Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sourdough... the starter of a new relationship

... did you see what i did there?... i'm hilarious!... starter indeed!

In Part 1 of what I like to call 'food what we ate in California' I thought i'd start with a sourdough loaf.  I'm a bit dumb and keep referring to it as soda bread but this is a bread quite far from soda bread... in fact we all have to go on a little journey to make this loaf... don't panic, it's SUPER easy, it just takes a little time and love...

in basic terms you need to make a starter, which lives, like a living creature, in your fridge... for ever.  It is your fridge pet and I am told that if you treat it well, it will provide you with sourdough everyday... for ever... a little creepy... but I do believe that even though it's alive it's not going to turn into a giant amorphous blob and eat you whilst you sleep... I mean, for a start, how's it going to open the fridge from the inside...?

... let us rewind one moment to Boudin's Sourdough bakery on Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco where we sampled some fabulous, if not quirky sourdough... they've been baking since 1849 with the original 'mother dough' kept in a safe...

... let us begin... i'm going to do this step by step, so we can all feed the starter together, in real time...

... and all we need to do in stage one is add one cup of warm water to one cup of strong white bread flour, place it in a wide mouthed glass jar, cover loosely with a lid so the air can still get in, (one of those rubber-necked jars is good) put it in a warm place and leave it to work its magic for 24 hours... no yeast should be needed... you make this with 'air-yeast'... but you can add a little yeast if you feel the urge (although sourdough purists will turn their noses up at you.)

... this recipe is also excellent because it gives me an excuse to use my fabulous new Matryoshka Dolls measuring cups!... are these not the MOST genius things for the kitchen you ever did see?  i picked them up a quant little shop in Cambria on our road trip and i've been dying to show them to you and use them in a recipe... these totally fulfill my design/work ethic of fierce design and absolute functionality... i needed some measuring cups... they look fabulous... I bought them... no better algebra!

... for those of you who may not be able to keep up with the daily blog... stage 2 tomorrow involves throwing half the starter away and adding half a cup of fresh flour and half a cup of warm water... you continue to feed it this way every 24 hours until it begins to bubble and smell like beer... this can take up to a week or as little time as 3 days... and then your starter is done.  Again... I am told the culture you are growing here is next to impossible to kill, other than baking it... the only thing that may appear odd is an occasional brown liquid which settles on the top... this can simply be stirred back into the mix.

At this point you transfer it to the fridge and continue to feed it only once a week... and of course we can also start to cook with it... but let's not get ahead of ourselves shall we?

... see you tomorrow for the first feed.


  1. that sounds quite intriguing, looking forward to the next few posts.

  2. Looking forward to seeing how your sour dough develops (I had a pet sour dough the other year... but that was a long story!!!)

    And I love your measuring cups...may have to do the road trip to go and buy a set ;-)


  3. Looking forward to "the journey" (as they say on all the reality shows!!!)

  4. Love your little measuring cups. Interested to see how you get on. I make sourdough every week, but mine's a cheat as I got given the starter last December - though it was over 30 years old at the time and should now have developed into my very own version.

  5. Isn't the sourdough in San Francisco delicious toasted? I bet your bread will turn out amazing. The measuring cups are adorable, just so much fun to look at while you bake. Good luck with stage II.

  6. I had a sourdough starter too - I used the Moro recipe - then I went away, then my husband said ' what's wrong with this bread?' so I had to give it a decent burial.

    Just love the little Russian ladies...

  7. Wow!Your Matryoshka Dolls are so so cool!A touch of style in your kitchen!

  8. Sourdough loaves as a 'cook's challenge' when we all have our starters ready? Could be a fun 'look-see' on all takers' blogs ... I'm just sayin'...

    Love the little Russian ladies ... talk about an empty vessel ... yuk, yuk.

  9. How my gosh - I want, nay NEED, those gorgeous Matryoshka Dolls measuring cups... My heart honestly skipped a beat just now. (I am such a saddo).

    Love your blog as ever...

  10. Oh DOm...what amazing measuring cups! totally kitch and gorgeous! As for the starter...i am keeping my fingers crossed....i love sourdough bread but have never been able to produce a decent starter...can't wait to see it grow and grow and grow.

  11. Good luck with the starter, I've heard of people keeping it for years. Always bought sourdough bread when living in the States as all other breads were way too sweet for my palate. I'll watch your progress.

  12. Hi Dom, this all sounds very intriguing. I am contemplating trying it with you.

    Also, I received a set of those measuring cups as a gift a few months ago--my parents bought them for me in Australia when they were there. I love them!

  13. Guess what I just did? I started my starter but have a quick question. It's in the jar with the rubber lid, do I close the lid and put the dishtowel over it or lid open with dishtowel over it. I'm very excited about the whole thing wish me luck I'm a bread making novice.

  14. Sorry never mind my comment just re read directions. Loose lid is the answer. Thanks anyway

  15. hope you've got it sorted now... loose lid in the airing cupboard but when you transfer her to the fridge, then sealed lid... good luck, can't wait to see the results x

  16. I'm taking it back to the manor with me. Will keep you posted on the results. Thanks, Dom! xx

  17. I'm late. Very late. We have three other living things to feed and have killed one or two sourdough pets but I think we're finally in the swing now. I think I read about it first here so thankyou!


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