Tips for a Successful Sourdough and a lesson on love!
Five Sourdough Facts (According to Me!)
1. Sourdough is delicious!
It is! And, sourdough makes the BEST, tastiest pizza crust and grilled cheese sandwiches!
2. Sourdough starters will stink up your kitchen!
True! They don’t smell like roses! Sourdough starters have a distinct aroma. Some like it some don’t, I am somewhere in between. Sourdough starters smell like a tart yogurt or kefir; not necessarily overpowering but strong enough that my husband (bless his heart) knows when I’m reviving my starter for a fresh batch of bread!
3. Sourdough is a good option for a more easily digested bread.
Sourdough cultures predigest (or pre-eat) certain components of the grain which can make the bread itself more easily digested. This explains why some seemingly gluten-intolerant individuals can tolerate sourdough wheat breads without any problems.
4. Sourdough bread takes dedication and time.
Patience is a virtue. Pretending your sourdough starter is one more pet to look after will set you on the right track. Maybe naming it some term of endearment like “Fifi” or “Fido” could help. Point is, your sourdough starter will require a touch more attention and nurture than a quick bread, or even a yeast bread. It needs daily attention and TLC.
Be kind to your starter. Love it. Maybe give it a good belly rub. Just kidding. But seriously, YOU MUST…
Keep it happy and FEED IT!
Once per day, feed your sourdough starter one third cup flour and one four cup water, stirred into the pre-existing starter batch. A happy, thriving sourdough starter will be tan in color, bubbly and have a sour – but not repulsive – aroma. I keep my ongoing starter in a two quart Mason jar, as shown above, and cover it with a coffee filter secured by a rubber band.
5. Sourdough bread is a Teacher!
Sourdough, with all its idiosyncrasies and needs for specific, special attention and care, can teach us quite a bit about true love. Ensuring the sourdough starter is well-loved and nurtured properly yields a health-giving, nourishing loaf of bread.
Where do I buy sourdough starter?
Starter cultures for sourdough breads can easily be found at online retailers. Try Breadtopia or Cultures for Health. The product you purchase will be a packet of dehydrated sourdough cultures that resemble rock salt. You’ll then follow the simple instructions provided to rehydrate – and reactivate – your starter. I used Breadtopia’s dehydrated starter and it worked beautifully on the first try!
Troubleshooting Your Sourdough Starter
Hooch. Wasn’t that the slobbery, sloppy dog in a Tom Hanks movie?
Yes, it was, and the name suits the dog as well as it does this sourdough glitch! If a dark brown, watery liquid (called a hooch) forms separately on top of the bubbly, thick starter then your starter is hungry. Pour off the hooch – it’s harmless – continue feeding your starter daily. If hooch forms regularly, then your starter might thrive in a cooler location of your kitchen.
Bubbles are fun, you want them! Thriving starters bubble and grow in volume. If this isn’t happening after three days, try feeding your sluggish starter twice per day and move it to a warmer location in your kitchen. On top of the refrigerator or next to your cooktop are usually a few degrees warmer, which is just enough to make a difference.
Mold is uncommon in sourdough starters, given the robust amount of lactic acid contained within, and yet it can sometimes develop. You’ll recognize a moldy starter by the telltale black, green or white fuzz growing on the surface. Some experts say a moldy starter is salvageable (gross!), but I err on the side of caution and toss it.
So, that’s the scoop on sourdough! Keep in touch and together, let’s bake!
a sourdough love lesson
I joked above about the need to be kind to your starter, to love it and keep it well fed! All true, and all analogous to this beloved Bible verse.
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the Truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV
These verses beautifully describe true love. True love is the manner in which the Heavenly Father loves us…loves YOU. His love is unconditional and without limit. This “Love Chapter” is famous for its eloquent, tender recitation at weddings, yet have you connected it to Jesus’ command to us in the Gospel of Matthew?
“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these.'” Mark 12:28-31 MEV
The key principle is to apply 1 Corinthians 13 to yourself.
As sweet as you are with your friends, family, pets – and your sourdough starter – is as sweet as you should be towards yourself!
- Are you patient with yourself?
- Are you kind to yourself?
- Do you keep a record of wrongs against yourself?
- Are you easily angered or impatient with yourself?
- Do you push yourself hard to prove your value?
- Do you nurture your relationship with the Lord as the primary means of nurturing yourself?
Friends, today, search your heart for thoughts that are contrary to God’s love for you. Don’t entertain them. If you are a Christ follower, if you’ve repented and turned away from your sins and pursue Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of your life, He will help you love yourself!
Loving God, loving others and loving yourself is A RECIPE FOR DISEASE PREVENTION (and there’s no stinky starter)!
With love and butter,
Jess, The Bread Believer