It’s science, but not rocket science.
I get it. Sourdough is scary. You read recipes with specific measurement and unfamiliar terminology. What is an active starter? What is discard?
And in the world of a busy mom, it is one more thing to feed. Honestly, who has time to feed one more thing? How much do I feed it? How often? What type of flour do I use? Do I keep it on the counter and feed it daily? Then what about the discard (or excess)?
There was a time when all of that was swirling in my brain preventing me from giving it a try. Then I jumped into the world of sourdough and muddled my way through a few recipes. It was not nearly as hard as I thought.
The more I played with it, the less worried I was about my sourdough starter. And then I read about goldminers who would travel cross country to San Francisco keeping their sourdough starters alive in rough, unsanitary conditions. In the open plains, unable to regulate temperature, with questionable water sources, and probably a single bowl, they kept their starters alive.
Heck, if the goldminers could do it, so can you. Friend, sourdough is a science, but it’s not rocket science.
I think the hardest part about sourdough is finding a starter. That was the thing that kept me stalled for a while. But then I found a blogger who offered to include some of her starter with the purchase of her cookbook. Done! As a bonus, Glenda answered my questions via messenger and basically held my hand as I got started. You can find Glenda Groff’s blog Around the Family Table and all her awesome sourdough information here: https://aroundthefamilytableblog.com/ You could also ask in various groups you belong to, you never know who may have a secret sourdough stash.
The second hardest part about sourdough is remembering to pull the starter out of the fridge and get it going about 12 hours before you need to work with it. Who even plans meals that far in advance? You will probably need to feed your starter a few times before you have enough for your recipe, so there is some advance planning required.
But ohhh is it worth it! Delicious and nutritious! Especially if it is made with freshly ground wheat.
I use my sourdough to make pancakes, waffles (before I my waffle iron died), rustic bread, cinnamon rolls, focaccia, and pizza dough.
And pizza is exactly why we are talking sourdough today. Sourdough pizza is for dinner tonight.
One way I make meal planning easier is to use the leftover meat from one meal to make another meal. In this case, our leftover BBQ chicken from yesterday becomes BBQ chicken pizza today.
Around the Family Table has the pizza dough recipe I used here: https://aroundthefamilytableblog.com/2018/12/12/sourdough-pepperoni-pizza-thm-xo/ –
Note for the crust: I use olive oil in place of the MCT. I add extra honey and omit the basil. I do not use the additional yeast.
For the pizza we use BBQ sauce in place of pizza sauce, mozzarella, BBQ chicken, onions, and sweet peppers. I have also been known to add pineapple. I don’t want to start an argument, but this family does believe that pineapple belongs on pizza. I topped today’s pizza with chopped cilantro. Yum!
I doubled the recipe so I could make two pizzas and have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. This pizza is reason enough to give sourdough a try.
I have some sourdough confessions to make:
I don’t keep my starter on the counter in a rustic crock so I can feed it daily. I do keep my starter in a sealed glass jar in the back of my fridge and ignore it until I want to use it.
I don’t always follow the directions exactly. I do follow the ingredients closely, but there are times when my ferment times or rest times are not even close to the recipe’s guidelines. I have learned that sourdough is forgiving. Remember: goldminers did it.
I don’t use exact ratios when feeding (adding flour and water) my starter. I do guestimate the amount of starter I have on hand and add equal parts bread flour and filtered water (tap water with chlorine will kill your starter).
I grind my own flour to increase the nutrient benefit. My source for wheat berries is a little more expensive, but it is non-GMO and American grown. https://www.palousebrand.com/
My focaccia bread recipe comes from Cultures for Health you can find the recipe here: https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/sourdough-focaccia-rosemary-garlic/
I make this bread the most: No-Knead Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread https://aroundthefamilytableblog.com/2019/01/10/no-knead-whole-wheat-sourdough-bread-thm-e/
You can read about the gold miners here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/gold-miners-kept-their-sourdough-starters-alive-cuddling-them-180962689/
Seed starting update:
I checked on my seeds this morning. Look at what I found…
I squealed and did a little happy dance. These were sowed just a week ago then left in my sunny window. My broccoli is off to a good start. No sign of my tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, but that is to be expected. If I can do it, so can you.
It’s science, but not rocket science. Just do it.