- When you first get your start, use it to make pancakes, waffles and other quick breads for a couple of weeks. It takes about that long for the start to get use to it’s new environment and become stable. This is especially true when you create a start from a powder or from just water and flour. You know it is ready to use when it doubles consistently.
- You can not kill your start. It simply becomes sour. Take a tablespoon out of your start, add 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cup of flour and start again. Leave it on the counter until it is ready to bake with.
- Look for a dome like shape on the top just before it doubles for best time to bake bread with.
- I’ve tried many different types of containers but I really like to use the jars that Adam’s peanut butter comes in topped with a plastic elastic bowl covers. I like to use glass, ceramic or stone for my mixing and baking.
- Speaking of plastic elastic bowl covers. I love them. They give my bread and start plenty of air, at the same time keep them from drying out by keeping moister in. They also give plenty of space for a nice healthy rise.
- Meal plan around the bread you will be making for the meal.
- Skip a feed Poolish is a great way to get a superior rise. A poolish is a jump start for your start. From what I can tell it is just older start. Not too old though, if you don’t like the sour flavor. I usually use my overnight start for a poolish. I take a tablespoon to 1/4 cup of start, add the feed 1 cup of water to 1 1/2 cup of flour and let it sit on counter over night. Then, I add it to my pizza dough, along with start to get a really puffy wonderful dough. It is nice because for most dough, timing is everything. This way if you miss the dome shape, you can use it as a poolish instead. I add about 1 part poolish to 2 parts start.
- You can go from counter to fridge to counter easily.
- Adding a little rye flour to your dough also helps the bread have a great flavor and a better rise.
- Feeding your start regularly keeps it from souring.
- Adding more start to your recipe also keeps your bread from tasting sour.
- Quick breads are still good for you as long as you use start.
- Short rises are not bad. When your bread is ready, it is ready. There is no time limit. You don’t have to have your bread sitting out for 12 hours to make it healthy. It is healthy because you use the start. The longer you let it sit the more sour it will be. Add more start and less proofing to keep it from tasting sour.
- Feed your start with 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cup flour. If you want it to be ready to use quickly, use more start if not, use less. It’s the same with the flour. If you want it to be ready quicker use finely ground flour if not use course flour.
- Get to know your start. Take note of how long it takes for your start to be ready for baking. Take note of what shelf you put it on in the fridge,(I like to put it on the top shelf, on the door so I can keep an eye on it.) what it looks like when ready to bake, what it looks like when it is hungry, what it looks and smells like when it is not happy.
- For recipes, look for sourdough__________ (fill in the blank). It isn’t hard to find a recipe for just about anything made from start.
- To adapt a recipe, substitute 1 cup of start for Baker’s Yeast.
- If you have to leave your start, don’t worry. When you get back, take it out of the fridge, clean off any liquid and or any dark start on top. Put a tablespoon of start in a clean jar. Mix in 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cup start to feed it. Then, put it in the fridge and or wait until grown and bake with it. For the old start, mix it with a lot of water and pour it into your garden soil, your plants will thank you.
- Wheat is cheap. Keep making things with your start, it will give you a chance to really get to know it and it will really make you a great cook. My husband buys me wheat in my own bucket that isn’t included in the family food storage so I can cook as much as I want.
- Add a little white flour or potato for softness and taste. There are plenty of recipes out there and I will be posting some as well, that show you how to use these two tools for better, softer bread.
- Splurge on the right tools- Bosch, Wheat Grinder, Kitchen Scale, Crepe Machine, Dough Hook, A wooden bread box, Etc.
- Store your start where you can see it easily.
- Use a rubber band or dry erase marker to mark the start right when you feed it, making it easier to tell when it has doubled.
Hope this helped.