So I promised some structure and order to Where Is My Teaspoon on my January overview and am going to kick off today with Sourdough Starters. Don’t be put off by the idea of this – it really only takes a few minutes to make.
Whether you are familiar with Sourdough Starters or not, you’ll definitely be familiar with the sight of Sourdough bread on Brunch menus all around the place. It’s very common in bakeries now as well, albeit at a higher price than your everyday loaf. So that leads us to a couple of questions:
- What is the difference between Sourdough and normal bread?
- Why is it more expensive?
- What gives it a different flavour?
- Can I recreate it at home?
The main difference between your normal white loaf and a sourdough bread is something called a Sourdough Starter. This is basically a batter which is mixed together and allowed to ferment over a period of time so natural yeasts can activate. The Starter is what allows the bread to rise in the oven. No additional yeast is added to the dough. Pretty cool huh?
Sourdough bread is usually more expensive because it is a slightly longer labour of love, in that you need to make the starter and “feed” it over time so it doesn’t die out. I’ll explain this process more once I share how you go about making your own starter.
The thing that gives a Sourdough bread such a unique flavour is the starter you use to make the bread. Depending on your commitment, a starter can last multiple years. In fact, there are many rumours of 100 year old starters which have been kept going by passionate bakers!
Okay so now, I’m going to talk you through how you can recreate the brunch bread at home. The best way really is to find someone who already has a starter and ask them to share it with you. Most bakers would be glad to do this (in fact, some bakeries will offer it from time to time. I know The Natural Bakery were giving our Starters a couple of months ago). My first starter was given to me by a man called Ken who taught a bread class I went to in Cambridge. Sadly, that starter (named Chris) died as I just wasn’t as committed to it as I should have been. Sorry Ken. Don’t hate me.
In case you can’t find someone or maybe would prefer to make your own starter at home, here’s what you do:
Grab a large mixing bowl and add 500g strong white flour. Get 1 large organic apple and grate it into the bowl – you will want to include the skin but avoid the core. Follow this by pouring 400ml tepid water and whisk until it has a thick batter consistency.
Pour the batter into an airtight container and seal. Tie a piece of string around the container to mark how high the batter sits. Leave this for 3 days covered in the kitchen and watch it grow.
There you have it, the first step to making your own starter! I will follow up in 3 days with what to do next so keep an eye out! We need to have patience at this stage as it will take about 10 days before you’re able to use your starter to bake bread. They say that the longer a starter is growing, the better as the flavour matures but we shall see together.
You can get daily updates on the growth of my started over on Snapchat. Just search for wheremyteaspoon and you’ll find me, otherwise be sure to check in with my on Instagram so I can see what you guys are baking too.
Happy Monday everyone!