Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Sourdough Starters Make a Terrific Gift

My Order Page is HERE

I have sold a lot of sourdough starters over the last two years and have not yet had an unhappy customer. Admittedly, sourdough may not seem like it is for everyone. For example, if you live in a hot climate like a couple of my customers in Costa Rica, it is almost impossible to work with due to the heat. Other areas of the US it works best in winter, especially for those of you down south. This may be why over fifty percent of my sales are to folks in Canada.

Currently I have ten starters in all with one of them being a non-sour starter meant for basic bread baking. All of the starters are professionally packaged and come with two sets of instructions (On the back label of the packet and included with the recipes).

There are many different ways to use sourdough as the recipes on my blog and those included with the instructions can attest to. There are also many recipes available by simply doing a Google search. One of those recipes, HERE , was recently recommended by customer John Combs.

Try just one starter for only $4 ($4.70 for Canadians - postage costs more). You cannot go wrong. If you need help making up your mind try my very own Wasatch Willy's Sourdough Starter and then go from there. You will not be sorry or sad you did. I guarantee it. My Order Page is HERE

Anyway, I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Bill Karoly
aka Wasatch Willy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Three New Starters and New Buying Options

Three New Starters!
I have added three new starters:

Sierra Gold - From California Wine Country
Quinn Hartley's Kern County Sourdough Starter
Chef Don's Megaheart Sourdough Starter

New Purchasing Options!
I have also added new purchasing options. You can now buy just one, any two, any four or all ten starters.

There was a problem with the four pack ordering for Canadian customers not working but it is now fixed.

Order Here

Recent Loaves Using Quinn Hartley's

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three New Sourdough Starters

I now have three new sourdough starters. All are from California. They are:

Sierra Gold 
Made from wine grapes from a vineyard southeast of Sacramento, California in the the Sierra Foothills. Has a Mild sour taste and gives a lively rise to any sourdough recipe.

Chef Don's Sourdough Starter
This is from grapes grown near Auburn, California. I would call it a medium sour and it too has a good lively rise action. I recently made pancakes with this starter and they were delicious.

Quinn Hartley's Kern County Sourdough Starter
The south central San Joaquin Valley is home to some of the largest table grape growers in North America. Quinn Hartley's sourdough starter comes from some of these grapes grown up against the Sierra Foothills. It has a nice sour smell and taste and is very active.

These starters have now been added to the Order Page.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Sourdough Method is Different - It's Not A Wet Process

My style of making sourdough is different than what some might think of when they envision a loaf of sourdough. I would love to make sourdough the wet method way but it requires space in the fridge and frankly that is something we just do not have right now so instead I do it the dense loaf method. For me it works.

If you want the large holes throughout your loaves then you will need to go that route. My starters will work just fine for either method because many of my customers are doing just that. 

Wasatch Willy's Sourdough - A Fresh Loaf

The only thing missing is the most wonderful sourdough smell. But for that you can order your own starter and try it for yourself. I suggest ordering my Wasatch Willy's Great Salt Lake Sourdough Starter and Best Darn Old Alaskan Sourdough Starter. It is only $5 for the two in the USA or $5.70 in Canada. When you order you get recipes and activation instructions. 

When making bread with my sourdough starters do not use bread flour. Use unbleached all purpose white flour only. You can also use wheat flour as well. Keep in mind wheat flour intensifies the sourness of the bread and you may want to shorten the fermentation period of the dough. White flour fermentation is normally about 12 hours between 65-70 degrees F.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A New Easy Sourdough Hamburger Bun Recipe

Tomorrow we decided to have hamburgers for dinner and I decided to try a different recipe this time. I saw one recently posted online at Mother Earth News and this recipe is the inspiration.

You will get about 24-4" hamburger buns from this recipe.


  • 4 Cups Wasatch Willys Sourdough Starter fully active and stirred down before measuring
  • 1 Cube butter
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 4 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 7-8 Cups All Purpose Flour

Sourdough Hamburger Buns

In your mixer bowl combine the starter, softened butter, milk, beaten eggs, salt and sugar. Blend with your whisk attachment until smooth - like pancake batter. Replace the whisk with your dough hook and start to add the flour until the dough bunches up nicely and moves around the bowl. Run the mixer for about ten minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer and let it rest for ten to fifteen minutes. 

