This lead to me scouring my library for the perfect sourdough starter recipe... Hi, My name is Jen, and I'm addicted to cook books... (this is where you say, "Hi, Jen!"... you know, just in case you've never been to one of these meetings before)
I consulted the Holy Bible of cook books (at least in my humble little library)... The Joy of Cooking... It has quite a few starter recipes, one that uses yeast to get it going and one that allows it to ferment (sour) over time... I went with the second option, hoping to obtain a more authentic flavor in the final product.
All you need is bread flour (check!) and water (check!). That's it... Oh, and patience... And maybe a little bit of skill.... This will take quite a few days to get to a point where I can actually bake a test loaf. I have about 3 weeks before the in-laws descend, so I figure if the first batch doesn't go well, I still have time to make a new batch.
Take a clean bowl and add 1/2 c. bread flour and 1/4 c. "barely lukewarm water (80 degrees)" and mix thoroughly. I underestimated the process for getting cold, clean water to warm up to 80 degrees... I ended up microwaving some water (ended at 102 degrees) and waited for it to cool... This took about 1 and a half episodes of Bones on Netflix to do... Probably about an hour, but it felt longer than that...
|Water too hot... Flour ready to go!|
|Not "quite" 80 degrees, but close enough... got a little impatient...|
Then it said to "turn it out onto a clean surface (unfloured) work surface and knead the dough using the heel of one hand until it is smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes"... Um... yeah... It's really sticky... and makes a whole lot of mess... and I'm not sure if I actually reached the "smooth and elastic" state described in the text... (and before you start ragging on me for the quantity of water in the measuring cup being WAY more than 1/4 c, I measured out a 1/4 cup from the measuring cup and added that to the flour...)
|Sticky, sticky mess...|
|Messy, messy counter...|
You then need to return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and punch 4-5 holes in the plastic.
|Evil, sticky mess, back in the bowl (where it belongs)|
|Try not to take out too much of your frustration on the plastic wrap...|
|Final product for day 1...|
This is the final product (at least for now)... Before I go to work tomorrow, I'll "feed" it again with the same proportions of flour and water, but this time, the water just needs to be room temperature. According to the text, I don't have to knead it again until it is actually "bread"...