Sourdough Starter Experiments

We are learning to create our own sourdough starter & experimenting with different “mediums” for growing the cultures.  Yesterday we started a basic batch using bleached all purpose flour and warm water.  It’s very cool in our house, gotta make that propane last don’cha know, so I have the starter in a plastic food storage container with a snap on lid (just pressed down on 2 corners so we don’t have an explosion) sitting on top of our incubator, keeping warm. 

This batch is 1/2 c. flour and just a little under 1/2 c. warm water.  As you can see, it’s already bubbling and it smells nice and tangy.

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Today we will be making 2 more starters with just flour and water.  One with unbleached all purpose flour and one with whole wheat flour. 

This is such a terrific learning experience for both my children and myself!  We have learned so much about microorganisms, yeasts, lactic acid, leavening, the history of breadmaking, and food security. 

You may wonder what I mean by “food security”  – For the last couple of years I’ve noticed that, month after month, the grocery cart is a little less full and we walk out having spent a little more money.  We are frightfully reliant on foods grown hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away or produced in a factory with ingredients cooked up in a lab.  I get a little nervous when I think about the “just in time” delivery system that depends on an uninterrupted stream of petroleum from the very beginning when the seeds are planted to the very end when I haul the groceries home.  And most upsetting of all, we are hostages to the cost of that production which is influenced dramatically by the cost of that oil and the whims of investors betting on the future.

For me this all boils down to a simple truth:  We need to learn to be more responsible for our food, if not for our physical health, at least for our financial health.  And for our family this has meant hunting, raising small livestock, learning to process our own meat, growing a garden (I have a BROWN thumb – so I need a lot of work in this department), cooking from scratch, and now making our own starter to bake our own bread. 

I bake a lot of breads, but I hope I have officially purchased my last jar of commercially produced yeast!

Every little bit helps…  I’ll keep you updated on our progress.