A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a Fermentation Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin. Being a sourdough enthusiast, I was thrilled to see so many people interested in the fermentation process. Classes were held in subjects ranging from making sauerkraut and kimchi; brewing beer; making Indian sourdough bread (dosas) and regular sourdough bread (aka San Francisco sourdough); making kefir, yogurt, kombucha and more. I have an interest in all of these topics and will discuss a few in this blog in the coming weeks.
My first fermentation passion started eight and a half years ago as I watched Julia Child’s “Cooking with Master Chefs” one Saturday morning on our local PBS station. Nancy Silverton was the chef of choice in this particular show and she stirred up an amazing sourdough starter using very few ingredients. As soon as the show was over I mixed the ingredients to form my first (and current) starter and eventually gave it a name – Fremont! The picture above, left, shows Fremont after a day or two of feeding. As pictured it is easy to see he is ready and waiting to create a delicious sourdough bread product, be it a baguette of bread, a crisp pizza crust, a dinner roll or quick and easy sourdough pancakes. The picture on the right shows a sourdough kamut berry bread in front and several loaves of sourdough quinoa bread on the cutting board.
To begin a sourdough starter of your own, all you need do is combine: 2 cups flour, 2 cups warm water and 2 tablespoons of dry yeast (not Rapid Rise) and mix well. Cover lightly and allow to stand in a warm place till light and foamy, at least 8 to 10 hours. Place ½ cup of this mixture in a clean jar and cover. Refrigerate. This is the Basic Sourdough Starter. The remaining ‘sponge’ (about 2 ½ – 2 ¾ cups of the starter) can be used immediately for making into baked products. Then each time baked products are to be made, remove the basic dough starter from the refrigerator. Add 2 cups flour and 2 cups warm water. Repeat as for making starter and sponge, reserving ½ cup for refrigeration and using the remainder for making the product you want. I will share some sourdough recipes in future posts, so be watching.