Grease and sprinkle two baking sheets with corn meal.

Briefly turn on your oven for about 30 seconds at 350 and turn on the light. Turn off the oven but leave the light on. Boil a small pot of water.

Divide the dough in half. Using a rolling pin flatten the first half of it out to about 1/2" thickness and cut out with a 4" circle cutter. Place the cut out dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Repeat for the second half.

Place the baking sheets and the small pot of boiling water into the slightly warmed oven for about two hours to proof the buns.

After two hours remove the baking sheets and the pan of water. Turn on the oven to 375F and bake for about 18 minutes. Having a baking stone will help to brown the bottoms of the buns. I found my buns came out brown on top but pale on the bottom. 

If you so choose you can prepare a watered down egg wash before baking and sprink.e the buns with sesame seeds.

I used the egg wash on both batches of my buns. One was with seeds and one was plain.

For more info on my Sourdough Starters
click the More Info Here button above or click here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Making Sourdough Bread Is Not Rocket Science

I started this blog in early 2012 and I regularly post articles praising the ease of baking with sourdough. I am constantly giving loaves of bread to my friends and almost always they remark, “Oh wow! That takes a long time to make, right?” and I invariably reply, “No, not really.” So what I am saying is do not be intimidated. The actual time you spend making sourdough itself is not that much because the majority of the time is spent by the fermentation process.

Sourdough can be intimidating until you get to know it. It’s a mind game really. There’s the feeding of the Starter, the initial making of the dough, the fermentation process that can take twelve or more hours and then the rise time. 

If you have a recipe that calls for yeast you should run away from it as fast as you can. Sourdough, if the starter is a good one, does not need added yeast. The flavor of the sourdough comes from the fermentation process and adding yeast robs it of that process, hence robbing it of the flavor as well.

Sourdough bread is really a simple recipe. Essentially it consists of the starter, quality water, salt and flour. That’s it.   I bake my bread in round loaves because they are the easiest for me to form and they fit in the oven better and I bake them on travertine tiles cut to fit on my oven rack. Not having a pizza peel I use a large steel spatula and place my loaves on aluminum foil coated in cooking spray and dusted with corn meal.

Here is my recipe. I usually make it in my Bosch mixer rather than by hand these days but when I was younger I would not shy from from doing it by hand.

Sourdough Bread Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Wasatch Willys Sourdough Starter Fed and bubbly
  • 3 Cups Spring Water room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8-9 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
In your mixer bowl combine the active and bubbly starter, bottled spring water and salt. Mix until blended using the dough hook. Add the flour until the dough no longer clings to the sides of the bowl and springs back to the touch. Run the mixer for another ten minutes. 

Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Place it in a cool spot for at least twelve hours. I use my basement. In the summertime my basement is about 70 degrees and twelve hours seems to work perfectly but in the winter it’s closer to 60 and sixteen to eighteen hours is the average fermentation time.

Once the dough has fully risen to the top of the bowl and the fermentation time is up, remove it from the bowl and divide it into loaves. I use a digital scale to measure the dough into four equal parts. 

Form the dough into a ball and flatten it on your prepared surface. Then start grabbing the edges and pull it to the center forming a ball until the skin is nice and tight. Be careful not to pull too much or the skin of the dough will start to rip. Place the ball gathered side down onto a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Allow enough space for the loaves to raise but not touch each other. 

Score them with a sharp knife or lame in a cross pattern and cover with a damp cloth on top of the stove.

Now place your oven racks on the bottom two slots. If you have a small cast iron frying pan place this on the bottom rack. Set your oven to 475. If you have travertine tiles in the oven I suggest rather than using a baking sheet, cut aluminum foil into squares and use that instead. That way you can place the loaves directly onto the tiles and your bread will bake more evenly with a nice browning on the bottom.

If your kitchen is warm, it should only take an hour and a half for the bread to raise enough to pop in the oven. Before you do, however, boil two cups of water first. 

Place the loaves in the oven. Wearing an oven mitt, pour the boiling water into the pan on the bottom rack and slide it to the middle of the oven with a spatula. Close the oven door.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400F. Bake about 60 minutes. I have found my bread comes out perfectly with a nice thick reddish crust. I do not bother with either an egg or corn starch wash because I like my crust natural and crunchy.

