Saturday, October 29, 2016
Last year at this time I was still working out what I needed to eat and not eat to be healthy. At the time I promised myself that if it turned out that I wasn't allergic to gluten that I would start a sourdough starter in a year. So here we are in what I think of as sourdough season. The reason for it being now is that the last of the grapes have just finished ripening on our vines and those are what I used to start of the starter. The grapes are wrapped in cheesecloth and the packet tied with kitchen string. Once a slurry of flour and water is in a bowl, the cheesecloth packet gets immersed into it and then pressed a little so that the grapes crush a bit, releasing some juice. The wild yeast that has collected on the grape skins gets the process of collecting wild yeast in the starter going. The rest is just a matter of time and regular feeding of the starter.
I still have a few days of feeding to go before the starter is ready, but I used the 'toss off' yesterday to be a base for a lovely loaf of bread. Some additional water and dry yeast was added, then more flour and a little salt. That's really all that is needed, along with plenty of kneading!
The finished loaf had a thin but crisp crust and a nice, moist, tangy interior crumb. If I had added some steam as it baked the crust would have been better, but it was still very nice and a great way to start the sourdough season. Look for more sourdough bread in the coming cool months.