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Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One

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Let’s Start At The Beginning. What Is Sourdough?

Sourdough is a combination of flour, water, wild yeast, and bacteria that live in symbiotic harmony.

Wild yeast is responsible for leavening (rising) dough by producing carbon dioxide.

The bacteria are responsible for souring the dough by producing lactic and/or acetic acid.

The leavening process starts to happen when the wild yeasts break down the sugars in the flour, predigesting it and using it for energy. The sugars in the flour feed the wild yeasts and allow them to multiply.

While the yeast is multiplying it is producing carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Carbon dioxide is responsible for making the bread rise.

This “leavening” happens when the carbon dioxide gas is trapped under the network of gluten protein that is produced by mixing flour with water.

The beneficial bacteria in sourdough produce the lactic and acetic acid that give sourdough breads their classic sour flavor

These benificial acids also neutralize the nutrient blocking phytic acid that is naturally found in the hull of all grains.

Lactic Acid Also Breaks Down Gluten

Gluten is a kind of protein found in all wheat grains. It forms long protein strands when mixed with water thus giving bread the structure it needs to trap the gasses of fermentation.

The hard-to-digest gluten protein is predigested by the lactic acid during fermentation. It is then broken down into easier to digest proteins and enzymes while leaving behind the important structure that gives bread its shape.

Flours that are organically grown and that have a higher percentage of bran and husk will have more of their own wild yeasts and bacteria attached to the flour. That is why using a whole organic grain like whole wheat or rye is recommended for starting a starter from scratch. Even so, some wild yeast remains in hulled flours, so it is possible to start a starter with just organic white flour.

Wild yeast and bacteria are everywhere. I mean everywhere! It’s on all organic and wild fruit and veggies and is responsible for the beginnings of fermentation. A fallen fruit in the organic orchard will ferment just the same as a fallen fruit in the jungle.

Yeast really likes sugar so it can be found in higher concentrations on fruits, think wine grapes with their white yeasty skins. Wild yeasts were responsible for the first alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, and mead and have been utilized for leavening bread for countless centuries.

 

Wine grapes with natural yeast bloom.

 

 

 

Page Guide

Page 1. Intro
Page 2. What Is Sourdough?
Page 3. Bread Terminology
Page 4. Why Eat Sourdough?
Page 5. Tools
Page 6. Starter Recipe
Page 7. Fresh Starter vs. Discard
Page 8. Starter Hydration & Feeding
Page 9. Favorite Recipes
Page 10. Troubleshooting Sourdough
Page 11.  Starter Insurance Policy
Page 12. Using Stale Bread
Page 13. Recipes You Don’t Want To Miss
 
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Sweet And Buttery Sourdough Pie Crust - Traditionally Fermented For A Nourished Diet
Freshly fired, golden brown and crispy Parmesan and sourdough crusted chicken strips.
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Parmesan And Sourdough Crusted Chicken Strips - Fried in Traditional Fat

Lina Herzer

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hello, what a perfect site about sourdough! I am mainly interested in making the crackers for now. When I create the starter, can the discard from day 1 and onwards be saved in the fridge until I have enough to make a tray of crackers? or do I have to wait until day 14, discard? So on day three I would have 300grams of discard collected.Hope that makes sense. Thank you!

Butter For All

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hi Lina!

It makes perfect sense. I usually recommend people start saving discard after around day 7, if and only if there is some significant growth and activity. You don't want to be keeping and using the starter before it's balanced correctly. It just won't taste good, especially if it's very sour, which is typical in the beginning until you cultivate the yeast!Get your starter going first, then when it starts doubling regularly it will be ready to use in all the recipes!

Hope that helps!

Courtney

Ed

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi what's the difference between using brewer's yeast, or Fleischman yeast as against preparing the sourdough starter?

Athena Engel

Thursday 23rd of July 2020

I love your revamped site!! It’s so clean and fresh!! I have a question about my starter. I was given a 50% starter. I absolutely love it!! It is so relaxing to knead it while feeding, it’s easy to work with, I can let it sit in my fridge and rise so it doesn’t die in my hot home (90-95 degrees) and isn’t nearly as messy. I have one HUGE problem, however. I cannot find recipes that use it. Is there a way to use my starter in your recipes? All of yours look so darn good, I would really like to make them.

Monika

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Please help me my sourdough bread always comes out sour . i did float test . how can i get no sour sourdough bread . Thanks

Butter For All

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hi Monika,

You need to work on your starter. Feed it every 12 hours to help balance the bacteria to yeast. A bacteria heavy starter will be more sour. You want to encourage the yeast by feeding it more often. Watch this video where I explain how this works - https://youtu.be/M2w1f5sjAvc

Hope it helps,

Courtney

Beth

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Hi thank you for sharing. Is there anyway to print all the pages in one document without cutting and pasting?

Butter For All

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hi Beth,

I don't have this available to print at this time. But I may create a PDF in the future since I've had a lot of requests! Get on my mailing list and I'll make sure you get notified when it becomes available. Thanks for the feedback!

Courtney

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