Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baking Bread

How to take care of your sourdough starter:

I just ordered this today (2/17/2010) and can't wait to get it.  I have made my own, but have heard that this is the BOMB!! 

Congratulations! You've just received a jar of King Arthur Flour's fresh sourdough starter. Your sourdough starter may look a little the worse for wear after its trip to your home. It may also have a sharp, astringent odor; this is normal. What it needs is food (King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour) and water; for best results, use chlorine-free tap water, or bottled water. Let's get your starter ready for baking:

Here's your container of starter.

1) Add 1/4 cup lukewarm water to the starter in the container. Stir to dislodge the starter, and shake/stir to combine. Pour into a large glass or ceramic bowl.

2) Add 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water and 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All- Purpose Flour (hereafter known simply as "flour"). Mix till well combined.

3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature (about 70°F) for 8 to 12 hours.

4) After 8 to 12 hours, the starter will be bubbly.

5) Stir the starter, and discard about half. Mix in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup flour.

6) The starter will be fairly thick, like pancake batter.

7) Cover the bowl, and let sit at room temperature for another 2 to 4 hours, till bubbly.

8) Stir the starter, and divide it in half; discard half, or give to a friend.

9) Feed the remaining half with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup flour.

10) Again, the batter will be thick. Lumps are OK; don't bother to stir them out.

11) Cover the starter, and let it rest at room temperature for another 2 to 4 hours.

12) The starter will be bubbly, though not as bubbly as it might have been after its earlier rises.

13) Stir the starter down. Place it in a stoneware or glass container, loosely covered with a lid, or a screw-on top, not fully screwed on. Refrigerate it until you're ready to use it in a recipe.

To make "fed" sourdough starter:

Most sourdough recipes will call for 1 cup or so of "fed" sourdough starter. Here's how to turn your refrigerated starter into "fed" starter.

1) Up to 12 hours before beginning a recipe, stir the starter and discard 1 cup. Or give 1 cup to a friend, or use 1 cup to make waffles. However you do it, you want to get rid of 1 cup of starter.

2) Feed the remaining starter with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup flour.

3) Let it sit at room temperature, covered, for 4 to 12 hours, till bubbly. It's now "fed" and ready to use in a recipe.

4) Once you've removed however much starter your recipe calls for (usually 1 cup), feed the remainder with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 cup flour. Let this remaining starter sit, covered, at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, until bubbly.

5) Stir down, return to its container, and refrigerate.

To keep sourdough in the refrigerator:

If you're not planning on using your sourdough starter for over a week, take it out and feed it once a week, if you remember. But starter that hasn't been fed for a month or more will still probably be just fine, if you follow these steps:

1) Your sourdough may have a substantial layer of green/gray/brown liquid on top. That's OK; it's simply alcohol from the fermenting yeast.

2) Stir the liquid on top into the starter below.

3) Keep stirring till it's smooth, then discard 1 cup (8 1/2 ounces).

4) Add 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and 1/2 cup lukewarm water.

5) Stir till smooth, then cover and refrigerate it; no need to wait for it to become bubbly.

Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes

Crisp, feathery light, and with a delightful, mild tang, these waffles evoke memories of Goldrush days in California, when sourdough pancakes, biscuits, and bread were served to miners morning, noon, and night. This recipe also makes great pancakes.

Overnight Sponge

• 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 1 cup sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator (not fed)

Waffle or Pancake Batter

• all of the overnight sponge
• 2 large eggs
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda


1) To make the overnight sponge, stir down your refrigerated starter, and remove 1 cup.

2) In a large mixing bowl, stir together the 1 cup starter, flour, sugar, and buttermilk.

3) Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight.

4) In a small bowl or mixing cup, beat together the eggs, and oil or butter. Add to the overnight sponge.

5) Add the salt and baking soda, stirring to combine. The batter will bubble.

6) Pour batter onto your preheated, greased waffle iron, and bake according to the manufacturer's instructions.

7) Serve waffles immediately, to ensure crispness. Or hold in a warm oven till ready to serve.

Tips from our bakers

o Want to make pancakes? Simply cook the batter in rounds on a griddle, rather than in a waffle iron.

Sour Dough Starter

I've had so much fun baking bread lately with my sourdough starter, but I was frustrated. Why wasn't my bread *pretty* like at Panera or the bakery?  It tasted good, but it was dull looking. None of the recipes I read said anything about getting a pretty, shiny, crackly crust. What was the secret?  Well...Here You Go!!brush wiith beaten egg!

{See that shiny crust?}

So, if you want a shiny, golden crust on your bread, just brush the top with beaten egg right before popping it in the oven!

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