Meet Sourdough Sam

Sourdough

 

I have done some work with sourdough breads before but I wasn’t retired at the time. Sourdough requires some extra planning and care so I didn’t really have time before. Now that I have retired I decided to give it a try again.

I have read about the method used by the Yukon gold rush miners to make a sourdough starter. They didn’t have mail order and anyone who already had a starter usually guarded it dearly. They would make their starter by mixing flour and water and letting the wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria make the starter. I decided to give it a try.

I like the taste of whole wheat flour but the texture of white flour. So, I use a mixture of white and whole wheat flour for most of my bread recipes. I decided to make a 1/2 whole wheat starter. If you want to make a regular starter, just use all white flour. If you want 100% whole wheat, just use all whole wheat flour. I have heard you shouldn’t use chlorinated water but I have well water and didn’t worry about it. I have also read that chlorinated water is fine if you
let it sit for a few hours before using it.

I mixed 1/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup water in a glass jar. You can use glass, plastic or ceramic but not metal. The old timers said to put it over the wood stove. Not having a wood stove, I put it on top of the fridge.

The mixture sits for 24 hours and you add 1/4 cup each of white and whole wheat and 1/2 cup water to the starter and back to the fridge top.

You continue to add the flours and water for 3 more days and the mixture should start bubbling about the fourth day.

On the fourth day, I had nothing, nada, zip, zero, not even a bubble. I made my final addition but was resigned that the effort had failed. I even called a friend who had a working starter and asked to borrow some to make a new starter using some of their proven sourdough. Then I went to throw out the starter and it was bubbling like mad. I guess I just needed to scare it.

You’ll note in the pictures there is a clear liquid that forms as the starter works. This is just alcohol produced by the starter as a byproduct. Just stir it in.

You may wonder why I bothered to name my starter. A sourdough starter is a living thing. If you don’t feed and water it, it will die. It is harder to let something die if you name it. I named mine after Sam McGee from the poem by Robert Service, The Cremation of Sam McGee.

You must use or throw out a cup of your starter each week and replace it with a cup of flour and water for it to feed on. If you do, it will keep on going indefinitely.

I will describe how to use the starter in recipes as they come up.

So Sam, welcome to the world!

The Old Fat Guy

13 thoughts on “Meet Sourdough Sam”

  1. I love that you shared this. I tried to make my own sourdough starter and it was quite interesting to say the least. The Harvest Apple Muffins look delicious too!

  2. Oh my gosh. Great minds think alike. My starter is 2 days old. I used chlorinated water yesterday. Hope it works. Sam needs a girlfriend. I need to come up with her name. Please post your recipes as you use Sam. I’m a sourdough newbie.

    1. I have several recipes posted with sourdough. My favourites are:
      Instructables Sourdough which makes an artisan style loaf with a lot of sour taste.
      Linda’s Bread which makes a more normal sandwich loaf.
      Linda’s Biscuits which make bready biscuit that toasts wonderfully for breakfast.

      There are several other recipes. Just do a search on the site for Sourdough.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

  3. I have several recipes posted with sourdough. My favourites are:
    Instructables Sourdough which makes an artisan style loaf with a lot of sour taste.
    Linda’s Bread which makes a more normal sandwich loaf.
    Linda’s Biscuits which make bready biscuit that toasts wonderfully for breakfast.

    There are several other recipes. Just do a search on the site for Sourdough.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

  4. Now I know what I did wrong – I didn’t name mine! 😉 I tried my own starter this past summer and while it bubbled and grew, I ran into the same problem you mentioned at the beginning…time. Your post has me inspired to try again, this time with a proper name, some planning and patience. Is your starter still thriving? Thanks David!

    1. Har! The lack of the name is a major mistake!

      I still have my starter. I made Sourdough Onion Burger Buns last week.

      Good luck with the starter!

    1. Once it is active and bubbling, store it in your fridge. It slows the process down so that you only have to feed the starter once a week. If you leave it out, the sourdough reacts more and you have to feed it daily.

    1. I do love sourdough but it does kind of trap you into taking care of it! I appreciate you letting me know if you give it a go!

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