Yay! I have sourdough starter going again. I could’ve done a whole blog series on the process but it’s pretty straight forward and laid out very well in this King Arthur Flour blog post. I’ve been so sick lately that the poor starter had a rough time getting going because Aaron fed it for a few days and he’d messed up the amounts so I ended up having to cull quite a bit of it in order to finally get it going. But it’s now producing a nice loaf for my older boys to take for school lunch sandwiches.
I’m a real stickler when it comes to waste. So one of the things I really dislike about sourdough is the discarded starter. The reason I make King Arthur Flour’s sourdough though is because they have heaps of recipes that use up discarded starter and really well. In fact, I’d been wanting to have homemade pizzas for ages which I normally use discard starter for so it was one of the main reasons to start making sourdough again. But I also really love their waffle batter and I’ve even adapted a couple other recipes to use up discard following their suggestions.
Once you have active starter though, this whole wheat sourdough bread is a cinch to make. Active time is probably 15 minutes in total. It’s just a matter of mixing together the dough ingredients, waiting for 20 minutes, kneading in a mixer for about 7 minutes, letting it rise until doubled, then shape it into the loaf pan. Let it rise again then throw it in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes. If you pull your starter out of the fridge and feed it, by about midday you have active starter that can be used and you can have the bread baked and cooling in the evening to use the next morning. When I made this loaf, I used the 1 cup of discard to make soft garlic breadsticks which were a big hit to accompany spaghetti and meatballs. (More on that in a later post!)
This makes a really hearty loaf of bread using the standard wholemeal flour we get in Australia. It would be interesting to see how different this would be if using a smoother flour like the one I’m using for the Bake the Bag challenge. Maybe I should try whizzing it in a food processor and sifting it beforehand to see if it results in a smoother loaf? Regardless my older kids and Aaron are super happy to be getting fresh baked bread and that’s good enough for me!