You can easily make sourdough to give your bread that distinct sour taste. You will find that there are also other of good sources for it like your local grocery store or online. Over time, the process becomes easier, since you already have a pattern of making more to last you for several years. Here are some tried and proven tips to get you started.
You will need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, 2 cups of warm water and 1 packet of active dry yeast. Mix the sugar, yeast and flour in a clean container. Stir the water in and mix continuously until you make a thick paste. Take a dish cloth to cover the container and let it sit at 80 degrees F. The dish cloth will allow wild yeasts to go through into the batter. The mixture will start to bubble as the fermentation process begins. You will notice foam building up as it develops.
You can put the container in the sink. Sourdough can be difficult to clean after it has spilled out onto the counter and dried. Let the mixture sit out anywhere between 2 and 5 days. You can stir it once a day. The starter will be ready when it develops a good sour smell and appears bubbly. As soon as the starter begins to bubble, you can begin feeding it once a day with water and flour according to the directions given. Stir everything in the mix, then cover with a plastic wrap loosely. Provide some breathing room and store on the counter top or inside the refrigerator.
Feeding the Starter
The sourdough starter should be fed daily if you leave it sitting on the counter. You should feed it every other week if kept refrigerated. For counter top stored sourdough starters, remove 1 cup of starter once a day and substitute with a cup of warm water (about 105 to 115 degrees F), plus a cup of flour. Let everything sit for a few hours. Cover the mixture to become active before you use it to make bread.
Refrigerator stored sourdough starters can consume a lot of time and should be fed everyday. You may need another person to continue feeding the starter if you are going out of town for a few days. If you decide to use the starter. Take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature. It might take a whole night to make this work. Feed it with a cup of water and a cup of flour. Let everything sit for 8 hours or overnight. You may now use it for different sourdough recipes.
If you have stored sourdough starter in the refrigerator for a few months, you may need to feed it 2 to 3 times to activate. Take it out of the fridge 2 to 3 days before using it for baking. Continue the feeding process everyday. If you believe that the sourdough has turned very sour, throw everything away except for a single cup. Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour. Allow it to ferment for 1 day.
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