Place the loaves on a cooling rack and allow at least twenty minutes to cool before slicing into them. 

Of the starters I sell on my blog, my favorites are my Wasatch Willy’s and the Best Darn Old Alaskan. Both are unique and I really enjoy the flavor they provide. 

Variation: One of the variations I like to do is add Kale to the Best Darn Old Alaskan. I go out to the garden and grab a handful and put it in the blender with the starter and some of the water until liquefied and then proceed with my standard bread recipe. The starter feeds off the Kale and gives it a Turbo Boost making it very flavorful with a green tinge.

My Starter

Baking on Travertine

A Lovely Loaf

Look At That Slice!

The Kale Option

Kale Blended

Kale Added

Kale Sourdough Bread Dough

For more info on my Sourdough Starters
click the More Info Here button above or click here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sourdough Carrot Cake Sublime with Cream Cheese Frosting

There was a time I would never have imagined making a cake with sourdough starter and now, after making this Carrot Cake and the Sourdough Chocolate Cake, I don't think I will ever do it any other way. This cake is delicious! I encourage you to try it and to do it with my Wasatch Willys Sourdough Starter which is an Original Great Salt Lake product.

This is an easy cake to make. I suggest preparing your cake pans in advance and pre-heating your oven to 350°F.

The Cake - Part One
1-1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Wasatch Willy Sourdough Starter Unfed from the Fridge
2 Large Farm Fresh Eggs
1 Cup Crushed Pineapple - Drained
2 Cups Grated Carrots
1/3 Cup Pecans - Chopped
1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut
1/3 Cup Craisins or Raisins
2 teaspoons Real Vanilla

The Cake - Part Two
2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Cream Cheese Frosting
1, 8-ounce Package Cream Cheese - Room Temp
1 stick Butter (1/2 Cup)
1 teaspoon real Vanilla
3-5 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Scant Buttermilk if needed

Part One: In your mixer bowl, combine the oil and sugar and the un-fed Wasatch Willy starter you pulled from the fridge and mix until just blended. Mix in the farm fresh eggs, one at a time (beat well after adding each egg). Add in the pineapple, carrots, pecans, coconut, dried cranberries/raisins and vanilla and mix until blended.

Part Two: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl until just combined.

Spoon the batter into two greased and floured 9” round pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake tests done. Toothpick method: poke the center of the cake and if it comes out clean it is done. 

Five minutes after removing from the oven, remove from the pans and allow the cake to completely cool on a rack before frosting.

Frosting: Combine the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar gradually until all is added and blended well. Add some buttermilk until the frosting is the desired consistency.

To frost the cake I leveled the top of one of the layers and placed it on the cake holder. Then I put a layer of frosting in the middle and placed on the top layer. I will admit I am not very good at frosting a cake so I asked my wife, Annette, if she would please finish frosting it for me. I owe her big time! I love my wife, she's the best and we've been happily married since 1979. She's as beautiful today as the day I married her.

How to Order One of My Sourdough Starters: For a description of all seven of my starters please go to my ORDER page by clicking HERE. There you can order all 7 starters for one low price or order one single starter which now includes a second FREE starter of your choice. My contact info is there as well if you have any questions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sourdough Chocolate Cake Divine

There is more to sourdough than bread and this Chocolate cake recipe is a prime example of what you can do with sourdough. The beauty of it is it does not taste really like sourdough thanks to the cocoa but the sourdough does enhance the flavor and this is a very moist cake as well. If you like chocolate cake you will love this recipe. Try it, you will not be sorry. See the order link below on the right side column to order one of my sourdough starters.

The Cake
1 Cup Wasatch Willy's Sourdough Starter (Fed and bubbly)
1 Cup Milk
2 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons real Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1/4 Cup Hershey's Cocoa
2 Large Eggs, farm fresh

The Frosting
6 Cups Powdered Sugar
3/4 Cup Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/3 Cup Stephen's Cherry Chocolate Powder
1/3 Cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 Tablespoon Hot Water

Drizzle for the Sizzle
1/3 Cup Dark or Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 Tablespoon Corn Syrup

Preheat your oven to 350F.

The Fresh Egg Provider

The Cake
In your mixer bowl, combine the Wasatch Willy live and active starter, milk and flour. Mix until just combined. Cover and rest for 2-3 hours. Don’t worry if it is not bubbling but it should have doubled in size. 

