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  • Writer's picturetheruralcreative

Sourdough & Seedling Season

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

Earlier this week I finished planting all my seedings for a garden. I got quite carried away when buying seeds so needless to say our garden is going to be HUGE! You can see in this photo just a few of the many many heirloom pepper varieties I will be trying out. Last year we had great success with our peppers so i am very excited for this year! I LOVE spicy food and trying all these different flavors of peppers is so much fun come harvest time! But more about the garden later...


Heirloom Pepper Seedlings 2020


So my garden went fairly well last year but my first attempt at Sourdough bread... well... not so much. My mom had given me some of her starter and I really tried to make it work with semi-successful loaves but nothing I can say I was really proud of. So last weekend while flipping through Facebook posts one of my friends posted about how easy it was to make your own starter. So I thought why not give it another try since I do have time on my hands with the quarantine and all. It was SUPER easy to start! All you need is flour and water and of course patience!


Basically all you need to do is mix 1/2 cup of unbleached flour with about 4 Tablespoons of non-chlorinated water which is easy for us because we have well water. I just put the flour and water into a pint size mason jar and whipped it up with a fork. You want to make sure you get any lumps out from the flour. You cannot put a lid on tight because the natural yeast as it grows creates air bubbles so I used my fermentation lid and it worked great! The ones I have I think we got at Fleet Farm last year to ferment my garden peppers to make hot sauces last year.



Then you want to keep the jar in a warm place that stays between about 80-85 degrees. I was reading about all the ways folks kept their starter at this temp and not really finding them convenient. Then it occurred to me I could use my seed warming pad!


Sourdough starter on seed warming pad. 2020


It worked great!!! And is sooooo convenient right now with the seedlings taking up space anyways! Here is a link to the seedling warming pad I have but I am sure any one would work! This worked like magic!


This one is a two pack but they do have singles available... Seedling Warming Pads


So to build your starter you when you see a slightly brown liquid (called hootch) begin to form on top or in the center of the jar it needs to be fed.


It is super simple to feed your starter:

1. Pour off the hootch if it is on top then remove about half of the starter and rinse down sink or make some pancakes with it.

2. Add a half cup of unbleached flour and about 4T of non-chlorinated water.

3. Whip it up with a fork again to get rid of any lumps and scrap any excess into the starter.


If the jar starts getting too crusty just put a clean one and wash the old one.


Starter that is ready for baking! 2020


Usually you feed your starter about every 24 hours but because the heating pad was working so well I was able to feed mine about every 12 hours and had starter that was ready to bake within 3 days instead of a week! You know your starter is ready when you fill a bowl with water and take a small amount of the starter and drop it into the bowl. If the starter floats it is ready! If it sinks you need to build it for longer and/or you missed your baking window and the starter has fallen after being nice and bubbly like the photo above.

If this happens no big deal just remove half and feed as you normally would.



Since I had starter ready but figured the flavor would not have developed quite yet I decided to make some dough for pizza.


I used this recipe from in Jennie's Kitchen


All the ingredients are measured by weight using a kitchen scale. I thought the dough was a bit wet but I easily worked in enough while kneading to get a nice soft dough ball to form.



The dough then needs to go in the fridge for at least 8 hours to develop flavor using a slow proofing method. I will be leaving mine in for at least 2 days. I made this yesterday so likely I will try my first crust tomorrow. I will keep you posted on my progress!


Since I am new to this if anyone has any other tips or tricks I would LOVE to hear them!

Danica

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