My sourdough journey has been a long, slow and arduous one. It seems, however, that I may have finally overcome all the pitfalls and hazards…with a little bit of cheating.
My single biggest obstacle to successfully maintaining a sourdough starter, other than remembering to feed it, was mold growth.
It didn’t matter if I refrigerated it, it didn’t matter if I used distilled water, my starter always ended up moldy within the first week of getting started. And since I always struggled with the initial growth and establishment of the starter, I decided it was time for desperate measures. I decided to cheat with the help of Azure Standard.
So I had the jar of about 20g of starter, and I pulled it out of the fridge not really knowing what to expect. But I had just watched a video of Shaye Elliott making focaccia bread using her starter and I was mystified by her feeding process. Her starter was not a thick pancake batter consistency. No. It was a slightly sticky lump of dough. Sour dough. And I had to know more.
So to my 20g of starter, I added 50g water
Sidenote on water— my water, even coming from a Berkey filter with fluoride filters, is heavily chlorinated. I didn’t realize this until I attempted bread making. So my process is to boil the water I’m going to use for about 20 minutes, and then let it cool uncovered until it’s about 95°F. At this point, all the chlorine has evaporated and it is safe to use with my starter.
Where was I? Oh yes, 50g water, and 100g freshly ground einkorn flour. It is a low-gluten flour, so it doesn’t rise as fluffy as say, a durum wheat, but it is still better than any other gluten-free alternatives I’ve tried. It has a slightly different protein structure that makes it easily digestible for me and my gluten-allergic crew.
I’ve only used it for sourdough pancakes and a sort of cranberry spice breakfast cake this morning. I have to say, I think it’s strong enough to leven a loaf of bread!! A feat which I have only sort of accomplished once before.
But apparently the secret is letting someone else grow my starter, and then maintain it with much less water to inhibit mold growth.