Posts tagged ‘sourdough’
Our whole family has been pretty sick for weeks and I completely neglected the sourdough starter on the counter. The smell is now pretty strong and the “hooch” on the top (mixture of alcohol and water produced by the starter) is quite dark so I thought about throwing it out. I decided to research a little more before I got crazy. After all, sourdough has been resting on counters for much longer than mine in much hotter climates and I’m sure when that was the only way to make bread you didn’t just toss it if you missed a couple days. I found a discussion about how to tell if your starter is bad and got some pointers there. I still think my starter is on the verge of too stinky but am “washing” it like one of the writers suggested.
Mid-week last week I ran out of milled flour and being sick I didn’t have the energy to drag everything out so I just dumped in some sorghum flour I had. That turned the starter a brownish orange color and the hooch produced the next morning was much darker and has been since, I wish I would not have done that. If I “wash” my sourdough I’m planning to go with half brown rice and half white rice this time and am considering using starch as well. I think the mixture has been too heavy to produce a good loaf of bread. I am also very determined not to let it hibernate in the refrigerator until I have come up with a good recipe for bread because I don’t want to spend the time getting it going again. In my reading I noticed that even with a suspected “bad” starter you can pull a tiny amount out and feed that to keep the same starter going. Maybe after a bit I will have enough to dry some and we can try sharing it to see if that will work.
A couple of notes:
As I get familiar with my starter I can tell how she is “behaving” and realized that in my climate I needed to switch from using more flour than water back to simply 1:1. I actually quit measuring and if it looks too thick (lumpy, hard to stir) I add more water if it is too thin I use more flour. It really is quite friendly and forgiving. You may have to experiment to get a good “pancake” like consistency but if it doesn’t seem right just try, don’t fret.
I also read that unless you leave it in over 100 degree temps. almost nothing else will outright kill the starter although metal utinsels and container will inhibit yeast growth.
One lady even mentioned putting oatmeal in her starter in a pinch. I am not suggesting it (also be aware that you must buy certified gluten free oats) but what I’m saying is experimenting can’t hurt. I just tried using corn starch since I still have not milled flour.
When in doubt give her a new home. I was not sure about the strange color and smell to the liquid so I poured it off this time. I read that some people always pour it off. I was in the habit of stirring mine back in and will do so again unless I experience this problem again. I found a “clean” edge of the bowl to pour the whole thing into a new container. After removing the hooch I could tell that my starter was not bad, the mixture underneath did not smell as strong and had that yeasty bread smell. I have high hopes for my “washed” starter now.
A starter kept in the refrigerator is said to only need once a week feeding or even less. A glass mason jar would be a good container for this kind of storage and then you can pull the starter out the night before you want to use it, immediately feed it and then use it the next day.
For more info here is a Q & A on Sourdough that I found very helpful.
Happy fermenting and keep checking back, I am feeling much better and with the fresh snow outside it’s still baking weather up here in the North!
I’ve been painstakingly attempting to create good, easy bread with my bubbly sourdough starter and it has definitely not been without pain! Attempt number three went to the dogs and after feeding “Mother” again I decided to take a different approach for now.
Some of the ladies on Mary Jane’s Farm who get the pleasure of using wheat flour in their starter, had a little trouble getting started as well so there was a pancake recipe that I modified and made this morning for the gluten free folks! I think it turned out quite well. This may sound strange but I assure you it is quite good, almost like a buttermilk pancake and quite mild in taste. Here is what I did…
BEGIN THE NIGHT BEFORE!
Sourdough Pancake Success GF:
Do I really have to go there? (Shopping List):
Hopefully you have a well stocked pantry of essentials and then you will not have to drag all the kids out, or if you have no kids, put the dogs in their kennels and hope they don’t bust out while you are gone and wreak havoc in your laundry room! You will not have to trudge through late February snow and into the store where you probably won’t find what you need and you will be starving when you get there so on the way home you will have to stop at McDonald’s for a yogurt parfait (practically the only gluten free option on their menu that the kids will eat) and the whole day will be a waste!
Sooo… here is what you need to have on hand to save yourself all that trouble!
- gf flour ( I used tapioca starch and brown rice flour)
- sugar or honey
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cooking oil
If I can do it you can do it! (The Recipe)
PART 1 – the night before
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1cup tapioca starch (corn starch often works the same)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 c starter
Remove the starter from your sourdough mother by pouring or spooning out but do not use metal! Beat the flours warm water and starter together in a new bowl (not metal- I keep forgetting so this is for me!) and let it sit overnight with a light towel covering it.
NOTE* This mix will be very thin almost like milk. If you have a thicker “Mother” to begin with don’t make adjustments until the morning, if yours is very thin like mine, you may need to pour off the hooch (that clear liquid on the top) before mixing and removing the 1/2 cup.
Part 2 – the morning of (T= Tablespoon, t= teaspoon)
- 2 T sugar (honey can work as well)
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 3 T oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 t. baking soda, dissolved in 1 T water (save this step for last, just get out the baking soda and set in next to your sink so you don’t mistakenly pour it in when it calls for baking power – classic Goof move!)
To feed your mother this morning just pour 1/2 cup of the new mix backinto her (no “scoopy” no using metal-sorry to be redundant but I keep trying to stick my metal measuring cup into the bowl) then you may continuewith the recipe as follows. We have to first give back what we took from the sourdough mamma! Isn’t that wonderful? “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Heat a skillet on medium (275-300 degrees on an elec griddle)
Whisk into the overnight creation; sugar, salt, baking powder, oil and eggs (this mix still looked quite thin to me even more than the usual “gluten free thin”) you will then need to dissolve the baking soda (waiting by the sink) into 1 T warmwater (always use warm water with mamma) then gently stir this into the pancake mix but not too much.
Here is the fun part, your mix should begin to bubble and foam up a little and thicken slightly, you will pour this onto a hot griddle and watch it go! My first couple were very, very thin (I think that is because my mother is thin to begin with). When I poured them onto the griddle they spread out immediately and had bubbles throughout from the start.
I made a slight adjustment by adding approx 1/4 c more gf flour. My second batch was perfect and I could tell it was time to flip when bubbles began to show through the top (approx 5min) flip and cook another 2-5min (depending on your stove or griddle)
I got overzealous and thought, “I bet more flour would be even better” (they were not “big and fat” like I had envisioned) so I added too much flour and in the last version I never did see the bubbles through the pancake they just cooked with a smooth top and became a bit more dense. By no means were they bad but I tell you this because it is a good gague of whether or not your mix is too thick. You should begin to see bubbles on the surface, if not your mix is too thick and you can carefully add warm water 1 T at a time. Make one pancake and do it again until you get those bubbles after cooking about 5min.
I hope you are able to try these, it was fun to have some sort of sourdough success. I’m excited about the benefits of the healthy bacteria that you get when eating true sourdough and hope to come up with many more good recipes. A special thank you to the ladies at the Farmgirl Connection for sharing their sourdough experiences, even if they can eat wheat!
How to make your own gluten free (or gluten full) sourdough starter in just 1 min a day.
The challenges of making gluten free bread