Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sourdough Season

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.


  1. Yay, sourdough starter! I was actually thinking about starting one just this morning. Hadn't gotten around to it, though - am thinking I want to do one with rye, but not sure yet. Look forward to seeing more sourdough bread on here - and curious to see how lively yours gets, as I've had ones in the past which had to be supplemented with store-bought yeast as they were sluggish.

  2. This time I'm doing plain unbleached flour, but I've done one with half whole wheat and half plain that was lovely. Never tried it with rye. Sounds yum. I sometimes have to supplement with a tiny bit of store-bought yeast, too, but once it gets going the wild yeast seems to keep it going well. Let me know if you get one going and we can trade recipes!

  3. Tanita just bought a bunch of whole rye berries, which in going to add to today's bread. We'll see how that turns out. That's going to decide whether I mess with rye flour any more, or just use them whole, steamed, instead. Rye has been shown to lower glucose resistance, so pretty much all of bread gets it in some form or another. If rather not include it in the sourdough, though, because it has some enzymatic differences and I'm not sure about switching back and forth between flour types.

  4. David, I think I would go with using the whole, or maybe steamed and chopped, rye berries worked into the bread instead of in a starter, too. A great graham starter can be a wonderful thing to have though.