In another bowl beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda and cocoa. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after adding each one. In the picture lower left I show three eggs. This is because they are medium-sized and from one of my Leghorn hens. They are among her first eggs ever layed.

Gently fold the two bowls into one until the combined mixture is smooth and immediately pour into two greased and floured 9” pans. Tap out the bubbles quickly and place the pans immediately in the oven.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake tests done. My oven took exactly 30 minutes. I set it to 25 and tested. Toothpick method: poke the center of the cake and if it comes out clean it is done.  After removing from the oven, remove from the pans and allow the cake to completely cool on a rack before frosting.  

FROSTING: Sift the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder, Stephens Gourmet Hot Cocoa Cherry Chocolate powder, add the butter and buttermilk. Mix well. Add hot water a few drops at time until frosting is of the consistency you prefer. Frost the cake when cool.

You can try other frostings as well, whichever you prefer the most, the possibilities are endless.

Drizzle: Combine the Drizzle ingredients in a large coffee mug. Microwave until the chips soften and then stir until smooth. Drizzle or drip over the icing for a creative effect! I find that it is helpful to squirt the drizzle onto the cake otherwise you get blobs.

Hint: If you use the Cherry Cocoa from Stephen's as I did, prepare the cocoa in a bowl by itself and add 1 Tablespoon boiling water and stir. I find not doing that leaves the frosting a little grainy.

Top with a cherry and enjoy! If only I had thought of that the other day at the store....

To Order My Starters:
Go to my ORDER page and you can see a description of all my starters. You can also get there by clicking here. Contact info is also listed on the order page as well.

Special Thanks: I want to thank my daughter, Jennifer, for all her help. Without it this recipe and blogpost would not be possible.

Other Thoughts: My grand daughter, who normally does not like sourdough, likes this recipe and was blown away after sampling it because I sort of forgot to mention the sourdough part when she was sampling it.

8/5/2014 My daughter made this for my birthday and used the Cream Cheese Frosting from the Carrot Cake recipe. It was pretty darn good. So much for weight loss and all. Well, birthdays only come once a year! Right?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Order One or All Ten of My Sourdough Starters

Due to health reasons I am no longer selling my starters. Thanks to everyone over the years who have bought them. 

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Chef Don's Sourdough Starter

My friend, Chef Don at, has shared his sourdough starter that he uses in all his own sourdough recipes. It is made from wild yeast found in Auburn, California. Of course his starter is good for any sourdough recipe but he specializes in no salt cooking and his sourdough recipes are different than your normal recipe. He substitutes the salt we normally use in baking with crushed vitamin C, vinegar, sugar and a little store bought yeast. This starter works best with Bread Flour.

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Quinn Hartley's
Kern County Sourdough Starter

I am on a mission to collect sourdough yeasts from many different regions of the world and Quinn Hartley's Kern County Sourdough starter is a terrific step towards that goal. It smells and tastes great and is made from yeast found on grapes grown in Kern County California. 

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Sierra Gold!
A New Starter From California's Foothills

Currently, Sierra Gold, is only available as part of the Big10 Sourdough Package. It comes from wine grapes grown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's. It's a medium sour starter and is terrific tasting.
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Alaska Sam's Sourdough Starter

Comes from my buddy, Sam, by way of Alaska. Medium Sour. According to Sam, this starter goes back to the Alaskan Gold Rush.
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Best Darn Old Alaskan Sourdough Starter

From another friend up in Alaska who prefers to remain nameless. This has the potential to be very sour when fed whole wheat flour. We're not sure how old this one is exactly but my friend has had it for over 30 years personally and his family had had it for far longer. It is one of my personal favorites.
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Babo's San Francisco Sourdough Starter

Named after my grandmother. Her real name was Bertha and at the turn of the Twentieth century she was a little Swiss German girl living in San Francisco at the time of the Big Quake. Back then the San Francisco Sourdough was not such a closely guarded secret as it is today. This is a very fickle starter and requires attention to detail. It requires proofing at a lower temperature and then a higher temp due to the dual nature of the starter.
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Parley's Pioneer Sourdough Starter

This one came across the plains with the early Mormon pioneers. Very rustic. Mildly Sour. This is another old family starter that has been around since the mid 1800's.
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Tara's Organic Natural Yeast

