Organic Emily

Caring For Your Natural Yeast Starter

sourdough starter 1

It is amazing to me that I have been able to keep my natural yeast starter alive for years. I learned a few tricks that make it easier and happy to share them with you.  I bought my starter from a friend who bought it from another friend who said it is a strain that is over 200 years old from Czechoslovakia.  Take it for what it’s worth, my experience has been that this is the best mild tasting natural yeast I have ever baked with.

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First, my starter is fed with a biologically grown whole wheat white flour (no pesticides are used). You could use an organic white flour too. I have tried other grains and it just doesn’t do as well. White flour is best.

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Second, when adding water to your yeast you must never use chlorinated water. This kills the yeast 9 times out of 10. If all you have is chlorinated tap water let it sit on your counter for an hour so the chlorine dissipates.

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Before each use stir your starter.  If you haven’t used it in a while pour off the liquid (ethanol) and scrape off any gray dough. Stir and use. If it has been a month (or two) between uses consider taking out ½ cup, discard the rest, and feed with 2 cups flour and 2 cups water to renew and boost. (You may need to transfer to a bowl). Leave on the counter overnight, it should bubble up and smell good. From there you can use it. Do not keep your starter in any metal container. Glass or ceramic is best.

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Feed it after each use. Make it thick enough so a stirring stick or spoon can stand on it’s own so it has plenty of food to eat and keep in the fridge. We make 6 loaves of bread at a time. This takes out 1 and 1/2 cups of the starter from the jar. I usually feed it 1 cup water and 1 and a half cups flour to make it thick. The measurements do not have to be exact. I put plastic wrap over mine because it does need some air to grow unlike other fermented foods. From the picture above you can see that I have removed the rubber liner on my large jar. I allow the lid to sit un-closed on the jar and place in the fridge.

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If you are interested in purchasing some of my sourdough starter in a quart sized Mason jar for $8 send me a message from my contact page. Starters are for sale for pick up only in Utah.

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, yoga/pilates instructor, a clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist and soon to be traditional naturopath. She is a very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

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