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Sourdough!

From left: dry flour, starter, dechlorinated water

Today I’ve turned the reins of Jeff’s Quarantine Kitchen over to the boss (I surely have come to understand which side of the bread is buttered), because she is the baker extraordinaire in this confederacy of equals. When it comes to baking I am truly only the woke little sous-y (see what I did there?).

For several years we’ve entertained the notion of doing a sourdough, but because none of us REALLY need all the bread we’d have to bake to keep a sourdough starter alive and productive, and the thought of discarding food is inherently foreign to my training and my sensibility, we’ve never really considered it seriously.

Until now.

In my constant quest for the next new and different cooking challenge—the latest, greatest take on mac and cheese holds absolutely no interest for me—I stumbled across a take on a small-batch sourdough starter that seems to be both workable from a task standpoint (we surely didn’t wish to become slaves to the idea of keeping yet another creature alive) and manageable in terms of quantity (and really, could this sentence be any more complex and befuddling? I’d like to see Miss Appleby try to diagram this baby).

But I digress (I hate when I do that). Sourdough!

The guy calls himself “The Pressured Prepper,” and he has a whole YouTube channel chock full of ideas for when the SHTF (google it). I haven’t located a web site for the guy, but his videos are, to say the least, entertaining. He posits that a credible sourdough starter can be made and maintained with just a tiny bit of flour and water and no added yeast. I showed the video to E., and she was intrigued. So we’ve tried it. I did find that (and he did reference) a similar idea on the King Arthur Flour (heretofore referred to as KAF) web site, so it really must be a thing.

So here’s the scoop: The Pressured Prepper says to combine three tablespoons of flour—he suggests a mix of bread and whole wheat flours, and a bit of rye flour if you have it on hand— with two tablespoons of dechlorinated water, and mix well in a pint-size canning jar, cover and set it on the counter at room temperature (dechlorinated water is just really tap water that has sat overnight in an open container, so that the chlorine gas evaporates). The mix of flour—it doesn’t want any all-purpose flour—provides the starter additional capabilities for capturing wild yeasts that are in the air. The Prepper goes on to say that you can speed up the process by using pineapple juice instead of water, and adding just a pinch of active dry yeast.

This morning E opted for the quick-start method, and made her original starter (pictured above) using three tablespoons of a 50-50 blend of bread and whole-wheat flours, two tablespoons of pineapple juice, and that pinch of yeast (she said that it felt a bit like cheating, but wanted to give it every chance of succeeding). Now we’ll let it sit on the counter in the jar. The directions say to feed the starter three tablespoons of flour and two tablespoons of water once a day.

So that’s what we’ll do.

My plan is to try to blog something every day here in the JQK, so the likelihood is that you will get daily updates on the progress of this small-batch sourdough starter.

Here’s hoping, and we’ll see you soon. Stay well, be careful, and WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

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