Getting started with sour dough starter waste
We love our sour dough. Not only is it tasty and homemade but it is the gift that keeps on giving. Richie has shared his sour dough ways with us all this week together with some tips to making more delicious food with the starter itself.
Sourdough bread is made from fermented dough which contains naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. This allows the bread to rise without the need to add yeast to the dough. It gives the bread a slightly sour taste which is really tasty and it can improve the shelf life of the bread.
To make sourdough bread you first need a sourdough starter. There are loads of instructions on the internet for the best way to do this but basically I just mix equal quantities of water and flour and leave for a day or 2 before “feeding” with more water and flour.
Making a Sourdough Starter
I start with just 25g of flour (I use spelt flour but any flour should do) and 25g of water mixed together in a large jar. It should form a pretty thick paste. Something like the consistency of peanut butter. You can add a little bit more flour or water to get the correct consistency. Then I just leave it at room temperature for 48 hrs. We then feed the starter with the same amount of flour and water and leave for another 24 hrs. Continue adding flour and water every day for about 5 days in total. By this time the starter should be bubbly and smell a bit sour or a bit like a brewery.
Once you have about 600g of starter or your jar is about to spill over you will need to discard half the starter before re feeding. At this point I increase the amount of flour and water to 50g when feeding. You will know if your starter is ready when it gets all bubbly and expands in size throughout the day after it has been fed. You will know when it needs to be re fed when it starts to collapse this is roughly every 24hrs. You could feed it every 12hrs to get a really lively sourdough starter but this uses a lot of flour.
If you are not ready to use your starter to make bread straight away you can keep it in the fridge instead of at room temperature. This slows down the time between feeding and you will only need to feed it once a week.
The main problem with the sourdough starter is that you end up with a load of wasted starter. Most recipes on the web say to discard half the starter before you feed it, which is not the greatest thing to do when trying to be less wasteful. To combat this we have worked out a few things that you can do with the discarded start which means there is little or no waste.
Firstly keeping it in the fridge helps because you can feed it a lot less often. We also have found a great way to use up the starter without having to spend a day making sourdough bread.
Sourdough Starter Flat Bread
Simply take your discarded sourdough starter and add a little bit of water to loosen it up a bit and then fry it in a small pan in some hot olive oil or lard. Sprinkle some salt on to the top of the starter as it is frying on the bottom. You can also add some herbs, seed on any other flavours just scatter them on top of the starter as it fries. We usually use rosemary and red onion but you can use anything you fancy. I’ve seen recipes with sesame and chive which look good.
Once you have added your flavours put a lid on the pan and fry for about 6 or 7 mins. You will need to have the pan on a medium heat and you might need to check that it isn’t burning on the bottom. After about 6 min the top of the dough should have firmed up and no longer look like raw dough. At this point you can flip the bread over and fry the top. I usually add a little more fat to the pan at this point otherwise you will end up with it toasted rather than fried.
Cook for another 6 to 7 min on the second side. It might take a little longer or shorter depending on how wet your starter was or how hot your pan is. You may even need to take the lid off to let the bread dry out a bit.
The bread should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If it is slightly under done on the inside then this is still pretty good. It is kind of in between a flatbread and a pancake. Or you can put it in a hot oven for a few more minutes to get it more ‘bready’ on the inside.
Basically it is a bit of trial and error. But however it turns out it is pretty forgiving and although you are never sure how it is going to be it is always tasty because it is basically fried dough.
Sough Dough Crackers
We found this recipe from the zero waste chef that is not only fantastic for using up sourdough starter but is also the best crackers we have ever had and pretty easy to make to boot!
This will tell you everything you need to know to make your tasty waste free crackers.
Again I tend to use spelt flour because it has less gluten in it than regular flour so it should be even easier to digest. The recipe also gives a choice between coconut oil and olive oil. I have only ever used coconut oil. It seems to work better if it is nice and soft so if it is not a particularly warm day I often end up zapping the coconut oil it in the microwave until it is liquidy. This way it combines a lot better with the starter.
Have fun with your sour dough and let us know how you get on.
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