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Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

July 12, 2009

Clean hands, clean utensils, clean counter, loving heart

Step 1:  Combine 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl (a cereal bowl is fine) and mix with a spoon.  When well-combined, knead for several minutes into a small ball.  You may add a little more flour if necessary.  The ball should feel firm, like bread dough.  Your starter is ready to begin fermenting.  Place it in a coffee or tea mug and cover with a damp dishcloth.  Set it aside and leave it alone.

Step 2:  After a day, check the starter.  You’re looking for a moist, wrinkled, crusty top surface.  When you pull it open, the starter should have a sweet, almost nutty aroma and tiny little bubbles.  If it does, move on to the next step.  If not, set it aside for another day and recheck.  When it is as described, go to the next step.

Step 3:  Remove any hardened crust or very darkened bits from the starter.  Place in a small bowl and add 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 4 tablespoons water.  Mix and knead.  Cover and set aside for a day or two.

Step 4:  You’re looking for the same thing as in step 2.  When the dough is wrinkled and moist, and smells a bit sour, throw away any hardened crust.  Add 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 2 T. water.  Mix and knead.  Add more flour if needed to make a firm dough.

Step 5:  Let starter stand, covered, for 8-12 hours OR place in an airtight container and refrigerate until the night before you’re ready to bake.  If you put it in the refrigerator, you will need to take it out the night before you start making bread to let it come to room temperature.  Either way, when you’re ready to bake, again remove any crusty dough or very dark bits.  Check to see that you have a ball of dough at least as large as a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball.  If you have too much, pull some off and throw it away (or share it with a friend).




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