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BackstoryGood things come to those who wait. With patience, practice, and persistence, many goals can be reached. The same goes with a good bread. There are two ingredients that you'll need to make homemade, which will take time to make, but will give your bread amazing qualities that the store bought stuff just cannot deliver.
One week before you make bread...
To make the starter is very easy. You only need two ingredients...
- Whole wheat flour
- Spring water (Do NOT use tap water. Most people's tap water has stuff in it such as chlorine, which will inhibit the wild yeasts in sourdough, which means that you probably won't be successful in making a starter if you're using tap water.)
- HOW TO MAKE THE STARTER: Do not put starter in a metal container. Metal and sourdough starter should not be together. Get a large container - I use a big food storage container. Cut a few slits or holes into the lid, and set the lid aside. You'll need it in about a week.
- In the clean container, put in 1/2 cup of wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of spring water. Mix it together. You now have a batter of flour and water. Now grab a clean dishtowel, and put it over the container. Use a big rubber band or a string to keep the dishtowel on the container.
- Set the container in a dark cupboard. It should not be near any chemicals, but if it's in the pantry near your flour and such, that is okay.
- Every day add 1/2 cup of spring water and 1/2 cup of wheat flour, and mix well. The starter should be mixed with a wooden or plastic mixing spoon. Keep doing this every day for a whole week.
- On day 7 you'll feed and mix your sourdough like you have been, and get ready to make your bread the next day.
- CARING FOR YOUR STARTER: Put the lid with the slits you cut into it on your sourdough container, and store it in your fridge.
- Your starter should be fed at least once a week, and its container should be cleaned a few times a month.
- Your starter may produce a clearish or brownish liquid on top. That liquid is called hooch. My starter produces this sometimes, and it is normal. If your starter produces hooch, just pour it off, or mix it in. The consistency of your starter should be that of pancake batter.
- The day before you make the bread...you need to make some homemade buttermilk. If you've never done this before, relax - it's really easy.
- First, you'll need some starter for your buttermilk - not sourdough starter. If you already make buttermilk, then your starter is just two tablespoons of a previous batch of buttermilk you've made.
- However, if you are making it for the first time, then buy a tiny carton of buttermilk from the store, and use two tablespoons of that. Simply put two tablespoons of buttermilk (either store bought or from a previous batch) into a 1 quart mason jar. Fill the jar with milk. Put the lid on the jar, and shake the jar to mix its contents.
- Place the jar into a dark cupboard - not near any chemicals. It should sit there for around a day. 20 hours is fine, it doesn't have to be a full 24. The next day, shake your jar, and put it into the fridge to cool for a few hours before you use it.
- Homemade buttermilk is often thicker than store bought. In fact, it may have the consistency of yogurt - this is normal.
- Homemade buttermilk seems to work really well with wheat flour, so that is one of the reasons I suggest you make your own buttermilk, instead of buying it.