Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm a Cheater

I have really been wanting to make a sourdough starter but I have been nervous about it, or intimidated shall I say, crazy eh?  Then while reading Leigh's post at 5 Acres and a Dream it got me thinking about it again, and I thought if Leigh can make a starter on accident surely I can make one on purpose?!?!?!

Well I didn't realize that professional Sourdough Baker's look down upon starter made using commercial yeast.  Which is what I did! I used this recipe found at allrecipes:

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

2 cups warm water

2 cups all-purpose flour


1.In large non-metallic bowl, mix together dry yeast, 2 cups warm water, and 2 cups all purpose flour and cover loosely.

2.Leave in a warm place to ferment, 4 to 8 days. Depending on temperature and humidity of kitchen, times may vary. Place on cookie sheet in case of overflow. Check on occasionally.

3.When mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. If mixture has a pink, orange, or any other strange color tinge to it, THROW IT OUT! and start over. Keep it in the refrigerator, covered until ready to bake.

4.When you use starter to bake, always replace with equal amounts of a flour and water mixture with a pinch of sugar. So, if you remove 1 cup starter, replace with 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. Mix well and leave out on the counter until bubbly again, then refrigerate. If a clear to light brown liquid has accumulated on top, don't worry, this is an alcohol base liquid that occurs with fermentation. Just stir this back into the starter, the alcohol bakes off and that wonderful sourdough flavor remains! Sourdough starters improve with age, they used to be passed down generation to generation!

5.Use this starter to make the Sourdough Chocolate Cranberry Cake, and the Sourdough Chocolate Cake.

And ofcourse since I was "cheating" I was successful, ;-)......and then I cheated some more and made a San Francisco Sourdough recipe, and I couldn't believe that it called for yeast as well. But I made it.  And let me tell you it was delicious, but I still felt like a cheater!  ;-)  (Sorry I didn't get pictures, they did turn out beautiful!)

So tonite I read some more about starters using wild yeast and really enjoyed this page devoted to the sourdough novice......Sourdough Bread.....The Basics by S. John Ross.  So in my kitchen I have a jar of "cheater starter" and a jar of no commercial yeast starter, I am anxious to see if this is going to work, and a large stainless steel bowl of starter mixed with the beginnings of pancakes ingredients for breakfast.  These pancakes can be mixed up the night before, I found the recipe at the Nourishing Gourmet:
Sourdough Pancakes

1 cup of sourdough starter (my starter is fed 3/4 cups of water and one cup of flour, so it’s the thinner type of starter)
2 cups of water
3 1/2 cups of whole grain flour *see note below
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey, maple sugar, or rapadura (optional)
1/4 cup of coconut oil, or melted butter
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt

*This recipe first called for 2 1/2 cups of flour. However, I think my starter became thinner (I was working with a new starter when I developed this recipe) and 3 1/2 cups of flour turned out to be perfect now. I think how much flour you need will depend on how thick your starter is, but if you have a thinner starter, the larger amount will probably work the best.

3 to 24 hours before you want to eat, combine in a large bowl the starter, water, and flour. Make sure that you have plenty of room for this mixture to rise. If it is a very hot day, beware of leaving it too long as it will ferment very quickly. I usually make this up the night before, for breakfast, or the morning of, for dinner. In colder weather, I have done this recipe for up to 24 hours.

After the soaking period, add the rest of the ingredients, and combine well. A whisk is helpful. If you want thinner pancakes you can thin with water (or milk). Drop about 1/4 of a cup of the batter on a lightly oiled hot griddle (over medium to medium-high heat) until the the top is set, and the bottom lightly browned. Flip the pancake and cook until the pancake is lightly browned on the other side. Repeat until all of the batter is used, re-oiling the pan as needed. ~ Sourdough recipe from the Nourishing Gourmet


  1. Yay, you did it! I confess I was fully prepared to use yeast if necessafy. Speaking of yeast, interesting about the San Francisco sourdough recipe. I appreciate all the links and recipes. I'm definitely enjoying experimenting with my starter and always interested in what others are doing with theirs.

    And I want to mention too that I like the new look of your blog. Very elegant.

  2. YAY!!!!!! It taste SO good the pancakes!!! :D wa to go Phall!!! thx for the starter!!! :D



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