There are a lot of people out there these days experimenting with sourdough. And I’m one of them. I like to joke that I was a little bit ahead of the curve since I actually got my starter from Sean on March 7th, a full week before any real shut down and grocery store panic started. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my enthusiasm for sourdough has been enhanced by the fact that so many of my friends are also learning to work with it at the same time. I’m far from an expert but I have found some thoughts to share on sourdough and today I’ve got 3.
- Get the book Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson, the man who co-owns Tartine Bakery in San Franciso with Elizabeth Prueitt. This book has a ton, as in way more than you need, of information. It’s just a fabulous reference book on sourdough bread. You might also check out Tartine Bakery’s instragram page because Liz Prueitt has some great videos up there on the process of baking sourdough bread from start to finish.
- Get the right tools if you can. You can absolutely make sourdough with things you already have, I bet. But if you can get a well established starter from a friend (mine, as I said, came from Sean and his came from King Arthur Flour [it’s not available at this time, FYI]) that’s going to help. Also helpful? A dough scraper and bench knife, a lame, a kitchen scale, a banneton and a dutch oven. Remember that Le Creuset one I bought a couple of months ago? My timing couldn’t have been better on that. These tools are really well explained on this blog post at Homestead and Chill.
- Figure out things to do with your discarded starter. The recipe for the popovers I made is here. And the cracker recipe can be found here. I added Everything Bagel seasoning to mine and that really enhanced the flavor. I know people also make pancakes and waffles and more. I even made crumpets one day! Using your discarded starter will help you feel like you aren’t wasting it because you do have to throw away (or share with someone else) quite a bit.
- Finally, a bonus tip from Kim. Name your starter! Kim claims this helps her to remember to feed her starter and, while I don’t know if that’s true, I do think it’s a fun idea. My starter is named Mama Cass because (a) starter is often referred to as a mother and (b) San Francisco is the home of sourdough and I associate The Mamas and the Papas with San Francisco culture.
- Actually, I have one more tip to share and it’s probably the most important one. RELAX. It can be really intimidating to read about all of the tools you can use and try to absorb all of the information out there. But you know what? It’s just flour, salt and water. If it doesn’t come out right, try again. Yes, it’s time consuming and frustrating, yes, it can take all freaking day, but it’s always a learning experience and, at the end of the day, it’s just bread. And also, with regards to that all day thing, there are ways to make it fit with your own schedule by slowing down your fermentation in the fridge overnight.
I hope you’ll share your sourdough stories with me whether you have tons of experience or are just starting out.
Please share your post in the link party below, I’d love to have you join in this week!