ragnar roos

[rang'nar ro:s]

Sourdough starter

The key to baking bread successfully.

This is my way of creating a sustainable sourdough. I've found that using ecological, fresh flour, ground using a stone mill, significantly increases the taste and abilities compared to using conventional flour. That said, conventional flour has given me acceptable results as well.

Day 1

1 dl rye flour.
1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade).

Stir the water into the flour in a jar made of glass or stainless steel. Cover slightly and put to rest in a warm place for three days. Stir the mixture twice a day.

Day 4, morning

1.5 dl rye flour.
1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade).

Add the water and the flour into the mixture from day 1. Cover lightly and put to rest for 12h.

Day 4, evening

1.5 dl rye flour.
1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade).

Add the water and the flour into the sour dough. Cover lightly and put to rest over night.

The sourdough starter is no ready to use for baking bread or for replenishing.

There are several ways of sustaining the sourdough. As long as you have 0.5 dl sourdough or a few tsp. of dried sourdough, you can always replenish it by adding 1.5 dl rye flour and 1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade) and putting to rest over night.

Freezing

Sourdough in the freezer can be a life saver. Frozen sourdough will stay usable for years. I usually freeze sourdough in plastic bags - 1.5 dl sourdough in each. This makes it easy to create really thin packages that thaw quickly. Let the sourdough thaw thoroughly before using it. The accumulated cold in a frozen sourdough can prevent it from replenishing.

To replenish, Thaw the frozen sourdough. Add 1.5 dl rye flour and 1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade). Stir, cover slightly and put to rest over night.

Refrigerate

Fresh sour dough will stay usable for up to three weeks in a cool Refrigerator (5 degrees centigrade). As time goes by, the acidity of the sourdough will increase, giving any bread baked with the sourdough a sharper, more pronounced sourdough taste. At the same time the yeasing quality will fade. If you bake at regular intervals of one to three weeks, using up and replenishing a refrigerated sourdough is ideal.

To replenish, keep 0.5-1 dl of sourdough. Add 1.5 dl rye flour and 1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade). Stir, cover slightly and put to rest over night.

Drying

Dried sourdough will stay usable forever. Care has to be taken to ensure that it gets properly dissolved in liquid prior to use. Spread the sourdough onto a baking sheet and allow to dry fully at a warm place, preferrably in an oven set to minimum heat with the oven door left slightly open. When the sourdough is has dried, cut or break the large cake into smaller pieces. Grind these in a mortar and store in a jar in a dry place.

To replenish, add a few tsp. dried sourdough to a glass jar. Add 1.5 dl rye flour and 1 dl water (40 degrees centigrade). Stir, cover slightly and put to rest over night.

Tips

Smell into the jar once a day to ensure the sourdough is maturing properly. It should have a fresh, slightly sour smell. If the smell reminds you of something rotting, discard and start over.

A tablespoon of honey is an ancient trick to increase the abilities of the sourdough. An additional effect is a rounder taste.

Adding 5 g. fresh yeast to the sourdough in day 1 increases the baking abilities of the sourdough. If you don't plan on using additional yeast in your breads, this could be worth testing.