Made from organic Dark Rye flour. Perfect for all bread recipes where fast acting yeast is used. Rise times are about four hours. This is NOT a sourdough starter but is instead a yeast replacement. Makes great Whole Wheat Bread. Wheat bread recipe included.
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Valentina's Authentic San Francisco Sourdough Starter

I got this from a friend in the late 70's while living in San Francisco. It's more of a traditional Italian starter and not your typical San Francisco fare but it does make a terrific bread that does come close to the taste of original San Francisco without the hassle of Babo's.
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Wasatch Willy's
The Original Great Salt Lake Sourdough Starter

Simply the best sourdough starter I have ever used. Made it myself from local wild yeasts. Absolutely delicious. Just sour enough. Tastes very similar to a good San Francisco Sourdough but it comes from the Great Salt Lake region of Utah. It is a good and lively natural Sourdough Yeast. This is my other favorite Sourdough Starter.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

UPDATE: Wasatch Willy's Great Salt Lake Sourdough Starter

There is nothing quite like sourdough bread and I would like to introduce you to my latest sourdough starter, Wasatch Willy's Sourdough Starter. The flavor is somewhere between Valentina's and Alaska Sam's.

Update 7/22/2014 - When activating Wasatch Willy's Sourdough starter it smells exactly like Babo's San Francisco Starter. I have not tested Willy's under a microscope but the flavor is nearly identical. I can't call it a San Francisco Sourdough Starter because it's not from San Francisco such as Babo's or Valentina's. It was created from grapes grown in Syracuse, Utah which is on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

Wasatch Willy's Sourdough Bread

1 Cup Wasatch Willy's Starter
3 Cups Room Temp Bottled Water
2 Teaspoons Salt
6-8 Cups Bread Flour

Mix the starter and water together for a minute, add the salt and then start adding the flour until the dough comes clean from the side of the mixing bowl. Let the mixer run for 5 minutes.

Place the dough into a large greased bowl and place in a cool spot for 12-24 hours. 

Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil and sprinkle with corn meal.

Form the dough into balls pulling from the sides and pinching at the bottom until the sides of the ball start to tear apart and place onto the baking sheet. Makes two medium or 4 small bowls. Let rise two hours.

Place your oven racks on the bottom two settings. Place a cast iron frying pan on the bottom rack. Pre-heat the oven to 450 F (230 C).  Boil 2 cups water and pour into the frying pan just before placing the bread in the oven. Place the bread in the oven and set your timer for 55 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400 F (205 C). Check the bread at the 45 minute mark. It should be just starting to turn brown. 

Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack and wait at least 15 minutes before serving. The bread is still cooking internally.

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My Sourdough Starters
In early 2013 I started selling a San Francisco Sourdough Starter, Valentina's, which I obtained while in the US Army stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco in 1978. Since then I have extended my starters to an old family starter from San Francisco which I have named after my Grandmother whom I affectionately called, Babo. I also created a non-sourdough starter (Tara) for use in normal bread recipes and it works fantastically. I have two Alaskan Starters as well, Alaska Sam's and Best Damn Alaskan Sourdough Starter, both of which are good and sour. 

A friend gave me an old Mormon Pioneer Sourdough Starter which came across the plains in the 1800's which I call, Parley's. 

My favorite starter is named after me, Wasatch Willy. It's made from locally obtained wild yeasts and is a real crowd pleaser. Everyone who has tried it really likes it.

All orders include:
  • Two packets of dried starter. The one you order and one other at my discretion. Usually Alaska Sams or the other Alaskan starter. Limit one free starter per customer and does not include the Super 7 bundles.
  • Activation Instructions with recipes
  • Jar Label
New Packaging Front Label

New Packaging Reverse w/Instructions

Shipping Rates
All Prices include shipping. The US Post Office recently raised rates and so I have had to modify my prices slightly. I ship First Class mail. Orders are shipped in a #10 envelope. 

Where Do I ship to:

I will ship to anywhere in the United States or Canada. 

Questions: Call us at 801-784-8090 Monday - Friday 10am to 4pm Mountain Time.

