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Sourdough Starter

Sourdough StarterI've used this recipe with excellent results. Be aware that when a new starter is begun, it will take several feedings before developing the desired "sour-tangy-taste" strived for in baked foods. When treated with regularly scheduled attention and loving care, your starter will last for literally centuries! Sharing your well-established sourdough starter with other bread-makers in your life makes a very nice gift they'll surely appreciate.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 (0.25-ounce) packet active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
2 cups room temperature, non-chlorinated water (or bottled spring water)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a 2 to 3-quart glass or ceramic jar or bowl, using a wooden or non-metallic spoon, mix yeast and warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour; mix until thick batter forms. Batter need not be smooth.
  3. Cover loosely with cheesecloth, lightweight kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let stand in warm place for 24 hours.
  4. Stir; cover loosely. Place starter in a warm place for 2 to 3 days or until it bubbles and smells sour; stirring once a day.
  5. Cover loosely with a glass or ceramic lid or plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. If the starter is not used within one week, you must feed it to keep it alive and active by following directions to replenish below. If a clear liquid (an alcohol sometimes called hooch) rises to the top of starter during storage, simply stir it back in, but if the liquid turns a light pink, it means the starter is beginning to break down and spoil; discard and begin again.

To Replenish Starter: After using a portion of starter, replenish with equal amounts of flour and warm water. For example, if 1 1/4 cups of starter were removed to make bread, replenish remaining starter with 1 1/4 cups warm water and 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour. Stir well to blend, cover and let stand in a warm place until bubbly, 3 to 5 hours. Store starter in loosely covered glass container in refrigerator. If not used at the end of one week, remove 1 cup starter and discard; then replenish with equal amounts of flour and warm water as instructed.

Recipe by Hope Cantil; Photograph courtesy of Sue Ramaley; copyright © 1999; property of See Terms of Use.