READY! STARTER! DOUGH!
Okay, the longgggg awaited sourdough post/recipe which humans have been asking me for. I'm no sourdough expert (I say it humbly, but I really am not. Okay, maybe I'm half expert. HAHAHA). I'm honestly still trying to perfect my sourdough skills and experimenting with a lot of different flavours. Today, I'm starting on the starter journey recipe first while I start consolidating my sourdough recipe in the next post!
This is a long post, but yes most sourdough posts are because it is a long process! It is necessary to read through this (including my rant) because that's how much I've read and researched on sourdough recipes. HAHAHA.
Anyway, I was kinda reluctant to share recipes (although it was so easy to share) for the following reasons;
1. I had a slight hatred towards these humans who started hoarding my flour because they were bored during quarantine. I was low on flour for about 2 weeks and I had quite a few panic attacks.
2. Baking is something I've done for almost all of my adult years and I did it with SUCH FIERCE PASSION and I have the utmost respect and love for it. But now, it takes some stupid coco(vid) to get everybody bored and BECAUSE they are bored, they are trying their hands on it and making me they're RUINING THE SACRED BAKING THAT I LOVE SO MUCH. WHY CAN'T THEY PICK UP CLEANING AS A HOBBY OR CLEARING THEIR RUBBISH AS A HOBBY.
3. I go through SOOoOoooOO many experiments with the recipes, spend so much time researching and cross-referencing...that why must these people have it easy?!
BUT! It took me awhile but I've come to terms that these humans are trying to entertain themselves during these weird times. And at the end of the day, I'm a soft-hearted, kind and generous although angsty human. There are people whom I like (mostly igfriends) that ask for the recipe, and because they've been so supportive of me...I want to be a nice and kind human. LOL.
Okay enough of my angsty rant and here are some helpful tips (for real, helpful and this isn't a ploy to ruin your bread process. OR...maybe it is >:) )
SOURDOUGH STARTER JOURNEY
In my years of baking, I think I've gone through 5-6 sourdough starters which I've always named it Bread Pit. So these batches of sourdough were all grown when I was living back at home in Singapore, most of them grew well except for one unfortunate one that grew mould on it. Yes, mould. If you see mould, please discard the ENTIRE starter and restart! Also, I went through a few batches because I was not successful at making a good sourdough loaf and I gave up feeding the starter so I had to restart every time I feel determined again.
Making your own sourdough starter is really simple, and there are a lot of blogs out there for a basic starter. So I won't go through the details, but I'll provide some tips and methods from my own experience. Then, you can scuttle off to the real baker blogs such as this for more structured recipes.
Always start with 1-1 ratio of flour and water. A lot of recipes call for a larger quantity of flour and water (e.g. 100g flour & 100g water), but I start mine with 30g of flour and 30g of water. You'll have to discard HALF of your starter every time you feed it, and this is the exact reason why I start with a smaller quantity because I get to discard less and I get to slowly build it up over the 7-10 day period which an average sourdough take to ripen.
I recommend you use a weighing scale the first few days, but after that you will get kinda get the hang of your starter and know the consistency in which it should be. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter (if you haven't make pancakes before, I can't help you there. LOL. Maybe you should start with making pancakes first. Kidding).
The first few days of the starter journey, you'll see A LOT of bubbly activity in your jar. And it will STINK (at least when I was in Singapore, it was reallyyyy smelly and smelled like puke). But my starter here in Montreal didn't stink at all. These are just bacteria in the jar, NOT yeast.
You may see slow and little (few and small bubbles) activity but fret not! It is not dead, don't give up on it! It is just the natural yeast fighting with the bacteria in the starter. Continue feeding it!
You'll start to see more activity again and it definitely smells much nicer, a slight hint of sourness and smells like bread/beer smell. That's what you're going for.
To test if your sourdough starter is ripe, take a little of it and throw into a cup full of water. If it is a floater, you're ready to start your sourdough journey and be like the rest of the humans and we can all be unspecial together!
Maintaining your starter
Most humans don't bake a loaf every single day, probably once a week. So if you're doing that once a week, feed your starter, close the lid and put it in the fridge. Feed it once a week or so.
When you see a dark liquid (hooch) above your starter, it is just the dark spirit of the starter calling you to FEED IT! It is HUNGRY. You can choose to throw the dark liquid away or mix it back in. For me, I mix it back in.
When you want to bake, remove from fridge, feed it and let is riseeeeeee.
Also, during the maintenance phase, I don't discard half of the starter but merely 1 tablespoon of it every feed and I just add on 15g of flour + 15g of water. Like I said, I'm a very easy-going baker so I usually eyeball the consistency. And if my jar gets too full, I discard a few tablespoons and adjust the addition of flour/water accordingly till i get similar consistency.
15g All-Purpose flour
1. In your jar, mix flour and water together. Cover with lid and leave it in a warmer part of your house.
You can substitute half of the flour with wholemeal flour. The yeast thrives in wholemeal flour. But if you don't have it is okay, AP flour works just fine!
Day 2 - 7
1. Remove half of it and add on additional 15g flour, water.
Repeat this until it ripens! It should take about 7-10 days.
GOOD LUCK! I felt kinda excited writing this knowing that people will be excited for their starter to grow!!