To Order:
So as to simplify the updating process of my blog entries I have created a single ORDER page you can go to by clicking here. As the blog slowly grows in size (a few posts each month) it becomes an arduous labor updating each and every one of them so hopefully this will make the pages easier to peruse and more enjoyable. Thank you.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

San Francisco Sourdough Starter

A true San Francisco Sourdough Starter is unique because it contains two organisms that contribute to the unique flavor associated with San Francisco Sourdough. One organism thrives at a lower temperature and the other at a higher temp which means it requires a long fermentation at around 60-65 degrees F and then a rise at 80-85 degrees F for about two hours.

If you are feeling bold and daring you can try Babo's San Francisco Sourdough Starter otherwise any of my other starters will produce excellent results as well. My other two favorites are Wasatch Willy's and Best Damn Alaskan Sourdough starters. 
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I have seven starters in all at this time. You can try any two for $5 if you live in the US or $5.70 if you live in Canada. Or you can order all seven as so many do. 

A Comment From A Recent Customer

Hi Bill,

I just got started with your sourdough starter in June 2014.  I received two, and have only used one so far, the "Best Damn Alaskan" starter.  I'm having a lot of fun with it!  It took a few attempts of not so pretty loaves to get the knack of it (I think I was overproofing it so it wasn't getting much oven rise) but now I am getting taller loaves.  The toast is awesome--beautiful sourdough flavour!  I have this starter going in two jars, so I have a backup in case of a problem.  I also made sourdough pizza dough with it, which was delicious!

Attached please find some pics.  (The last picture is my best loaf yet, lol!) I have a batch going right now, will be baking bread tonight!  Can't wait... (7/14/2014)

Laurel Harrington
Brechin, ON  Canada

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Click to see the book that Laurel is using. This is the updated version.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Sourdough Starters Are Super Easy To Activate

There is a link at the bottom of the page for more info regarding my seven different starters and how to order them. I offer a Super 7 bundle pack at a nice discount and also a single order starter pack that includes any two starters of your choosing. You can also click here for more info as well.

March 5, 2015 - Activating one of my Sourdough Starters can be done one of several ways. There is this method (below) that works or the method that is now included when you order a starter package. Either one is ok.

All of the starters offered here are very robust and are super easy to activate. When you order one of my Sourdough starters you get a packet of dried starter granules, a jar label and instructions with recipes. Six of the seven starters are actual sourdough starters and one is a natural yeast starter that is not sour and is meant for making bread and rolls.
What You Will Need
  • When activating a Sourdough Starter you need a large wide-mouth jar such as a quart Mason jar or I like to use a re-purposed 40 ounce peanut butter jar because the lid is wider.
  • You also need something to stir the starter with and I like to use the blunt end of a chopstick. 
  • Bottled Water
Step One:
In the morning, place half a cup of lukewarm bottled water into your quart sized jar. Pour the packet of Mister Sourdough Starter into the jar. Swirl the starter around in the water and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Step Two:
Pour half a cup of flour into the jar and stir. Later that evening, before you go to bed, add another ½ cup flour and water and stir. Place a lid on the jar but do not tighten because it is best to allow the starter to breathe. Place in a warm location. In the oven with the light on and the door closed will work as long as you do not forget it is there. A counter in the kitchen will work just as well as long long as the temperature is not colder than 72F. 75-80F is ideal.

Step Three:
The next morning, dump out half of your starter and add a cup of flour and  3/4 cup water, stir. Loosely cover the jar and place back in a warm spot. Repeat this step on a daily basis until the natural yeasts in the starter are thriving. This can take 1-3 days. For a normal feeding once the starter is doubling I usually leave half a cup of starter in the jar and add 160 grams water and 160 grams flour and stir.

Scroll down for a description of each starter with PayPal buttons for ordering.
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New Packaging Example - Front

New Packaging - Reverse w/Instructions

To Order:
So as to simplify the updating process of my blog entries I have created a single ORDER page you can go to by clicking here. As the blog slowly grows in size (a few posts each month) it becomes an arduous labor updating each and every one of them so hopefully this will make the pages easier to peruse and more enjoyable. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I've Been Feeling A Little Guilty of Late

It's been over a month since my last batch of sourdough bread and quite honestly I have been feeling a little guilty about it. I've been sidelined since falling on some black ice in February and hitting my head pretty hard which is the main reason for my tardiness. It is difficult for me to spend a lot of time at the computer working on my blog too which is frustrating in itself. Thank goodness I have this blog because it is one of the few things that helps me keep my sanity.

