Friday, February 11, 2011

Starting a new Starter

2010 August bread disaster
A disaster
2010 July Sourdough experiment starts
A little less of a disaster
2010 November bread
A beautiful loaf at last

I think I would describe myself as a tactile person. I like to get really involved in the garden, the kitchen, the art room, and I usually wear the evidence on my face, grubby hands and clothes. I love to experience life through my senses.

I was prompted to try making my own sourdough bread last year after I began researching a low Glycemic Index (GI) diet to help improve my skin. The process of fermentation which occurs in sourdough has many beneficial effects on the flour/grains. I won't be able to explain it very well but this lady over at Nourishing Gourmet has done a lot of the research and explains it well here (will insert link later, having some trouble...)

I had a few failed attempts as you'll see in the first 2 pictures before Natalie's mum stepped in to help. She kindly offered me some of her starter and a proven recipe which helped me to achieve a beautiful loaf. I've since left that starter with my mum who is now regularly making fruity toast which she and dad enjoy for breakfast.

2 days ago I began a new starter from scratch - simply mixing 1 cup of organic rye (organic is preferably as you want to encourage growth of GOOD bacteria which might otherwise be inhibited by traces of pesticide), with 1 cup filtered warm water. Mix well and leave in a warm place in a bowl covered with cheesecloth. Even though it's cold and wet here today it is quite warm beside the heater vent. Each day I mix in equal parts flour and water to feed it. This morning I was excited to see that after only 2 days it has begun to bubble and ferment. Within a week I should have an excellent, slightly smelly culture so I can begin my bread.

Bread making can be a little fiddly for beginners, and sourdough especially as it requires long times to rise in between, but I think this quote sums up nicely why I enjoy it:

“Someone once asked me why I bother mixing and shaping my bread by hand. I didn’t have the words to answer them, nor could I understand why they didn’t just know. I will not let my fingers be reduced to simply button-pressing, dial-twirling or switch-flicking. There is no instrument in my bag of baker’s tools more useful and adaptable that my tow hands, and as long as I can use them to make and shape bread, I will.”

Dan Lepard in the Introduction to his book “The Handmade Loaf".

This afternoons project is my first attempt to make some mozzarella cheese from scratch...


  1. Love your blogs Sharolyn

  2. Great success Sharolyn! Well done on making your own starter. And I don't think you needed an answer to why you make your own bread. Just offer them a piece of freshly baked bread!


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