Monday, February 4, 2013

Sourdough Start From Scratch

 Have I lost it? Yup, I did. I forgot how I was suppose to do this and had to look it up again. But then I've warned you. I have no short term memory so I forged ahead on bits and pieces. You know my quest this year to to go back to the very beginning. Therefore, I have a sourdough start but how do you start a sourdough start? No, I'm not going to use commercial yeast. Sorry, but we are going to work from a even more basic level, wild yeast.

And wishing to "do it my way because there way doesn't quite make sense" (imagine that), I'm heading off with a slight change in the instructions. Keep in mind that is before I had forgotten the half of the instructions and had to look it up again finding new sites which created new questions.

The task is to take a purple cabbage, and with the wild yeast that naturally forms on the outside, create a sourdough start. Problem... I have no purple cabbage but I do have a green one. 'Why would a purple cabbage be any different than a green one?', my mind asked so hence, I'm doing green. Wish this was organic and from my garden but then it is winter and I am in the mood. I only grow purple cabbages in my garden by the way, as if you probably cared. Oh Holly, you are so confusing. Anyway, the experiment is going forth. See I'm even crazy enough to talk to myself.
So in my lack of short term memory, I stuck the second leaf from the outside, in the water. Why, because it made me feel better. I was pretending it had less chemicals, irrational I know but sometimes feeling better is all you get. And because you want leaves with the white blush and the inner leaves wouldn't have this. This is the natural yeast. 

What I forgot was that I was suppose to add flour to the water and the leaf. So the next day I had that nagging familiar feeling that I hadn't done something right. Back to the Internet and after several articles, all stating purple cabbages, I found a consensus, wheat flour works best. 

Out came the wheat grinder. I was planning on finally using the dried strawberries in graham crackers anyway. I know I'm really slow about finishing up that experiment but in my defense. My brain doesn't slow down and with it's ADHD, Autistic framework, it's off and running after any ole squirrel that moves and it takes a while to rope it back in again.

The research said that wheat flour has a much greater success than white flour in creating a sourdough start. Mine is freshly ground, which then made me wonder. Yes, here it comes. All the bran is there and wheat flour goes rancid within a month or two because of this. I'll agree it is also more nutritious in the short term if the phytic acid is removed but I'm wondering? (Which by the way sourdough does remove the phytic acid.) Is that why the authors of these experiments said to switch back to white flour after the sourdough  is established?  One can always use wheat or rye again to transform a part of the sourdough leaving the mother in tack. Yes, that is what they call the original start, a mother. 

Then squirrel, yup, here I go again. What about using potato flour? You would get lots of starch which breaks down to sugar, which sugar feeds yeast? I know that many old, old, sourdoughs had a potato start but just how they did it, I'm not sure. Did they use flour and potato as I suspect. I'd guess it would be in a freshly cooked form. But could you use potato flour and enhance the process?

What the hay, I'm using green cabbage and not purple. I'm not using organic, (In my defense, there is only a tiny grocery store without organic in our town and the next one over is a long ways away.) I'm going to add a little. And ugh, yes, I will not be leaving the cabbage leaf in forever to rot.

So the experiment has gone like this so far. 
 Day One -- Put cabbage leaf in water. (Forgot flour. Did not measure water.)
Day Two -- Measured the water. It was two cups. Put freshly ground wheat flour in water with cabbage leaf. Forgot amount but I'm pretty sure it was two cups.


Day Three -- Feeling pretty confident since many of the sites said it took four days or so to get much for bubbles. Thinking fresh ground may be the deciding factor here. This is twelve hours and starting to bubble nicely. The start needs to be pretty runny at first so the yeast doesn't have to work so hard to push through and get a lift.
 Still day three and I've decided to run the potato granules through the wheat grinder. They are super dry and hard. I wouldn't use the sweet potato meal through this as I'd be concerned. It naturally is far more moist. It ground up fairly decent with the blender so I'll leave it at that.

I then took two Tablespoons of potato flour to 1/4 cup of water and mixed thoroughly in with the cabbage leaf and wheat/water mixer. I used more water than flour because potatoes swell so it seemed like a good idea. After all I am winging it here folks. This is no Better Crocker cake mix deal. Of course if I ever use one of those I don't follow their instructions too exact either. I add a little this and a little that. What can I say, I'm such a wild thing. NOT. LOL 

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