Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter

I am often asked for some of my sourdough starter. ¬†I have begun sourdough starters in several forms over the years both as we have moved about internationally and because my needs have changed. ¬†My first sourdoughs were in Scotland so with such a blend of grains and breeds in the artisan flours I bought over there… the starters were relatively easy. ¬†I did learn, however, not to keep them in plastic and then go abroad… as the starter interacts with the container and would leech plastic materials into the starter. ¬†Lesson learned… and it was one that certainly woke me up to chemicals to a degree as I started switching everything to glass after that sort of intuitively.

My second sourdough starter came when we moved to the USA and I knew I could not eat the flour that is subsidized here. ¬†American Red Wheat is highly inflammatory and has undergone years of both genetic engineering and in the early days of subsidizing it was sprayed with glyphosate to increase its yield so farmers could make more money. ¬†I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they had no idea what this would do to human bodies for years to come… but I find it ironic that for years I seemed gluten intolerant in the US but could eat freely in EVERY OTHER COUNTRY I visited. ¬†And lets be clear.. I traveled to 21 countries, some on multiple occasions and usually for weeks to a month, in my young adult years. ¬†I used Antimo Caputo 00 Italian Pizzaria Flour in the US originally, and this was an easy sourdough starter to keep. ¬†I could make a batch of something, feed it and then stick it right in the fridge for 1-2 weeks until I needed it again.

When we moved to Ireland I started to experience sensitivity to the basic flour and had to adapt and noticed my children suffered as if they were eating American Wheat again. ¬†I began using Dove’s Farm White Spelt and Einkorn there for our family and my baking skills and recipes had to adjust. ¬†I became sensitive even to spelt and that is when I went “full einkorn”. ¬†Here in the US I buy Jovial Einkorn usually straight from Jovial Foods but also from Thrive Market, Amazon and on occasion, Fred Meyer.

After my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s I needed to say goodbye to even Einkorn for sake of healing. ¬†I haven’t done much sourdough bread making since then but on occasion I will make keto almond sourdough or a keto coconut sourdough bread. ¬†I’ve struggled with both nut and coconut flours though… so am now experimenting with cassava sourdough. ¬†It makes great pancakes but I am yet to try it in a bread. ¬†But… all of these have a similar principle of starting to get them going… with some variations.

All three require flour and water and days to ferment.  Einkorn has a very viable natural yeast so starting this does not require additional yeast, whereas other variations do.

I begin with equal parts flour and water for grain sourdough, beginning with a 1/2 cup each and adding to it daily for 3-5 days until it is robust and bubbling. ¬†It will swell dramatically in the first few days, so be sure your glass container is large enough to handle many times the amount you originally place in it. ¬†For Cassava, different types yield different proportions. ¬†I have found it can vary from 1:1 to 2/3:1 cassava flour to water. ¬†Make sure your water is non-chlorinated & filtered, well water, or bottled from a service and contains no BPA. ¬†Chlorine will kill the ferment as will other toxins. ¬†I became more aware of toxins in food and water when I began fermenting in earnest… as it was extremely frustrating to see my hard work and investment ruined repeatedly by toxic ingredients, pesticides, plastics etc. ¬†And I started wondering what it was doing to my own microbiome.

For all flours except for Einkorn, start with 1/2 cup warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast) and 1 tsp dry active yeast, and let sit for 10 minutes. ¬†Add the equal parts flour. ¬†For Cassava, I started with 1 cup warm water + 1 tsp yeast basically so my brain wouldn’t hurt. ¬†I tried this with 3 different types of cassava flour (one being Azure, which I would not recommend as it is so course and drank up all the water and turned hard) but for Otto’s depending on the humidity in your home, the proportions varied from 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup flour to 1 cup water.

Leave it to bubble for 24 hours and then feed it with flour and water again.  Do this for 3-5 days until you have the desired amount.  At this point you can refrigerate your starter or use it and feed it again with the appropriate proportions.

A NOTE ON EINKORN: Einkorn flour is particularly sensitive. ¬†You MUST leave the flour out for 18-24 hours after feeding to reach the balance it needs and then refrigerate. ¬†If you leave it out longer you will get Kahm’s yeast or mold, if you refrigerate right after feeding it loses it’s potency, the bacteria suffers and it can mold as well. ¬†Einkorn will need to be used and fed weekly if you do not want to get a dark hooch on the top. ¬†Hooch is the liquid that settles at the top of the starter with lack of daily use. ¬†If it is gray, it is not ruined, just pour it off and replace with fresh water, stir it up and use as usual.

