I was rather incapacitated for quite some time this past month. That meant that my sourdough starter that I had safely stored in the fridge was a bit neglected. Normally, if storing it in the fridge, I like to feed it once a week. Simply add 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water. Stir. Set back in the fridge.
So when it sat unattended for about TWO weeks I was apprehensive about the viability of the yeast and was pleased when, after removing the lid, I smelled the aroma of its natural alcohol caused by the yeast fermentation. (Please notice that when the starter has been in the fridge for awhile, it comes out looking rather bad! A brownish liquid will cover the top and you will need to stir all together again. Notice the aroma at this stage...it will smell fermenty or like alcohol. Smell it each time and you will recognize this 'good' smell versus a 'gone bad' smell.) After stirring back to a smooth consistency, I fed it as usual, and Voila! It's still Alive!
So I left it on the counter for a couple more days, feeding it morning and evening, adding to its volume. You can see the bubbles caused by the fermentation. (Click on the photo for a closer view.)
Then I took a cup of the starter, added about a cup of flour and a dab of water, and started a sponge for a loaf of bread. (The rest of the starter remained in its bowl for later use.) The sponge rises for several hours after which I really get lazy. A TRUE sourdough afficianado would at this point stir in BY HAND additional white flour, perhaps a dab of sugar, salt and perhaps even a dab of yeast, knead only lightly, and let rise to a sourdough loaf.
But I am a lazy cook and so I placed my sponge in the bread machine, added an assortment of ingredients (white flour,whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, teaspoon of yeast) and let the machine do the kneading. However, I NEVER bake in the machine for I hate the super-crusty result. After the machine did the kneading I let the dough rise once, punched down, and placed in a loaf pan to rise again.
I usually bake about 23 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Then I place a thermometer in the loaf to watch it bake to an internal temp of 190-200 degrees. Then it is DONE! Yum, Again!
To catch up on my ventures with sourdough you can simply click here to read previous posts and to read the post where I obtained my original sourdough starter. If you live within driving distance, I'll be happy to share you a sample of the starter and some written instructions. My friend Melva will be a recipient....just as soon as I get myself into gear! Her girls will love this project! And her family loves homemade bread!
Don't forget! In regard to bread, today's Scripture is John 6:33-35. You can place your cursor over the scripture to read the pop-up.