I don’t think there’s one of us, who does not enjoy a good breakfast either before hitting the field or shortly after the morning hunt. And, right up there with one of our favorites is a good pancake. As for me, nothing rivals a good sourdough pancake anytime, or, for that matter, good sourdough anything, anytime.
THE BEAUTY OF SOURDOUGH
Sourdough is one of the MUST HAVE items we should keep in our refrigerator. It’s an essential item for good breads and baking. It lasts (with some periodic feedings), it flavors, it travels well, and with it you’re limited only to your imagination. As it is a living substance, it does require some care and attention from time to time.
KEEPING IT ALIVE
I recall my first batch of sourdough starter, handed down to me from my grandfather. I used it faithfully every Saturday for the pancakes that I adore. I kept it stored properly, used it weekly, and loved every bite. What I didn’t grasp was the need to maintain it. Like almost everything else, e.g. grass, crops, livestock, etc. it needs to be cared for. This is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. However, in my youth I thought caring for it was merely limited to using it to make pancakes weekly so that I replenished the starter and gave it something to grow and thrive on.
I’ve now found sourdough doesn’t need to be utilized daily or weekly to continue using it. It merely needs to be fed, grown, and refrigerated. I now, simply, if I’m not going to make something, feed it weekly with
equal parts water and flour. This raises a good point, the environment you maintain it in is essential to it’s quality. I use good quality water, an unbleached all purpose bread flour, and refrigerate my starter until I need it or it needs feeding.
Tap water is fine, so long as it’s not overly treated by your local water district. If so, simply run the necessary amount into your measuring cup and allow it to stand for an hour or so to let it get rid of some of the chemicals that are detrimental to the dough. As for me, I simply use my Brita filtered water jug and microwave the needed amount for 15-20 seconds so that it’s luke warm.
Next, put your starter in a glass bowl, add the room temperature water and flour. Mix it in, not overly mixed, cover the bowl with a paper towel and place it in your oven. To maintain a suitable temperature, I only use the oven light as a heating element. I don’t want it over heated as it rapidly increases the rate of yeast production and can, if to hot, kill off the good yeast. Let it sit for 3-4 hours or until it doubles in size. Remove 1-2 cups of the starter, seal it in a good glass jar and put it in the refrigerator, this will serve as the starter for your next batch. What’s left over in the bowl, is what you use for the recipe of the day.
WHERE TO BEGIN
- 1 Pkg Yeast (1/4 oz)
- 2 Cups water
- 2 Cups Flour
Mix the yeast and flour together, then add the water. Stir until well mixed. Cover with a paper towel and place in your oven. Keep an eye on it as about every 6 hours you will want to gently mix it, then return it to the oven.
Every 24 hours you will need to remove one cup of starter and add 1 cup of water and flour. This will need to be repeated every day for about 4-6 days. By that time, your sourdough starter will be ready for use. Simply remove 1-2 cups, place it in a glass jar and put it in the refrigerator. The remainder you can discard. Your starter is now ready to use.
GENERATIONS OF USE
if you follow the above simple recommendations, your starter will not only last for generations, but will improve with age. It was a vital addition to early settler’s camp recipes and if cared for, will be something you can use and hand down to your kids and grandkids.