy until the season changes, i spend my time indoors baking.  one of my favorite things is sourdough bread, especially when it is freshly baked with some of my own organic grape starter.

making starter is a lot easier than you think.  the hardest part is finding organic grapes.  luckily for me, i was able to pick them off the vine in the garden and since i work in that garden, i knew exactly what the grapes had been treated with-absolutely nothing!  if you aren't lucky enough to pick your own, you will have to source them at a grocery store that has a good selection of organic fruit.  you also want them to be as fresh as possible.  a really good starter recipe is the one attributed to nancy silverton.  to make my starter, i followed this recipe to the letter and five years later, it still works!
as a starter is fed and used, it needs to be replaced.  an easy way to do this is to measure your flour and pour it into a small bowl.  add your water and stir to form a thick dough.

this simple dough is all the starter needs!  usually a feeding is all you need to get it ready to make a loaf of bread.  a good, strong starter, like mine, can sit in the fridge for several months and still have the strength to leaven a loaf of bread.  my most recent loaf of sourdough bread was a pane pugliese.  the complete recipe and step by step photos can be found here.

so, until the weather shifts and it warms up, a lot, i will be in the kitchen tending to my starter and dreaming of muddy days in the garden with friends...

2 comments:

  1. My poor sourdough of two plus years finally kicked the bucket this winter after some extreme negligence on my behalf. I haven't finished castigating myself enough to start over. I am now curious about the grape starter - Nancy Silverton's advice on anything bread is usually spot on.

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    1. that recipe is a good one, it really works providing you have organic, untreated grapes. however, if you want some of mine, i could easily send you a jar. it should easily ship in cold weather!

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