Well, today I started a batch of bread using the Best Damn Alaskan Sourdough Starter. It came out of the mixer a little after twelve noon and since I now take a lot of naps I will be baking bread most likely around midnight tight. During the winter I like to let the dough sit for up to 24 hours but since it summer, the basement is about five to ten degrees warmer than normal and the dough will turn to liquid mush if I wait that long. What I really need is a second fridge where I could let it sit. 

My basic bread recipe is one batch of starter, 3 cups water, some salt to taste (varies per persons needs) in this case I use a tablespoon and 9 cups white flour. I used my Bosch Universal Mixer to mix it all together and let it run with the dough hook for about ten minutes.

If you do not have an electric stand mixer I highly recommend a Danish Dough Hand Whisk. Check it out. If you are really strong and industrial you can do it all by hand by starting out in a large bowl until the dough is stiff and then turn it out onto your counter top until you have worked in all nine cups of flour. We used to make our homemade whole wheat bread this when we were younger.

I then place the dough (stiff and not gooey or sticking to the bowl or the center post) into a large bowl I have greased and I take it to the basement to sit for 12-16 hours. I then bring back upstairs, preheating the oven with my Travertine tiles and cast iron pan to 475F for about an hour. Meanwhile I form my loaves and place them on an upside down baking sheet that has been covered in cornmeal. I use my homemade lame to score the loaves as well. I ten cover them with a damp cloth and let rise for a couple hours or until I think they are at their peak. Then I boil some water and place it in the cast iron frying pan that is on my bottom rack then I place the bread in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the times goes off I reduce the temp to 400F and reset the timer to 30 minutes. When it goes off I may or may not decide to let the bread stay in the oven for a little while longer. I have backed my bread for 60 to 75 minutes to no ill effect other than a darker red crust.

One tool I used to use quite a bit was one of these Digital Meat Thermometers to check the internal temperature of my bread. If you are concerned about whether or not your bread is cooked enough or not then get one. Besides, it has many other handy uses too. 

We haven't been sitting still with the starter though because I have made several batches of pancakes. I hate to wash unused starter down the drain.

Sourdough has several uses and if you ask me it tastes even better when it's a day old and a little tougher. I love the crunchy crisp crust you get when the bread comes fresh from the oven. This is something you only get with steam and is why it is so important to have a pan in the oven when you preheat it.

One thing I have never made from sourdough are biscuits and this is something I intend to work on. 

So if you are wondering what you can do with sourdough here is a short list: Sourdough Pancakes, Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls, Sourdough Hamburger Buns, Sourdough Bread Bowls and a whole lot more. I have done all of these and others in my blog.

My latest results.

Feeding My Starters
Just a brief note about feeding my starters. I used to feed them one for one. That is one cup flour to one cup water. I now feed them one cup flour to about 3/4 cup water at room temperature. Some folks weigh them one for one and that's fine too but for my method works just as well and takes less time. I use a large peanut butter jar because I like it better than a wide mouth Mason Jar. Large Peanut Butter jars are easier to dump the flour into without making a huge mess.

When I dump a batch of starter into my mixer I usually leave enough at the bottom of the jar that fills the slanted portion. It's about half a cup of starter not counting the starter stuck to the sides of the jar. I dump in the flour and the water and stir with a chopstick using the blunt end and scrape all around the jar from top to bottom and then loosely place the lid on the jar and no, the sourdough does not smell or taste like peanut butter. Be sure and clean it with hot soapy water. It is always good to have several of these on hand. That little blue line is where the starter is when fed before it rises nearly to the top of the jar.

Here are some images of the bread I have made.

I love the color and the structure sourdough provides.

Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

A Whole Wheat Loaf made with Best Damn Alaskan. It was Extremely sour. 

Bread Bowls made with Wasatch Willy's Sourdough Starter

Wasatch Willy's Bread Bowls Baked on Travertine Tiles
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So as to simplify the updating process of my blog entries I have created a single ORDER page you can go to by clicking here. As the blog slowly grows in size (a few posts each month) it becomes an arduous labor updating each and every one of them so hopefully this will make the pages easier to peruse and more enjoyable. Thank you.