Friday, February 7, 2014

sourdough starter; five years and counting

if you have been reading this blog, you know i am a bit of a gardener.  okay, i spend a lot of time in the garden.  more than once, i have spent entire mornings that stretched into the early afternoon working in a garden.  it isn't hard to do if you have the right company and the ladies i work with out at the demonstration garden make it fun to be there-no matter how muddy and buggy it can sometimes be.

mud and bugs; sounds heavenly after all of this cold, miserable weather!  to keep busy until the season changes, i spend my time indoors baking.  one of my favorite things is sourdough bread, especially when it is freshly baked with some of my own organic grape starter.

making starter is a lot easier than you think.  the hardest part is finding organic grapes.  luckily for me, i was able to pick them off the vine in the garden and since i work in that garden, i knew exactly what the grapes had been treated with-absolutely nothing!  if you aren't lucky enough to pick your own, you will have to source them at a grocery store that has a good selection of organic fruit.  you also want them to be as fresh as possible.  a really good starter recipe is the one attributed to nancy silverton.  to make my starter, i followed this recipe to the letter and five years later, it still works!
as a starter is fed and used, it needs to be replaced.  an easy way to do this is to measure your flour and pour it into a small bowl.  add your water and stir to form a thick dough.

this simple dough is all the starter needs!  usually a feeding is all you need to get it ready to make a loaf of bread.  a good, strong starter, like mine, can sit in the fridge for several months and still have the strength to leaven a loaf of bread.  my most recent loaf of sourdough bread was a pane pugliese.  the complete recipe and step by step photos can be found here.

so, until the weather shifts and it warms up, a lot, i will be in the kitchen tending to my starter and dreaming of muddy days in the garden with friends...


  1. My poor sourdough of two plus years finally kicked the bucket this winter after some extreme negligence on my behalf. I haven't finished castigating myself enough to start over. I am now curious about the grape starter - Nancy Silverton's advice on anything bread is usually spot on.

    1. that recipe is a good one, it really works providing you have organic, untreated grapes. however, if you want some of mine, i could easily send you a jar. it should easily ship in cold weather!