Chatting with them, and on the topic of making bread (Monica has started bread making recently) we started talking about making Sourdough. I've been making my own for about a year. The starter I got (from a Weston Price Demonstration I went to) is about 150 years old. Perfect! Monica was planning on coming down in a couple of weeks for her birthday weekend. I said "I know, lets make bread when you are down, and I'll give you some starter for your birthday present." So that is what we did.
Now the sourdough I usually make, you get the starter out at 8am on Saturday, refresh it with flour and water, sit 3 hours, refresh again, sit three hours, if you want to give some starter away (like to your sister for her birthday) refresh again and let it sit three hours. Then take off the starter to save, make the bread dough, and rise all night in the refrigerator. In the morning warm it up, knead it, let it rise again (usually for a few hours) then cook. The refresh is 236 grams of water (110 degrees) and 150 grams of flour. I never use whole wheat in my starter, although most of my friends do. The starter to save is 250grams (each).
You all may know that I have made all the bread we eat for the past 3-4 years. The only bread we buy is Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns, and tortillas. The recipe I use is : 2-2/3 cup water (110 degrees), 3 teaspoons yeast, 2 teaspoons salt, 3 Tablespoons Honey, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, and roughly 6 cup of flour (until it doesn't cling to the bowl). (Recipe thanks to my Cousin, Heidi)
I have modified the sourdough recipe based on the above regular recipe to 1-2/3 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 Tablespoon Honey, 3 Tablespoons olive Oil, roughly 6 cups of flour, or until it doesn't cling to the bowl. The regular bread recipe makes 2 loaves, the sourdough makes 3.
Because of this project I also wanted to try the bread from the Nourishing Traditions. In this case I started with the starter 7 days before Monica came. The Starter is 2 cups of rye flour, 2 cups water. Cover with cheesecloth, set out in a warm spot. Daily stir, add another cup of flour and some more water to make it soupy. After 7 days it should be ready to go.. Mine was just a mess, and never amounted to much.
My warm spot was inside my oven with the oven light on. On day two the starter bubbled up over the top of the bowl, and ran all over the inside of my oven. And then never showed signs of life again. The book says this will happen, but whatever, it didn't make good bread either.
Monica and I followed the recipe on page 490. Sourdough starter, 13 cups spelt flour, 2-1/2 teaspoons salt, 1-1/2 cups of water. The bread never rose, was hard and not tasty. Really didn't cook through, you know the kind... I think I'll stick with my regular recipe for bread.
That weekend we also finish Dave's 16th century garb for his Choir performance in the Society for Creative Anachronisms... That was probably more interesting than the bread.