Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ferment: Sourdough Starter

I am joining Tara Austen Weaver in her Sourdough Challenge found on her blog, Tea + Cookies.  My house is kept at a balmy 67 degrees in the winter, so I used her oven light method for my heat source.  I kept checking the temperature of my empty, light on oven throughout the day and was worried that I couldn't keep the starter at the recommended 70-80 degrees.  As seen in my photo above, I gave the starter a jump start in my open slow cooker, using the "warm" setting to get the starter to 80 degrees.  My meat thermometer is pierced through the plastic wrap, which is loosely covering my canning jar filled with starter.  I moved it to my unheated oven, where the light for the oven has kept it at 80 degrees.  I used 1/3 cup of rye flour and 1/4 of reverse osmosis water from our tap.  Let's hope this works!

 I have been reading about making a special sourdough starter, Biga, which uses grapes as part of the starter.  Our grapevine produced very well last summer and I hope to create my own biga this year.  I really like the thought of having a flavorful sourdough uniquely made by the fruits of my labor, so to speak.

Winter grapevine

Pizza will be the first use of my (hopefully) successful sourdough starter later this week.  I've placed my order for more spelt flour from our local coop and like spelt's multi grain aspects without being too heavy.  Other recipes that I hope to try:

Berkeley sourdough bread

Sourdough Black Forest Cake

Cranberry-Oat Sourdough Scones

Are you tempted to join the sourdough challenge?


  1. Awesome! I would really like to make my own spelt sourdough bread. Bread is the one convenience food that I get, but I so love the smell of freshly baked bread! Have I told you that I have a wholesale account through Berlin Bakery that our co-op orders through? They have all sorts of spelt products and they sell flour too. It is all local. Let me know if you want the info.

  2. I am tempted! ;-) I just had my Saltspring Island cookbook out yesterday (when my son was making bread) and was thinking that we should try sourdough again. Your oven light method sounds promising. Going to follow that link. Thanks.