Saturday, June 23, 2012
Sourdough Starts and Finishes
Two weeks ago I began to make a sourdough starter from scratch. It was a little bit of maintenance to get it done, but as it turns out, well worth the trouble. Now I hope to have a starter to keep indefinitely that will age nicely and feed us well.
The most important things that I took away from the recipe that I followed were, use a scale to measure, and even if you forget a feeding you can get back on track. It is a very natural and simple recipe beginning with 4 oz of whole wheat flour and 4 oz of purified water.
Mix it up and let it sit. Having no clue what to expect from this process, that first day I was convinced that I was doing it wrong because it seemed way too thick. I finally said what the heck and just let it sit..turns out that was a good choice.
The second day I removed 1/2 of the dough and discarded. Then added 4 oz of unbleached flour and 4 oz of purified water. Beginning on day three is when you start twice daily 'feedings'. Pull out 1/2 cup of starter (discard the rest) and add back to that 1/2 cup 4 oz and 4 oz. as above. The dough will begin to relax and show some active bubbling as the natural yeasts develop and get happy.
For me at about day six (and there were two days in there where I missed one of the feedings), an amazing sourdough aroma began to rise from the starter when I uncovered it to feed it.
Yesterday I decided it was time to try it out. I made a sourdough jam cake that I had found online. As I was researching recipes I noticed that most recipes require 1 cup of starter. First I stirred up the starter, and then measured out one cup. Guess what was left?? 1/2 cup that I fed like normal. Go figure!
So what happened? Well it was the best cake that I think I have ever put in my mouth. It was full of complex sourdough flavor and now I am chomping at the bit to start some bread. This website was a fantastic resource and also has great information on how to maintain your starter for the long term, whether you use it daily or weekly.
This recipe is a variation on the Sourdough Jam Cake that I found online.
2 Sticks Butter, at room temperature
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Starter
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 3/4 C. Flour
1 1/2 C. Jam (I used rhubarb compote)
Mix together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Pour your starter on top. Add the cinnamon, ginger salt and baking soda over the top.
Add your flour over the top, and then finally top with your jam. Using a rubber spatula slowly fold all of your ingredients together, working from the bottom of the bowl to the top. You don't want to over mix things, but you want to make sure it is all combined. Pour into a grease bundt cake pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes or so in the pan, and then invert onto a cake plate to cool the rest of the way.
1 C. Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla (I used our homemade vanilla)
5 tsp. Milk
Mix on high until desired thickness to glaze the cooled cake. I added the zest from a whole lemon and it made for a pleasing amount of acidity in the glaze and complimented the rhubarb.