Friday, January 24, 2014

From the Kitchen: Sourdough Starter and all the things that you can make with it!

Okay, so I know that "most people" hear the word sourdough and cringe. What "most people" don't know is that sourdough starters are not created equal. Some are sharp and others are mild. Some are sweet, while others are more acrid. The taste differs greatly in the yeast strains from one part of the world to the next. Also, the "sour" will be more mild if you keep your starter cool in the fridge as it rises, instead of leaving it on your counter.

Chris and I got a book a couple of years ago from his mom, called "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" by Caleb Warnock. In that book, the author talks about the fact that pioneers had bread and things before commercial yeast was invented. He said they used wild yeast. What is commonly know as sourdough starter resulted from someone capturing (usually) wild yeast in a jar and feeding it regularly.

Soon after we recieved this fabulous gift, we got our first starter, and we tried making some "Pioneer" Pancakes. They turned out pretty well, but I didn't know enough about the starter, so I killed the yeast. Sad day.

Recently I got my hands on a new starter. This one came all the way from Saudi Arabia! I learned how to feed it properly, and I started making Sourdough Pancakes, again. They are delicious, but it got boring after awhile. So my starter sat in my fridge, collecting dust and just waiting for me to get a clue!

About two weeks ago, during that whole "busy with learning" post, I came across a blog that changed my kitchen forever. Sourdough Surprises is a blog where a group of people get together and have a sourdough cooking challenge every month. Anyone can participate! Every month on the 20th, they post their experiments. Some are successful, others are not, but it's a really great way to learn from each other how to use their sourdough starters. I don't know yet if I will actually participate in the challenges, but I am definitely going to be cyber-stalking their group so that I can learn some great new recipes to use my starter with!

I have already made Cinnamon Rolls, Popovers, and Tortillas. I have plans to make English muffins, and hamburger buns. My tortillas have by far been the best that I have ever tasted! You can get my recipe by reading my Grit Blog, or buying the Recipe book that I am putting together! (Or you could just email me and I'll be happy to give it to you!)

Sourdough Surprises usually posts the next challenge a few days after the previous challenge is finished and  they just posted the challenge for February. This month, they are going to make Monkey Breads and Pull apart Breads. I love monkey bread, so I am really excited about it!

Now I just have to find time between writing for the paper, paying bills, feeding the animals (kids included), blogging, writing my book, cleaning, folding laundry, washing dishes (Oh! How I loathe the dishes!) and all of the other stuff that I do, to make delectable sourdough treats... I can do it!