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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sour Dough Bread Starter

Prospectors, explorers and early travellers of all kinds were wise in the ways of sour dough.  Their starter or yeast base was a precious commodity carried in a jug or jar from one camp site to another.  When this strong-smelling mixture reached a highly fermented stage, it was made into hot cakes, bread and indeed any food item that could be made from flour and other crushed cereals.  A portion of the indispensable starter was always reserved for the next batch.  Collett, Elaine. The Chatelaine Cookbook. Toronto. Maclean-Hunter Limited, 1965.

Creating starter traditionally involves dissolving yeast in warm water, stirring in flour and sugar or honey.  Using wooden utensils and non-metal containers, stirring every day, the mixture is allowed to sit for 5 – 10 days until it has a fermented aroma and the vigorous bubbling stops.

In 2011, starter gets passed from person to person in neatly labelled re-sealable bags, such as the one I received from my daughter-in-law ten days ago.  Daily stirring has been replaced with “mashing” the contents in the bag and burping the bag to allow escape of built up fermented gas.  Along with the baggie of starter, my thoughtful daughter-in-law gave me a recipe for making Cinnamon Bread and /or Cinnamon Muffins.

Today, we ate delicious Cinnamon Muffins with our steaming morning coffee.  With fruit, cheese and yogurt, it was a balanced breakfast, and oh, so yummy!

There is fragrant bubbly starter left over, too.  Now it’s my turn to fill tidy, efficient starter baggies; one for me and three to give away.  I’ll label them, and date them for Day 6…when you’ll need to add a few ingredients and for Day 10…when the recipe can be made.  Anyone want a bag of starter to grow into the base for Cinnamon Bread or Muffins?  I’ll photocopy my daughter-in-law’s recipe sheet for you, too.  Anyone?  Anyone?


Anonymous said...

Very Yummy

Anonymous said...

Looks good. Interesting blog!

Carol Steel said...

Thank you very much. Carol