 

Sourdough Starter

Brenna May
Italian 00, Einkorn & Cassava StartersAll sourdough starters require flour and water and days to ferment.  Einkorn has a very viable natural yeast so starting this does not require additional yeast, whereas other variations do. I begin with equal parts flour and water for grain sourdough and different proportions for cassava.
Prep Time 3 d
5 d
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, European

Equipment

  • Large glass jar for starting and storing
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

Italian 00 Pizza Flour Sourdough Starter

  • 1/2 cup non-chlorinated, filtered water well water is usually fine
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup Italian Flour
  • 2 cups Italian Flour (set aside to feed the starter)
  • 2 cups non-chlorinated, filtered water (set aside to feed the starter)

Einkorn Sourdough Starter

  • 1/2 cup non-chlorinated, filtered water
  • 1/2 cup Einkorn flour
  • 2 cups Einkorn flour (set aside to feed the starter)
  • 2 cups non-chlorinated, filtered water (set aside to feed the starter)

Cassava Sourdough Starter

  • 1 cup non-chlorinated, filtered water
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2/3-3/4 cup Otto's Cassava Flour (added slowly)
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups Cassava Flour (set aside to feed the starter)
  • 2 cups non-chlorinated, filtered water (set aside to feed the starter)

Instructions
 

Grain Based Starters other than Einkorn:

  • For grains we work in equal parts water and flour.
  • Start with 1/2 cup warm water in your container (not too hot or it will kill the yeast) and 1 tsp dry active yeast, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add a 1/2 cup flour and stir.
  • Leave it to bubble for 24 hours and then feed it with equal parts flour and water again. ¬†Do this for 3-5 days until you have the desired amount. ¬†At this point you can refrigerate your starter or use it and feed it again with the appropriate proportions.

Einkorn Starter:

  • Start with 1/2 cup warm water in your container and add 1/2 cup einkorn flour.
  • Leave it to bubble for 12-24 hours and then feed it with equal parts flour and water again. ¬†Do this for 3-5 days until you have the desired amount. ¬†Wait 24 hours after last feeding and then refrigerate for up to a week.

Cassava Starter:

  • Start with 1 cup warm water + 1 tsp yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Scoop out 3/4 cup flour and start sprinkling it into the yeast water and leave it to swell slowly. I find the right balance is somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 cups but cassava takes some time to absorb the liquid.
  • When you have the consistency of thick pancake batter, leave to bubble for 24 hours and make a note of the amount of flour used.
  • Repeat the proportions on days 2 & 3 and then let bubble for 2 more days on the counter before refrigerating.

Notes

A NOTE ON JARS: Your starter will swell dramatically in the first few days, so be sure your glass container is large enough to handle many times the amount you originally place in it.
A NOTE ON WATER: Make sure your water is non-chlorinated & filtered, well water, or bottled from a service and contains no BPA. Chlorine will kill the ferment as will other toxins. I became more aware of toxins in food and water when I began fermenting in earnest... as it was extremely frustrating to see my hard work and investment ruined repeatedly by toxic ingredients, pesticides, plastics etc. And I started wondering what it was doing to my own microbiome.
A NOTE ON EINKORN: Einkorn flour is particularly sensitive.  You MUST leave the flour out for 18-24 hours after feeding to reach the balance it needs and then refrigerate.  If you leave it out longer you will get Kahm's yeast or mold, if you refrigerate right after feeding it loses it's potency, the bacteria suffers and it can mold as well.  Einkorn will need to be used and fed weekly if you do not want to get a dark hooch on the top.  Hooch is the liquid that settles at the top of the starter with lack of daily use.  If it is gray, it is not ruined, just pour it off and replace with fresh water, stir it up and use as usual.
A NOTE ON CASSAVA FLOURS: Different types/brands yield different proportions. I have found it can vary from 1:1 to 2/3:1 cassava flour to water depending on the brand. I prefer Otto's and have found it to be the most consistent.  If you use a different brand for your starter... adjust it with water until it looks like a thick pancake batter.
 
Keyword bread, cassava, cultured food, einkorn, italian flour, sourdough, sourdough starter


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