Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Resurrected Starter Sourdough

I was rummaging through the freezer, looking for stuff that could be put out with the trash when I ran across a bag containing some dried sourdough starter. This was some really old starter, about six years old, my first and only attempt at drying some starter as a Plan B effort. It had its roots in a sample of "Overland Trail" starter from Stan at New York Bakers. It certainly was the right sample to set aside.

I took five grams of this dried starter and let it soak in thirty grams of bottled spring water. After thirty minutes, I broke up as much of the remaining bits as I could and added thirty grams of DM Bread Flour. The room temperature was around 80F so it didn't take long to show signs of life. I added some more flour and water to adjust it to 75% hydration and the starter continued to roll. In about twelve hours, I had a surprisingly active sample that looked ready for a life (albeit a short life) in dough.

If I were truly hard core, I'd have waited through another stage of building up the starter but I couldn't resist the temptation to start the flour flying.

Let me interject a note about how I've changed my starting procedure. In my large mixing bowl, I add my starter, water, and my flavor flour, the whole wheat flour in this case. After mixing those ingredients to a loose, soup like consistency, I let them rest a few minutes with the idea that the WW flour will be quickly soaked and then I go about my business as usual. It seems to work well enough in that my dough is usually quite sticky at the time of autolyze and remains sticky through the stretch and fold stages.

The end result was a good loaf with a very "clean" flavor and moist crumb. There's another fifteen or so grams of this dried starter left in the freezer so I think it's time to find an excuse to build a bigger than necessary batch  and dry some more for storage over the next five years.

108 g at 75% hydration

Main Dough
288 g DM Bread Flour
72 g home milled whole wheat flour
240 g water at 80F
8 g kosher salt.
olive oil for greasing the bulk fermentation container

Outside, the garden is in fair to middling condition and I don't expect to see much production of tomatoes by the end of the month. The persistent rains have ceased and the ground is hardening. I just got a bale of straw for a mulch over the bare spots to help keep the moisture in the soil. Even the peppers are reluctant to produce which means I may not be able to freeze enough to get through the winter. Store bought peppers just aren't the same as something from my garden.

The usual bird suspects- cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, sparrows, and woodpeckers, are still around but I haven't seen hummingbirds in the yard for at least six weeks. We still have the plants that they're attracted to but they must be dining somewhere else.

Visitors from Egypt and Sri Lanka have found their way to my obscure corner of the internet in the past two weeks.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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