The Sourdough’s sourdough starter

Sourdough has become a part of the unique food culture here in Alaska. Easy to make and monitor, sourdough starters can be shared with friends and be used to make a variety of foods; from sourdough bread to sourdough pancakes. Add fresh picked blueberries to those pancakes to make it extra Alaskan.

Sourdough starter is easy and simple enough to make in a dorm room. With the help of the miracle of fermentation, sourdough starters only require two ingredients.

Sourdough starters are used to cultivate wild yeast found in flour. Before commercialized active dry yeast was invented for baking, wild yeast was the way of making bread.

Ingredients:

4 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) of all-purpose flour

4 ounces (1/2 cup) of water

Directions:

1. In a large bowl or container, bigger than 2 quarts and not metal, add flour and water. Stir until sticky dough forms.

2. Once the dough is formed, cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and store in consistent room temperature. Let it sit for 24 hours.

3. Each day for five days, feed the starter by adding 4 ounces of both fresh flour and water. Do not feed unless bubbles are present in the sourdough starter. Depending on the conditions of your kitchen, this could take less than or more than 24 hours. As the starter grows it will become more frothy and sour in smell. Bubbles in the starter are signs of yeast activity and indicate that the starter needs to be “fed” still. This process usually takes about five days.

4. You know your starter is ready to use when it has doubled in size and is very bubbly. When you stir it the starter, it should feel loose and easy to stir. The smell should be sour and pungent. Your starter is ripe.

5. To maintain your starter, you will need to remove (use) half of the starter in the bowl and then feed with more flour and water. If you don’t plan to use the starter too often, it can be stored in the fridge with a plastic wrap covering and trimmed of half and fed only once a week, instead of every day.