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I love Fall, y’all. It’s a season of pumpkin-flavored everything (candy corn, too, but I’m just going to pretend that’s not actually a thing), long scarves, crisp air, boots with tights, and power-lipsticks (my favorite is MAC’s Lady Danger, which is a particularly bitchy shade of orange). The day of the Equinox, my roommates and I set about cooking up a storm, including hen stew with figs, and a particularly incredible rosemary-cardamom apple pie with homemade sourdough crust and homemade vanilla whipped cream. I took tons of pictures for all of you, knowing you’d share in the joy of autumn apples, but then it struck me that we haven’t yet talked about how to make your own sourdough starter! So, baby steps.
Most folks traditionally have starters passed down to them, like kombucha starters. Boudin, the famous San Francisco sourdough company, has used the same sourdough starter since the dawn of time, which accounts for the delicious, buttery sour taste of their bread products. However, if you don’t have homo-steading pals like me around (but seriously, if you like in Oakland, I will totally give you some sourdough starter. And kombucha. And probably some homemade butter. Maybe some cheese. Just come over, ok???), then you can make your own with a few ingredients and a little patience.
You will need:
- Flour (you can use rye, whole wheat, or all-purpose depending on your tastes)
- Glass jar or bowl
- Kitchen towel
- Non-metal spoon or stirring implement
- Temperate place for storing, such as the top of the fridge
Combine 1 cup flour with ½ cup water in the glass bowl or jar of your choice. Make sure the mixture is as smooth and well mixed as possible. Cover the top lightly with the kitchen towel and set on top of your fridge where it won’t be disturbed. Allow to ferment for 24 hours. Repeat this process for five days, adding flour and water every day, until the dough smells and tastes sour.
After Day Five:
Continue to add flour and water to the starter, but decrease the frequency to three times a week. Make sure to use your sourdough regularly (pancake and crumpet recipes coming soon!), always leaving at least one cup of starter to continue the batch. (Starter can also be stored in the fridge and fed once a week if you need to use it a little less frequently or are going out of town.)
Note: Your starter should never ever grow mold! If it is dry and covered in fur, throw it out and start again. If it is too watery (and the water has a grayish sheen), just pour out the water, add a tablespoon of flour, and stir together.
Voila! You’re ready for fall!