Thursday, May 22, 2014

Activating A Sourdough Starter from Dried Granules or Powder, The Easy Way

Right now the only "active" starter on the counter in use is at our home is Wasatch Willy's (that's me) and my daughter really likes Alaska Sam's for its extra sour potential so I thought I would activate some and document the process. It is an easy process and anyone can do it.

Activating any sourdough starter once dried takes 3-5 days because the microorganisms in sourdough encapsulate themselves as a way to preserve themselves. It's like a bear going into hibernation for the really really long haul so to speak. They cover themselves in an impenetrable shell which dissolves when it comes in contact moisture. It is said that the stuff is so tough it was used by the pioneers to chink their log cabins and it dried hard as a rock. People have been known to take pieces of chink and actually restart a sourdough starter. I have also read that viable starter has been found in Egyptian tombs.

Here we go. If you want to do this you will need:

  • Wide Mouth Quart Mason Jar*
  • Bottled Water
  • A Package of our Sourdough Starter (Order below)
  • One cup Measure
  • Stir stick such as a chop stick

Day One - Wakey Wakey Little Critters!

I started this at 5pm. Add one cup room temp bottled water to the Mason jar. * Notice I use large empty peanut butter jars because they are way better in my opinion because they hold more and the lids are larger, plus they never seal tight. Our starters tend to bubble over in a Mason jar.

Now add a packet of our sourdough starter granules to the Mason jar and stir.

The water is now milky looking. Add one cup of flour and stir. Clean off the stick against the lip of the jar. I like to rest the stick on the lid. but to each their own.

Loosely cover and let sit for 24 hours.

Day Two - They Are Weak and Need Food

You will find Alaska Sam's to be quite active. 

The next morning around 9am I found the starter had a thick layer of liquid on top and was begging to be fed so I stirred it up and dumped out all but 1/2 a cup. I then added 1 cup flour and about one cup water and stirred with my trusty chopstick. At this point it still smells like wet flour.

At 5pm it was smelling like a smooth sour milk and had a thick layer of liquid on top. I stirred it up and left it alone but later fed it again at 9pm.

Day Three - It Smells Oh So Good!

Today is day three and this morning I went out into the kitchen and there was a thick layer of wild yeast on top with a thick cleat layer and another layer of starter underneath that. You could see live starter dripping from the top layer to the bottom layer. 

I stirred it up and poured all but half a cup into a bowl and made some of the most delicious homemade sourdough pancakes ever! I then fed the starter. Tomorrow morning I'll wait to feed it again because it's not quite bread-ready. Yet. But it's nearly there.

Day Four

On the 4th day the starter was ready to go. It was the morning of Day Four and since it started late afternoon of Day One, technically, it was about three actual days that it took to activate. 

Since activating, I have made a batch of bread and several batches of pancakes. My grandkids love the pancakes!

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