Sourdough From Scratch :: day four

Find the full “Sourdough From Scratch” series here and make your very own sourdough yeast starter!

Well, we are over halfway through our little adventure in sourdough bread makin’. Wile preparing for the next step today, I noticed my layer of yellow liquid was much larger than yesterday. It also was not as cloudy.

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Today let’s just pour off our extra liquid as usual, add one cup of flour, and one cup of cold water. Mix until your new flour is well moistened. Easy right?! Yesterday I recommended using cheesecloth as a strainer to pour off the extra liquid and it worked very well again today. Just be sure to take it slow so that you don’t just remix the extra liquid back into your main mixture.

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We are so close to baking this as bread! Just a few more days. You know, the longer you keep this starter going, the better it tastes.

Goodbye and Welcome

In fifteen days our dear Thistle and sweet Clementine will be heading off to their new home in Southern California. In exchange, we will be bringing home a “new to us” buck and doe. Why you ask? We have been searching high and low for the last year for an unrelated buck to continue on in our breeding program. Thistle, altough a wonderfuly entertaining rabbit, is half-brother to Dandelion and sire/father to both Seven of Nine and Blackberry. Since he is the rabbit most related to the rest of our rabbits we have decided to trade him for a buck of the same age.

Clementine is being traded for a younger doe. Not because I really wanted to trade her, but because this may be my only opportunity for awhile to get ahold of a doe that is not related to any of my current rabbits in any way. French angoras are very limited here on the West Coast both in numbers and in genetic diversity. The young lady I am trading rabbits with is stuck with only black rabbits and was very excited to trade for a doe that can produce tortoiseshell colors.

I am so sad to see two of my original three rabbits go, but it is a necessary step in breeding for healthy rabbits with beautiful wool. I think I will miss Clementine the most. She has such a kind, outgoing personality and she was such an excellent mother last spring. Trevor and Cami I’m sure will miss Thistle the most. They like his silly, carefree attitude and friendly disposition. We love you Thistle and Clementine and we hope your new home is as warm and happy as we have tried to make ours.

We have already picked out our new buck, but we will have two ruby-eyed white does to choose from when we meet up to trade. Our new buck’s name is Obsidian. He is a self black which means that he is a solid-colored rabbit instead of a tortoiseshell like we are used to. His wool appears to be grey because the color fades the longer the wool gets. He looks awfully handsome though doesn’t he?

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Sourdough From Scratch :: day three

Find the full “Sourdough From Scratch” series here and make your very own sourdough yeast starter!

This morning my starter was looking a little creepy.

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See all of that dark liquid sitting on top? That is what we are pouring off everyday. Here is what one of our readers, Melissa’s starter looked like today. If you have been following along no matter what day you’re on, post a picture to our Facebook group, Buckwheat Society, or email me a picture and I will feature it here.

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Melissa’s starter on day 3

Let’s get to work for day three! Pour off your extra liquid. I used some extra cheesecloth doubled up against the top of my jar and then tilted the jar to pour the liquid out without dumping all of my main mixture out. It worked pretty well so if you’re at a loss for how to pour off just the liquid, try keeping some spare cheesecloth taut against the top.

Once your extra liquid is poured out, add one cup of flour and one cup of water. Mix the new flour in until it is well moistened. Replace your single layer cheesecloth and rubberband on top.

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If your jar is getting too small, feel free to use a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl to finish out the week. Once you start using your starter to bake bread you will only be adding a quarter-cup of flour and water every few days. So you won’t always need a container this large. Remember too not to use metal or plastic in either storing your starter or baking your sourdough bread. Sourdough is acidic and will react with metal and plastic. With that in mind, start looking for a ceramic or glass baking dish to bake your sourdough bread in at the end of the week!

See you tomorrow for day four!

Sourdough From Scratch :: day two

Find the full “Sourdough From Scratch” series here and make your very own sourdough yeast starter!

Day two. So you may not have noticed much of a difference in the last 24 hours, but that’s okay. Again, we’re only on day two. It will probably still smell like flour and water although mine smells a little sweet. That will change soon enough I’m sure.

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First thing we are going to do is look for some separation. In the picture above you can see a little liquid floating on top of the rest of the mixture. Pour off any dark liquid so that only your main mixture remains.

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That is the hardest part.

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Now just add one cup of flour and one cup of water into your jar. Mix together with a wooden spoon so that all of your new flour is well moistened. That’s it!

This same step is repeated over the next five days. Pour off liquid; add flour and water. It is super easy, but I will still be posting each day individually so that we can track any oddities or smells or just general experience in watching this wild yeast take hold in the starter.

See you tomorrow!

Sourdough From Scratch :: day one

Find the full “Sourdough From Scratch” series here and make your very own sourdough yeast starter!

Day one! Isn’t this exciting! I realize that I’m not the first person to ever make a sourdough yeast starter, but it is the first time I have ever done something like this. To be perfectly honest, I am still halfway stuck in the “natural bacteria is gross” mentality. Chicken poop on eggs is gross, growing your own fungi for food is gross, yeast from the air is gross. Since I grew up nowhere near a farm I find myself now as an adult a little afraid to jump right into the curiosities of farm life. Luckily I am also the type of person who will try anything once, so I have allowed myself to discover the freshness and flavor of homegrown food.

I would be all scientific and tell you exactly how this works. But I don’t really know the details. From what I understand, there are natural yeasts in the air and by “feeding” these yeasts flour and water, you create a natural leavening agent. If you want to correct me… Feel free. I’d appreciate your input.

Phew! Confession over. Let’s grow yeast.

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Get your supplies together:
* clean glass or ceramic jar of either half-gallon or full-gallon size
* two cups of flour (some people have had success with whole wheat, rye, spelt, you name it)
* two cups of cold water (preferably filtered)
* cheesecloth
* rubberband
* wooden spoon (wooden only; metal will react with the yeast)

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Pour in the two cups of flour followed by the two cups of cold water. Mix them well with your wooden spoon. The mixture should look fairly soupy.

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Now just cover the top of your jar with the cheesecloth and secure it on with a rubberband. Last minute I couldn’t locate my rubberband so I just tied on some stretchy fabric. Improvisation has always been my friend. The cheesecloth is allowing the yeast into your mixture while keeping unwanted dust and bugs out. I thought it was in good measure to double my cheesecloth up since it looked like it had pretty big spaces.

Now just sit your jar somewhere warm until tomorrow when we add more flour and water. See you tomorrow for step two.