The sourdough starter is a natural leaven that can be made in many different ways... this recipe has been tested by Giallozafferano and it's the first of 3 videos on this subject! Find this and many more recipes with pictures on the Giallozafferano App (in English) http://itunes.apple.com/app/giallozafferano-recipes/id384387249?mt=8
The sourdough starter is a natural leaven that can be traced back to ancient Egypt. There are many ways of making it, this recipe has been tested by Giallozafferano and it's the first of 3 videos on this broad subject. Let's see how to make and use it!
• just under 2 cups (250 g) of bread flour
• 1 cup (250 ml) of low-fat yogurt
First of all, put the bread flour in a bowl and add the low-fat yogurt. Now mix the ingredients together... after that, turn it out onto a work surface and knead until it forms a soft, but not sticky dough. The yogurt is called a starter, that is a sugar that feeds the yeasts present in the flour and in the air, causing them to produce carbon dioxide gas, which makes the dough rise. You can use a variety of starters, depending on the desired degree of sourness: you can use tomato or fruit, such as grapes, apples, etc, or also honey. The dough is ready, as you can see it's smooth, soft, but not sticky; place in a bowl... cut a cross into the top... and cover with cling film; now poke 4-5 holes with a toothpick for air circulation, so that the yeasts can feed on sugars present in the dough, creating ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, to start the rising process. Keep the dough at a temperature between 78°F (26°C) and 82°F (28°C) for at least 48 hours.
Here's how the sourdough starter looks after 48 hours, as you can see it's collapsed, frothy and slightly increased in volume. Now we'll proceed with the first refreshment, here's how to do it: take a piece of dough, in this case 7 oz (200 g), weigh out the same amount of flour, so we'll have 7 oz (200 g) of dough plus 7 oz (200 g) of bread flour, and half its weight in water, that is 3,5 oz (100 g). So remove the hardened crust, which was in contact with the air... and take the moist centre... put a bowl on the kitchen scale, press the tare button, to zero it out, and weigh out 7 oz (200 g), the amount of dough that will be refreshed... get rid of the rest, because the sourdough starter will be fed for the next 14 days and you don't want to end up with a huge mass of dough. The mixture should be pale in colour and have a slightly sour, but not unpleasant smell... so take a 7-oz (200 g) piece of dough, add 7 oz (200 g) of bread flour... and 3,5 oz (100 g) of water; try to get the same consistency as before, soft, but not sticky, so adjust the amount of water depending on how much your dough absorbs, you may need a little less or a little more. So leave a little water in the jar and knead, for the first refreshment.
Every time you feed the starter, knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and soft, and not sticky... like this. Now take a glass container, narrow and tall is better, so avoid large shallow containers, put in the dough, press it down, cover with cling film... make a few holes... and leave it to rest for 24 hours at a temperature no higher than 78°F (26°C). This was the first refreshment; you'll need to repeat this step, using the same ratio, for the next 14 days, so take a 7-oz (200 g) piece of dough, add 7 oz (200 g) of bread flour and 3,5 oz (100 g) of water. This is the result after 24 hours, this has been made in advance of course, and do the same for 14 days to make your sourdough starter stronger. And this is the result after 15 days; the container is larger, of course, because the amount of flour is increased, using the same ratio, it's nice and bubbly, the colour is white and the smell is sour, but sweet.
But how do you know if your sourdough starter is ready to use? After the 15th day, feed it once more, using the same ratio, and return the dough to the container, close the lid and let it sit for 4 hours: if it triples in volume, your sourdough starter is active and ready to use.
As you can see, the sourdough starter is active; now store in the fridge in a narrow, tall glass container, covered with cling film or a lid, and feed it at least once a week, or it will die. If you want to use it to make bread, for example, remember that the amount of the sourdough starter should be 30% of the weight of all the ingredients and, before refreshing, remember to remove the hardened crust on top, if any, and use the moist centre. If you want to make your sourdough starter even stronger, feed it once more before using, let it sit for 4 hours, then add to the rest of the ingredients. See you next video recipe on the sourdough starter!